This book provides an introduction to HCI and usability aspects ofGeographical Information Systems and Science. Its aim is tointroduce the principles of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI); todiscuss the special usability aspects of GIS which designers anddevelopers need to take into account when developing such systems;and to offer a set of tried and tested frameworks, matrices andtechniques that can be used within GIS projects. Geographical Information Systems and other applications ofcomputerised mapping have gained popularity in recent years. Today,computer-based maps are common on the World Wide Web, mobilephones, satellite navigation systems and in various desktopcomputing packages. The more sophisticated packages that allow themanipulation and analysis of geographical information are used inlocation decisions of new businesses, for public service deliveryfor planning decisions by local and central government. Many moreapplications exist and some estimate the number of people acrossthe world that are using GIS in their daily work at severalmillions. However, many applications of GIS are hard to learn andto master.
This is understandable, as until quite recently, themain focus of software vendors in the area of GIS was on thedelivery of basic functionality and development of methods topresent and manipulate geographical information using the availablecomputing resources. As a result, little attention was paid tousability aspects of GIS. This is evident in many public andprivate systems where the terminology, conceptual design andstructure are all centred around the engineering of GIS and not onthe needs and concepts that are familiar to the user. This book covers a range of topics from the cognitive models ofgeographical representation, to interface design. It will providethe reader with frameworks and techniques that can be used anddescription of case studies in which these techniques have beenused for computer mapping application.