Governance interactions of spatial data infrastructures: an agent-based modelling approach

Jaap-Willem Sjoukema*, Jalal Samia, Arnold K. Bregt, Joep Crompvoets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Non-textual formSoftware


In order to facilitate and coordinate spatial data sharing and exchange, many organisations have developed spatial data infrastructures (SDIs). SDI governance plays a pivotal role in the development and evolution of an SDI, but as SDIs are complex adaptive systems, governing is a challenge. This research therefore proposes a complexity perspective to SDI governance by exploring the use of agent-based modelling to simulate and examine SDI governance interactions. In this agent-based simulation, we examine interactions between SDI stakeholders, data availability and the effects of different governance styles (hierarchical, network and laissez-faire governance) and budget policies. The simulation shows that it is possible to mimic SDI governance dynamics through agent-based modelling. By running different scenarios, it appears that a network approach is more successful compared to a hierarchical or laissez-faire approach. Expert validation shows that overall the results of the simulation are credible and insightful, although improvements can be made to make the model more realistic. With agent-based modelling, SDI governance becomes more tangible and visible, which facilitates discussion and understanding. Agent-based modelling therefore appears to be a helpful new approach in a better understanding of the complexities and dynamics of SDI governance.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherWageningen University & Research
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2021


  • governance
  • spatial data infrastructure (SDI)
  • agent-based modelling
  • funding models
  • complex adaptive systems


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