Development and implementation of models and methods in temporal GIS for spatial network planning decision support
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are today widely used for management of spatial data, particularly that relating to network infrastructure for telecommunications, utilities and transport. GIS also form a valuable tool for planning the future development of such networks and many organisations use GIS packages for this, despite the fact that it is not necessarily a task for which they have been designed. They may therefore lack many features that are of benefit, or even essential, for efficient storage and analysis of data relating to future designs. This thesis considers what the characteristics of such data may be and what shortcomings exist in current GIS regarding this, and then describes the development, implementation and testing of suitable models and methods to address these shortcomings. Of particular importance is found to be the need for a network-planning GIS application to incorporate an appropriate model of time for handling situations where there may be many alternative scenarios, a subject which has hitherto been largely unaddressed by GIS research despite having obvious applications. Existing temporal models are therefore examined to find the most suitable, which is then developed from a broad conceptual model to a model specifically designed for application to spatial network planning; Temporal Topology. The possibility for automated design optimisation using this model is then introduced, and some appropriate methods for performing this task are given. Issues which may affect the implementation of an application using the Temporal Topology model and these optimisation methods are then considered before the description of an implementation which was used to carry out a network planning case study with the aim of testing the concepts developed in this thesis. The implications of this research on the wider field of GIS, and particularly Temporal GIS are then considered.