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Do Users Ignore Spatial Data Quality? A Decision-Theoretic Perspective


Address correspondence to P. A. J. van Oort, Wageningen University, Centre for Geo-Information, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen; tel: +31 317 474458; fax: +31 317 419000;


Risk analysis (RA) has been proposed as a means of assessing fitness for use of spatial data but is only rarely adopted. The proposal is that better decisions can be made by accounting for risks due to errors in spatial data. Why is RA so rarely adopted? Most geographical information science (GISc) literature stresses educational and technical constraints. In this article we propose, based on decision theory, a number of hypotheses for why the user would be more or less willing to spend resources on RA. The hypotheses were tested with a questionnaire, which showed that the willingness to spend resources on RA depends on the presence of feedback mechanisms in the decision-making process, on how much is at stake, and to a minor extent on how well the decision-making process can be modeled.