Leveraging the potential of geospatial annotations for collaboration: A communication theory perspective

S. Hopfer, A. M. MacEachren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This paper addresses a key problem in the development of visual-analytical collaborative tools, how to design map-based displays to enable productive group work. We introduce a group communication theory, the Collective Information Sharing (CIS) bias, and discuss how it relates to communicative goals that need to be considered when designing collaborative, visually enabled, spatial-decision-support tools. The CIS bias framework suggests that key goals for developing such tools should be: (a) the harnessing of a group's collective knowledge emerging from collaborative discussions and (b) reducing the repeat of information that has already been shared within the group. We propose that web-accessible, map annotation tools are ideally suited to advancing these goals and outline how the CIS bias framework informs how geospatial annotation tools can maximize the potential of collaborative efforts. We offer design recommendations for annotation tools that function to: (a) facilitate access to and recall of geographically referenced discussion contributions, (b) document ideas for private as well as public discussion spaces, and (c) elicit all group members to contribute information in a given collaborative effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-934
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


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