GIS and decision support systems for local authorities in Malaysia
Despite the fairly widespread recognition of the benefits of GIS for local authorities, its adoption by local planning authorities in Malaysia has not been particularly encouraging. The reluctance of local authorities to accept the challenge to embrace the technology is due mainly to lack of support from the management level, lack of in-house expertise with which to make use of the system and the high cost of GIS. On the other hand, local authorities are now faced with increasingly complex urban problems and inevitably urban planners have to come up with better solutions. Of late, there have been enormous improvements in the price and performance of computer hardware and functionality of software packages, such that a wide range of specific demands for the management, analysis and presentation of data can now be met in a cost-effective manner. A direct consequence of these new opportunities has been the rapid growth in the number of users developing the urban planning and monitoring applications. This chapter examines the functions of a local authority and indicates areas in which GIS as a decision support tool can be most effective.