This paper describes an algorithm for spatial search, which is used in an expert system for site selection. The algorithm, named ProfMat, is able to find the best site in the area of interest even when the number of possible sites is large and many decision criteria are involved. Compared to commonly used search procedures, ProfMat improves the efficiency of spatial search in two ways. First, the best site is identified through an iterative rather than a linear process of selection and evaluation of optional sites. Second, an area is searched by narrowing down the focus to increasingly smaller areas and, thus, sites are evaluated as much as possible groupwise. The ProfMat procedure is illustrated by analyzing the problem of retail site selection. A comparison with alternative search procedures shows that ProfMat considerably reduces the evaluation costs needed to find the best site. The implementation of the algorithm in an expert system shows how ProfMat can be used in combination with specialist's knowledge to solve site-selection problems. The efficiency of the procedure allows considering large sets of optional sites, so that it may improve the quality of the outcome.
|Publication status||Published - 1996|