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Multicriteria Mapping

Multicriteria Mapping iMac Mockup

We have a deep understanding and real expertise when it comes to complex decision making tools.

Multicriteria Mapping (MCM) is a powerful web-based, collaborative tool for complex decision making. It is aimed at government, commercial and voluntary sectors as well as academic research and supports better understanding of alternative options, uncertainties and different perspectives where complex decisions need be made.

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I just wanted to say thank you again to DabApps for doing such a great job!
Prof Andrew Stirling, Professor of Science & Technology Policy, SPRU, University of Sussex

The challenge

Professor Andrew Stirling, of Sussex University, had developed a methodology for complex decision making in the late 1990s. This had been used successfully for academic research in a wide variety of contexts, including the appraisal of options for energy strategy, food production, environmental policy consultation, radioactive waste management, obesity policy, and public health responses to the shortage of kidney donors. 

Our task was to turn this methodology into a commercially viable product which would have a much wider reach, allowing easier collaboration in real-time and allowing data to be captured in remote areas of the world with no internet connectivity.

Multicriteria Mapping Screenshot 1

How we solved the problem

Working in close collaboration with Andy Stirling and his project management team at the university, we developed a deep understanding of the methodology and conducted an initial, in-depth analysis of MCM's existing users through one-to-one interviewing. This lead to the production of a prototype to test the resulting ideas for an improved user experience.

The custom web application was built in Python, using the Django web development framework, with a MySQL database. The rich user interface interactions were developed using JavaScript, with BackboneJS and jQuery UI. Parts of the system can also be used offline, so we developed a desktop application using Node-Webkit with a custom Backbone sync backend.

Multicriteria Mapping Screenshot 2

The outcome

Since completion of MCM the tool has been used very successfully on a number of projects as well as at conferences and workshops, as attested by our client, below. It is now available as a commercial product.

"The software was a roaring success! As you may know, India boasts a particularly demanding academic and policy culture. So there was a chorus of very sceptical voices at the beginning - concerning computer tools, quantification in general, the language of 'options' and so forth. But the process won everyone over, such that several of the most sceptical folk asked me afterwards how they could get access to the software to use as a tool for their own work - in NGOs, businesses and universities." 

Prof Andrew Stirling, Professor of Science & Technology Policy, SPRU, University of Sussex

Related blog post:
Technology Driven Decision Making
The development, design and build of this incredibly complex, web-based decision making tool required a very in-depth and involved understanding of the methodology. DabApps were the only developers who really grasped the intricacies and objectives of the project build. They have a very strong and unique mix of skills within their team and the ability to understand very complex issues.
Peter Lane, Technology Commercialisation and Innovation Management Consultant, Sussex Innovation Centre

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