Cartographic user interface design models for mobile Location-Based Services applications

Wealands, K 2008, Cartographic user interface design models for mobile Location-Based Services applications, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Mathematical and Geospacial Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Cartographic user interface design models for mobile Location-Based Services applications
Author(s) Wealands, K
Year 2008
Abstract Mobile Location-Based Services (mLBS) offer a unique combination of digital content, portability, interactivity, location-awareness and real-time information delivery, providing increased convenience and support for everyday geospatial decision-making tasks, compared to more traditional printed maps and digital cartographic products. In spite of their benefits, however, limitations inherent within mLBS technology (e.g. small screens), along with the dynamic and changeable contexts in which they are used, impact on their effectiveness for communicating geospatial information to end users and, in turn, their overall acceptance. Identifying usefulness (i.e. utility and usability) as a key factor influencing the acceptance of mLBS products, this thesis details the investigation of techniques and a methodology for designing mLBS applications that communicate geospatial information in a useful manner to non-expert, general public users.

The research presented here focuses on the usefulness of the entire cartographic user interface (UI) for mLBS applications – i.e. those components that are specifically concerned with the access and representation of, and interaction with, geospatial information – differentiating it from related mLBS research and application design. Particular emphasis was placed on the usefulness of the interplay between various geospatial components of the cartographic UI, in support of a broad range of everyday geospatial tasks for non-expert users. Contributing to this, a wide array of alternative techniques for representing, presenting and interacting with geospatial information were explored. To achieve its aims, the study adopted a qualitative User-Centred Design (UCD) methodology, involving an early focus on users and their tasks, empirical measurement of usage, and iterative design and evaluation, which together ensured that all design efforts were firmly grounded in the needs and characteristics of the end users. Necessarily focused on a specific application area (tourism) and an associated user group (travellers), the UCD process employed by the research was more comprehensive than had previously been undertaken within the cartographic discipline.

The primary results of the research comprise a set of cartographic UI design models for communicating geospatial information in a useful manner to the non-expert users of a tourism-related mLBS application. These incorporate a range of alternative cartographic representation, presentation and interaction techniques considered useful by representative users, with egocentric maps arguably holding the greatest importance. The wider benefits of the design models are expected to be twofold: firstly, they offer a structural foundation to researchers and developers seeking to produce useful cartographic UIs for tourism-related mLBS applications; and secondly, they provide guidance regarding specific cartographic representation, presentation and interaction techniques that offer utility and usability in particular contexts. In addition, a number of secondary research outputs offer other benefits to the scientific and commercial mLBS communities. These include the UCD research methodology – which presents a proven guide for ensuring usefulness during the design of mLBS applications in general – and a set of general recommendations for designing useful mLBS applications – which offer assistance for specific design activities while contributing empirical results to the future development of mLBS application design guidelines.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Mathematical and Geospacial Sciences
Keyword(s) Location-Based Services
User-Centred Design
cartographic representation
user interface
geospatial information
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Created: Thu, 24 Mar 2011, 13:51:32 EST by Guy Aron
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