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The Online WhatIf? planning support system (PSS) is a collaborative planning tool. The tool is an online version of the desktop WhatIf? 2.0 planning support system that has been used by over 150 users in 22 countries.

New account registration for Online WhatIf? access is currently unavailable. If you need access to Online WhatIf? for your research project, please email us to discuss how we can help you.

Important note: user support and training for Online WhatIf? are currently unavailable

The Online WhatIf? code has been released as an open-source project, accessible through these links:

Full user documentation can be found at


The first application of the Online WhatIf? PSS has been developed and tested in the context of the Perth to Peel Region in Western Australia. The AURIN team have worked with the Department of Planning in Western Australia in data preparation and in the formulation of a series of planning scenarios which align with the Perth to Peel Region – Directions 2031 Metropolitan Plan. The Online WhatIf? PSS tool has been designed to assist other cities and regions across Australia in understanding land use supply, demand and likely future land use change scenarios.

There is clearly a need for generic tools to support strategic planning of urban growth occurring in the major cities and regional centres across Australia. Such generic tools are often referred to as planning support systems (PSS), and can be used to inform strategic planners on the impact of population growth and other socio-economic factors on the future of Australian cities. These PSS required a number of GIS data inputs to which the AURIN project is facilitating access, including:

  • land parcel boundaries
  • land uses
  • building footprints
  • demographic and economic trends, and so on.

These inputs are also required to determine the suitability of land for accommodating future development – another important consideration for strategic planners in local authorities and state government agencies throughout Australia.


  • An online open source version of the current WhatIf? PSS to be accessible via the AURIN Workbench
  • An innovative demonstrator application of WhatIf? for strategic planning in Western Australia
  • User manual and training of the WhatIf? AURIN tool for planners and policy-makers.


Prof Christopher Pettit

Associate Director, City Futures Research Centre
Project Leader, AURIN
The University of New South Wales

Prof Dick Klosterman

Project Consultant
WhatIf? Corporation

Alireza Shamakhy

DevOps Engineer
The University of Melbourne

Patrizia Russo

Robert Hutton

Marcos Nino-Ruiz

Claudia Pelizaro



  • Pettit, CJ, Klosterman, RE, Delaney, P, Whitehead, AL, Kujala, H, Bromage, A, Nino-Ruiz, M 2015 The Online WhatIf? Planning Support System: A Land Suitability Application in Western Australia, Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy. Vol 8, Issue 2, pp 93-112
  • Klosterman, RE 1999, ‘The WhatIf? Collaborative Planning Support System’, Environment and Planning, B: Planning and Design, no. 26, pp. 393-408
  • Pettit, CJ 2005, ‘Use of a collaborative GIS-based planning support system to assist in formulating a sustainable-development scenario for Hervey Bay, Australia’, Environment and Planning, B: Planning and Design, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 523-546
  • Pettit, CJ, Klosterman, RE, Nino-Ruiz, M, Widjaja, I, Tomko, M, Sinnott, R, Stimson, R 2013, ‘The Online WhatIf? Planning Support System’, in Planning Support Systems for Sustainable Urban Development, eds S Geertman & J Stillwell, Springer, Berlin, pp 349-362.


Download the PDF WhatIf? Factsheet here.