Steinitz's framework is a conceptual framework proposed by Carl Steinitz (1990) to describe six levels of inquiry during a spatial decision process; each level is associated with a type (phase) of modeling with GIS to form a comprehensive expression of a decision support strategy for landscape planning and design:
Phase I: How should the state of the landscape be described in content, space, and time? This question is answered by REPREENTATION MODELS, the data upon which the study relies.
Phase II: How does the landscape operate? What are the functional and structural relationships among its elements? This question is answered by PROCESS MODELS that provide information for the several assessments that are the content for the study.
Phase III: Is the current landscape working well? This question is answered by EVALUATION MODELS, which are dependent on the cultural knowledge of the decision-making stakeholders.
Phase IV: How might the landscape be altered, by what policies and actions, where and when? This question is answered by the CHANGE MODELS that will be tested in the research. They are also data, as assumed for the future.
Phase V: What difference might the changes cause? This question is answered by IMPACT MODELS, which are information produced by the process models under changed conditions.
Phase VI: How should the landscape be changed? This question is answered by DECISION MODELS, which, like the evaluation models, are dependent on the cultural knowledge of the stakeholders and responsible decision-makers.
As indicated in the following diagram, the decision process flow may go back to a previous phase if the conclusion for the current phase indicates the need:
Graphical Ontology Browser
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