Designing usable geovisualization tools is an emerging problem in GIScience software development. We are often satisfied that a new method provides an innovative window on our data, but functionality alone is insufficient assurance that a tool is applicable to a problem in situ. As extensions of the static methods they evolved from, geovisualization tools are bound to enable new knowledge creation. We have yet to learn how to adapt techniques from interaction designers and usability experts toward our tools in order to maximize this ability. This is especially challenging because there is limited existing guidance for the design of usable geovisualization tools. Their design requires knowledge about the context of work within which they will be used, and should involve user input at all stages, as is the practice in any human-centered design effort. Toward that goal, we have employed a wide range of techniques in the design of ESTAT, an exploratory geovisualization toolkit for epidemiology. These techniques include; verbal protocol analysis, card-sorting, focus groups, and an in-depth case study. This paper reports the design process and evaluation results from our experience with the ESTAT toolkit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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