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Evaluation Of An Open-Source Collaborative WebGIS Prototype In Risk Management With Students

Over the past decades, advancements in web services and web-based geospatial technologies have led to increasing delivery, access and analysis of rich spatial information over the web. With the use of open access data and open-source technology, it has become possible to make better, transparent and informed decisions for policy and decision makers. Under the framework of the European Marie Curie CHANGES project, a prototype web-based collaborative decision support platform was developed for the evaluation and selection of risk management strategies, mainly targeting flood and landslide hazards. The design of the conceptual framework was based on the initial feedback and observations obtained from field visits and stakeholder meetings of the case study areas of the project. A three-tier client-server architecture backed up by Boundless (OpenGeo) was applied with its client side development environment for rapid prototyping. The developed prototype was tested with university students to obtain feedback on the conceptual and technical aspects of the platform as well as to analyze how the application of interactive tools in the exercise could assist students in studying and understanding risk management. During the exercise, different roles (authorities, technicians, community) were assigned to each group of students for identification and selection of risk mitigation measures in the study area: Cucco village located in MalborghettoValbruna commune of North- Eastern Italy. Data were collected by means of written feedback forms on specific aspects of the platform and the exercise. A subsequent analysis of the feedback reveals that students with previous experience in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) responded positively and showed interests in performing exercises with such kinds of interactive tools for learning, compared to the ones with fewer or no GIS experience. These results also show that the prototype is useful and supportive as a decision support tool in risk management while userfriendliness, interactivity and practical aspects of the platform could be further improved.