Sustainable development is a primary objective and an urgent problem to be addressed by our society. Geospatial technologies offer reliable tools to support analysis, problem solving, planning, decision-making, and management of the processes required to pursue this common objective. GIScience theories, methods, techniques, and tools are presented and discussed here in the role they play in setting up sustainable processes to achieve sustainable development objectives.
The GIScience community has a role to play in further investigating opportunities to solve sustainable development problems by means of sustainable development processes and in promoting awareness of all the actors involved about the potential of geospatial technologies.
This book aims at addressing this challenge by presenting a diverse set of contributions, which together propose a comprehensive perspective of the issues and possible solutions for implementing knowledge-based sustainable development support systems. To this end data production, maintenance, and access issues are discussed together with their economic, technical, and organizational feasibility. Moreover, tools for inclusive collaborative planning are presented, which may constitute reliable platforms for participatory analysis and problem solving and decisionmaking. These tools, although promising from a technical perspective, need to be implemented carefully, taking into account the impact new technologies may have on diverse groups of users.
The overall discussion aims at dealing in an integrated way with the many issues outlined in this chapter; nevertheless, further efforts are required to develop a more focused research agenda for GIS application for sustainable development. To this end, it is the hope of the editor that this work, by paying attention to a broad range of problems and suggesting possible solutions, may contribute in raising the awareness of researchers, developers, and end users of the opportunities for the application of GIS for sustainable development.