Supporting effective human interactions with geographic information during crisis response

Guoray Cai, Alan M. MacEachren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Human society is vulnerable to various crises. Although geographical information is widely applied to critical decisions for crisis management, recent field studies have shown that GIS are rarely used by crisis managers at the time of actual crises, because they do not address the special needs of crisis management. This paper responds to the above problem through integrating two aspects of work. First, we articulate the unique requirements of crisis management GIS applications, which is summarized into three dimensions: timely delivery of information; relevancy to the task at hand, and collaboration-friendliness. These requirements are subsequently used for constructing critiques of current desktop GIS and for deriving principles guiding the choice of interface design features. The second aspect of this work is to present a feasible technical solution to the identified design challenges. In particular, we describe two of our own research prototypes, DAVE_G (Dialogue-Assisted Virtual Environment for Geoinformation), and GCCM (GeoCollaborative Crisis Management). DAVE_G addresses the needs for same-place real-time collaboration with geographic information (suitable for emergency operation centres), while GCCM deals with the challenge of supporting distributed crisis management teams. Both systems feature the use of human communication modalities (speech/gesture), conversational dialogues, and visually-mediated collaboration. We compare and contrast such systems with traditional desktop GIS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-425
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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