The role of interactive visualisation in developing shared understanding between stakeholders in natural resource decision-making: A case study of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury, New Zealand
Computer-aided visualisation has been used in a number of natural resource management applications with the aim of enhancing people's shared understanding of issues, but little evaluation of the effectiveness of the these tools has been undertaken. Shared understanding in this study refers to the extent to which stakeholders demonstrate knowledge of the effects of environmental change on each other’s interests – specifically, in the case of the present study, interests in “birds”, “fish” and “farming”. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether interactive visualisation increases stakeholders' shared understanding of lake values using a case study of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, a broad, shallow lagoon in New Zealand. The lagoon is separated from the Pacific Ocean by the long, narrow, sandy Kaitorete Spit. Its unique position allows for it to be opened to the sea periodically to provide drainage to prevent flooding of surrounding farmlands. There is a lack of agreement among the diverse stakeholders regarding the appropriate levels at which the lake level should be maintained throughout the year. Lack of agreement, however, may reflect a lack of shared understanding. According to the literature, for shared understanding to be achieved, common agreement needs to be reached in various forms of conversation or cultural norms that will serve as the underlying state for achieving common ground. This thesis is in two parts, consisting of consecutive studies. The first study, of Te Waihora stakeholders (Chapters 4-8), describes an interactive visualisation tool (ElleVis) which shows the effects of different lake opening regimes on lake values at Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. The interactive nature of the ElleVis tool allows the stakeholders to compare Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere under different opening scenarios using one interactive tool. The tool consists of a line-graph, lake map and a summary table with “traffic light” status for lake values ─ birds, fish, farming and other stakeholder interests. A pre-experimental one-group pre-test and post-test design was adopted to measure the knowledge of the participants – their personal and shared understanding – before and after using the ElleVis tool. Overall, the pattern of results demonstrates that following the use of ElleVis, participants’ personal and shared understanding significantly increased. The second, follow-up study (Chapters 9-10), was designed to explore whether the improvement in participants’ understanding of the way Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere behaves evident in the initial study was attributable to the interactive visualisation tool itself. Were there significant differences in knowledge outcomes depending on the form in which information is presented – interactive visualisation compared with non-interactive visualisation? Overall, the results of the follow-up study show that participants demonstrate a greater knowledge gain through the use of interactive visualisation than through information provided non-interactively. More widely, the findings of these studies inform discussions about whether interactive visualisation tools might contribute to assessing understanding in environmental management in situations that involve contested resources or a multiplicity of interests.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsvisualisation; shared understanding; common understanding; interactive visualisation; static visualisations; environmental visualisation; personal understanding; pre-experimental design; common ground; individual understanding; natural resource management; natural environments; non-interactive visualisation
Fields of Research080605 Decision Support and Group Support Systems; 089999 Information and Computing Sciences not elsewhere classified; 0806 Information Systems; 050203 Environmental Education and Extension
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Does interactive visualisation increase stakeholders’ understanding? A case study of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury, New Zealand Otinpong, Bernard; Charters, Stuart; McKinnon, Alan E.; Gidlow, Robert G. A. (Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New ZealandLincoln, Canterbury, 2013-12)Visualisation has been used in a number of natural resource management applications with the aim of enhancing people’s personal understanding of issues but little evaluation of the effectiveness of the tools developed has ...
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