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A visual language interface for geographical information systems

Standing, C. and Roy, G.G. (1998) A visual language interface for geographical information systems. Geographical Systems, 5 (4). pp. 329-354.


Geographical information systems (GIS) are predicted to become an integral part of decision support systems. There are a number of problems that users face when interacting with GIS and unless this changes it is likely to inhibit the widespread integration of these systems into the more general decision support portfolio. The problem of acquiring skills in macro query development in GIS is one which this paper concentrates on. Few new graphical interfaces for GIS have been designed by researchers. This paper describes a visual functional query language called VFQL. As its name suggests it is designed on a functional programming approach with a graphical query interface. In evaluations of the VFQL, experts rated the system as one which would help users in developing macros and reusable queries compared with a text based command language. They felt that it would be suitable for novices and intermediate users. Evaluations of VFQL and a GIS text based command language found that users made fewer errors and completed simpler queries more quickly using VFQL. In the experiment VFQL also outperformed the text based command language on more complex queries but the results were not statistically significant. Users expressed a high level of satisfaction for using VFQL. Overall, VFQL has a number of features that will help users in becoming more competent users of a GIS.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering
Copyright: © 1998 OPA (Overseas Publishers Association) N.V.
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