A WYSIWYG Interface for User-Friendly Access to Geospatial Data Collections
Map collections and dataset providers increasingly offer online access to their geospatial data repositories. Users can visually browse and sometimes select and download datasets to their desktop. The experience of those using such applications may vary greatly from novice to GIS expert. Two types of user interfaces for geospatial data collections are currently prevalent, the wizard-based and the search-based interface. Both types do not serve experts and novice users equally well: the former imposing a rigid chronological order of user actions, the latter requiring the user to handle complex search mechanisms. The inadequacies of these types of interfaces led to the development of a new interface for geospatial data collections, the WYSIWYG interface. The WYSIWYG interface encourages the user to explore available datasets and system capabilities. The sequence of actions for map selection is flexible and can be influenced by the user. Instead of showing reference maps, scale-dependent representations of the downloadable datasets are displayed giving an immediate impression of dataset characteristics. User-friendly layout and function design contribute to making the WYSIWYG interface a suitable front-end for geospatial data collections satisfying the needs of expert users und novices alike.
KeywordsGeospatial Data Novice User Downloadable Data Ordnance Survey Vector Dataset
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