MapTable assists decision makers, project developers and stakeholders during the entire design process of construction works. The concept allows for quick evaluation in the early stages of the project definition phase to align objectives and visualize possible problems and solutions. During project implementation MapTable can assist in the development of mutual understanding of all project aspects.
MapTable is an interactive concept and consists of both hardware and software. The hardware is a computer, a design table (see figure), to assist for instance in the spatial planning process. This tool description does not deal with the hardware tool, but focuses only on the MapTable concept and software tools.
The MapTable concept was developed within the Building with Nature programme to facilitate alternative solutions and predict likely effects of different solutions. The concept was designed for an interactive setting where multiple stakeholders with different backgrounds jointly brainstorm to come up with alternative solutions and out-of-the-box ideas. In such a setting quick evaluation of alternatives can support the interactive design process and decision-making on an integrated solution.
To apply the MapTable concept one requires three basic needs:
Context, purpose and results
The MapTable concept is developed to align ideas and to provide a common base for all stakeholders. The concept was developed by the Building with Nature project team with the belief that mutual understanding of what works best and what doesn’t work, leads to the best project result.
The concept is applicable in all design and planning phases of a project. At the beginning of the design process, flexibility is large and costs to adapt a design are relatively low. MapTable concept and tools are suitable to use in an interactive group session with multiple stakeholders and serves as a communication tool. MapTable software tools are especially suitable in spatial evaluations and studies: distinct design aspects and spatial effects can be visualised easily with one tool. It stimulates discussion between specialists in different fields of expertise about aspects of design alternatives.
The purpose of MapTable is to help identify and quickly evaluate design alternatives in an interactive setting, for instance during a meeting or workshop. Within a very short time (a few minutes at most), a first estimate of the effects on various design aspects is delivered. New insights or ideas can thus be quickly evaluated and results presented on the spot.
The interactive tool is based on simple but robust models that allow for quick evaluation of different design alternatives. Making use of simple models is both an advantage (quick, interactive) and a drawback (less accurate). Results of a session are preferably verified with more detailed models and further analysis before final decisions are made.
MapTable facilitates in the process of getting to mutual agreement among various stakeholders with regard to the various aspects of the design. Within the Building with Nature project the MapTable concept was made operational for several case studies. For each case a new tool was developed. Understandingly each tool provides different technical results (i.e. coastal interventions, dredging schemes). Results can be used for further study and for verification, for instance with more detailed models.
Various skills and background knowledge are required depending on the chosen setting and purpose. For a good interpretation of the results, the user should have basic knowledge of the different fields called upon in the tool.
To setup a new model application within an existing tool for a different geographical location an experienced specialist is needed. This is only required when an existing tool will be used.
In case the tool is used in a workshop or during a stakeholder meeting, a facilitator is required with basic skills in hydrodynamics and morphology to translate and interpret results for the group. An experienced facilitator can also synthesize, conceptualize and translate group ideas to sketches to be used in the tool.
Building with Nature interest
Within a Building with Nature development it is always a challenge to bring different parties and knowledge fields together, to develop new ideas in cooperation with multiple stakeholders with various backgrounds and to synthesize group ideas. The BwN approach aims to come up with eco-friendly and eco-dynamic developments and designs. Visualisations can assist to clarify the Building with Nature concepts.
The MapTable concept facilitates alternative solutions and predict likely effects of different solutions. The concept was designed for an interactive setting where multiple stakeholders with different backgrounds jointly brainstorm to come up with alternative solutions and out-of-the-box ideas. In such a setting quick evaluation of alternatives can support the interactive design process and decision-making on an integrated solution.
The MapTable concept is applicable in a wide range of projects. The concept, as it was developed, aims at projects related to hydrodynamics, morphology and ecology and their interrelations.
The MapTable concept can in principle be applied in all project phases:
However, a specific tool can be designed for a specific project phase and might therefore not be directly applicable in a different phase.
Design challenges are often multi disciplinary and involve a multitude of stakeholders. To facilitate in this process the MapTable concept was developed by the Buildinng with Nature project team. For four different design challenges (see below) the MapTable concept has been applied resulting in four practical tool applications (see Practical Applications). These tool applications are specified for different geographical locations.
For the MapTable concept a Graphical User Interface (GUI) -layer was developed to guide the user through the tool. The GUI-layer enables the user to change input parameters for each tool and model so that various design alternatives can be evaluated.
Experience with the tool applications has shown several important aspects to be considered when 1) using a tool application i.e. in a workshop setting and 2) developing a new tool application. In this section a brief overview is given of a) the required skills and capacities and b) of the process steps when using or developing a tool application.
This page is primarily written for users of MapTable tool applications. Basic directions are provided to use a tool application as a means for communication in an interactive design session.
To run an interactive design session you need:
Using a tool application in a workshop setting or developing a new tool application, requires basic skills and capacities of the user or user group. The requirements depend largely on the preferred level of adaptation of the tool application. A case can be developed based on:
Important note. Cases and tool applications can be developed to address a specific problem for a specific geographical area. Prior to a workshop, these tool applications have to be modified or developed. Modification of a tool application or the development of a new tool application, including adequate testing, might take a significant amount of time.
Requirements are listed below. Listed requirements for level 1 case development are also required for levels 2 and 3, and requirements for level 2 are also required for level 3 case development.
Table 1. Required skills and capacity
Table 2. Technical requirements
• for some model packages a license might be required
Phased plan process
Essential before application
To start the process one shall define the design challenge as clear as possible, and the goal shall be set with a clear ambition. Then it can be determined which tool can be used to help solve the facing challenges.
Existing tool application, existing geographical location.
The following approach is followed after the tool is developed and applicable for the geographical area of interest and is used as a means for communication in an interactive workshop setting with the various stakeholders. The presented steps are followed in the interactive workshop setting.
Existing tool application, different geographical location.
When the project can be studied by using an existing tool, but the geographical location of your project has not been modelled, the tool has to be adapted. Basically, this will mean that the spatial data obtained from other sources (e.g. models) needs to be developed for this model. These steps you shall be followed prior to a workshop can be given. One shall be aware that these steps might consume a significant amount of time.
New tool application.
In case no existing tool applications is suitable for application on the case studied, a new tool application can be developed following the MapTable concept, in such a way that it is still compatible with the general MapTable concept.
To develop a new tool application, the developer needs to have experience with the programming tools as listed above. For the MapTable concept a flexible interface (a GUI) was designed such that in principle any other tool can be plugged in. To develop your own tool you can follow the following steps:
Interactive Tool Coastal Intervention: application Holland Coast
An interactive design tool has been developed to get an indicative insight in effects of measures on long term coastline development. The tool was developed for the Dutch sandy coast, the Holland Coast. A coastline model (in which the various hydrodynamic processes are numerically modelled) has been developed and linked to a web viewer for the Holland Coast. Mega nourishments, maintenance nourishments, groynes and revetments can be drawn in a map in this web viewer. Thereafter, the coastline model computes the indicative effects of these measures on coastline development in a few minutes. All stakeholders can see the effects of their design ideas directly in the web viewer.
In Coastal Workshop sessions with multiple stakeholders, this interactive tool has been used to support the development of alternative visions for the Holland Coast in 2100.
The application of the MapTable concept and tool application in this setting has resulted in:
During the sessions it was learned that participants were very keen to participate in the interactive process. They were motivated to come up with various alternatives and to understand the processes and resulting effects.
Interactive River tool: application Dutch Rivers.
MapTable tool applications have proven its use in several Dutch ‘Make Room for the River’ projects. During meetings with stakeholders, effects of measures, like a side channel, a floodplain excavation and relocation of levees, have been estimated with the help of MapTable. For these projects, the hydrodynamic model WAQUA was plugged into the MapTable tool application.
Interactive Dredge Planning tool: application Singapore.
Nowadays static dredging criteria are used to avoid ecological damage. Aim of this study was to use ecologically relevant criteria instead of static dredging criteria for the assessment of dredging activities. Therefore, a dredge plume modelling tool has been developed for the waters around Singapore. This tool can make rapid assessments on the effects of dredging operations on vulnerable coastal ecology. A dredging operation can be planned on a digital map and users can specify the characteristics of this dredging operation. The tool will make a quick assessment of the expected plume dispersion and stressor intensity at relevant locations. Furthermore, this stressor can be translated into an expected effect on ecology by adding others tools on Species Responses (e.g. for seagrass) . Users can optimise their proposed dredging operation based on this quick assessment of the ecological impact.
Interactive O&M tool: Streamline tool
The aim of the Stroomlijn project is to optimise the maintenance of floodplain vegetation, because high vegetation can affect extreme water levels in rivers. A MapTable tool application has been applied to evaluate maintenance strategies in this project.
Suggestions for further reading about MapTable software: