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Group Value/Utility Function

The group value/utility function can be constructed on the basis of the multiattribute value/utility functions of the people concerned. Under some conditions it is possible to design an additive group utility function where the overall utility is the weighted sum of the individual utilities. The procedure for the GIS-based group utility function approach involves the following steps:

1. Generate the overall utility map for each person concerned; this is achieved by performing steps 1 through 5 of the procedure for the utility function approach described in "attribute value/utility functions".
2. Derive the scaling constants (see "trade-off analysis")
3. Multiply the scaling constants by corresponding overall value maps to obtain the weighted overall utility map layers.
4. Aggregate the individual utilities by summing the map layers obtained in step 3.
5. Rank the alternatives according to the group value map layers; the alternative with the highest utility is the most preferred alternative.

The scaling constants can be estimated in one of the two ways; by a selected decision maker or by a mutually satisfactory agreement. The former approach assumes that there is a person who can set the weights for the group according to the importance of the people involved in the decision-making process. The mutual agreement approach is participatory in the sense that it requires group members collectively to select a set of parameters that is mutually satisfactory.

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