Client: Multicriteria Mapping

Multicriteria Mapping (MCM) is a powerful web-based, collaborative tool for complex decision making. It’s aimed towards helping academic research while also having influence in government, commercial and voluntary sectors. Multicriteria Mapping also further enhances the understanding of alternative options in a complex decision by shedding light on more uncertainties and different perspectives. 

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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 has been used successfully for academic research in a wide variety of contexts which include 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 real-time collaboration and allowing data to be captured in remote areas of the world with no internet connectivity.


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 led 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.


The outcome

Since completion of MCM the tool has been key to success for numerous projects, conferences and workshops, as attested by our client. It’s also now available as a commercial product. 

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 or skills within their team and the ability to understand very complex issues

Peter Lane, Technology Commercialisation and Innovation Management Consultant, Sussex Innovation Centre