Synthesizing vulnerability, risk, resilience, and sustainability into VRRSability for improving geoinformation decision support evaluations

Timothy Nyerges, John A. Gallo, Steven D. Prager, Keith M. Reynolds, Philip J. Murphy, Wen Wen Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper synthesizes vulnerability, risk, resilience, and sustainability (VRRS) in a way that can be used for decision evaluations about sustainable systems, whether such systems are called coupled natural-human systems, social-ecological systems, coupled human-environment systems, and/or hazards influencing global environmental change, all considered geospatial open systems. Evaluations of V-R-R-S as separate concepts for complex decision problems are important, but more insightful when synthesized for improving integrated decision priorities based on trade-offs of V-R-R-S objectives. A synthesis concept, called VRRSability, provides an overarching perspective that elucidates Tier 2 of a previously developed four-tier framework for organizing measurement-informed ontology and epistemology for sustainability information representation (MOESIR). The new synthesis deepens the MOESIR framework to address VRRSability information representation and clarifies the Tier 2 layer of abstraction. This VRRSability synthesis, composed of 13 components (several with sub-components), offers a controlled vocabulary as the basis of a conceptual framework for organizing workflow assessment and intervention strategies as part of geoinformation decision support software. Researchers, practitioners, and machine learning algorithms can use the vocabulary results for characterizing functional performance relationships between elements of geospatial open systems and the computing technology systems used for evaluating them within a context of complex sustainable systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number179
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Decision support software
  • Epistemology
  • Human-environment systems
  • Ontology
  • Open systems
  • Sustainable systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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