UNC Asheville’s NEMAC, established in November 2003, specializes in science communication and the development of decision support tools for local, regional, and national decision makers, planners, and the public.
We synthesize and integrate data, create tools and visualizations, foster understanding, and provide decision support to help our partners achieve resilience solutions.
Our products and services are widely varied, and include web applications and content management systems, interactive mapping applications, 3D visualizations, narrative content development, and workshop-based facilitated decision making.
The NEMAC research team begins with datasets from trusted local, regional, and national sources. We examine the interaction of human infrastructure with the environment to address particular issues, creating decision support tools designed to be easily understood and used by policy makers and the general public.
Partnerships are Key
Part of NEMAC’s strength is in its ability to create partnerships. Leveraging the resources and talents of government, education, non-profit, and private industry allows for projects that promote economic development, advance public education, and address regional and national issues. Together these groups provide the scientific, computer, and statistical expertise to prepare and analyze disparate databases, such as historical climate data and remotely sensed data.
Decision Support Tools
NEMAC has considerable experience designing decision support tools of all types, from websites, content management systems, and interactive maps and graphics to animations, movies, posters, and facilitated meetings. All the tools support a four-part strategy:
- Integrating Information: Combining trusted data sources—such as GIS data, images, text, and data feeds—into informative visuals that are accurate, current, and tailored for decision making.
- Visualizing and Distributing Information: Using multimedia delivery technologies and web application development to deliver the visuals to decision makers in a dynamic and rapid manner.
- Explaining Information: Telling the story through digital narratives, education, and outreach that meet decision maker needs and provide context for the decision.
- Using Information: Assisting with group decision making through facilitation, scenarios, and dealing with uncertainty.