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Governance interactions of spatial data infrastructures: an agent-based modelling approach

Published on
January 18, 2021

An article of Jaap-Willem Sjoukema, Jalal Samia, Arnold K. Bregt and Joep Crompvoets: Governance interactions of spatial data infrastructures: an agent-based modelling approach, has been published in the International Journal of Digital Earth.

doi:10.1080/17538947.2020.1868585

Abstract
In order to facilitate and coordinate spatial data sharing and exchange, many organisations have developed spatial data infrastructures (SDIs). SDI governance plays a pivotal role in the development and evolution of an SDI, but as SDIs are complex adaptive systems, governing is a challenge. This research therefore proposes a complexity perspective to SDI governance by exploring the use of agent-based modelling to simulate and examine SDI governance interactions. In this agent-based simulation, we examine interactions between SDI stakeholders, data availability and the effects of different governance styles (hierarchical, network and laissez-faire governance) and budget policies. The simulation shows that it is possible to mimic SDI governance dynamics through agent-based modelling. By running different scenarios, it appears that a network approach is more successful compared to a hierarchical or laissez-faire approach. Expert validation shows that overall the results of the simulation are credible and insightful, although improvements can be made to make the model more realistic. With agent-based modelling, SDI governance becomes more tangible and visible, which facilitates discussion and understanding. Agent-based modelling therefore appears to be a helpful new approach in a better understanding of the complexities and dynamics of SDI governance.

Keywords: Governance; spatial data infrastructure (SDI); agentbased modelling; funding models; complex adaptive systems