Community Access to GIS

Avoiding Intimidation & Trivialization

Abhijeet Chavan
Brian Orland
Deanna Koenigs

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

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The explosion of the World Wide Web (WWW) as a popular and widely available technology for connecting digital resources has provided the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) industry with a new delivery mechanism. GIS information delivered via the WWW has the potential of reaching beyond traditional audiences to reach experts and non-experts alike. This development is particularly significant for organizations and government agencies that deliver public information to citizens. This paper discusses some issues involved with providing community access to such information. Three case studies are presented. The different approaches used by these case studies to organize and deliver public information are examined. This paper suggests mechanisms to improve community access to public information.

(Presented at Data Visualization '97, St. Louis, October 1997 by Abhijeet Chavan. )

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GIS and the Internet

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Community access to GIS

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Indicators of success

Communications theory indicates the following factors influence the success of communications media

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Community access: Availability

Achievement of critical mass is largely affected by the availability of online media

Principal mechanisms

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Community access: Involvement

Interactivity is achieved through active involvement in navigation and selection

Principal mechanisms

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Community access: Gratification

User gratification is achieved when users satisfy their own information needs or questions

Principal mechanisms

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Case Study: Mapquest

Geosystem Global Corporation

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Mapquest: Task oriented view

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Mapquest: Online atlas

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Mapquest: Trip planner

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Mapquest: Relocation Guide

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Case Study: EGRETS

East St. Louis Geographic Information Retrieval System

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Egrets: level-of-familiarity view

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Egrets: Explore

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Egrets: People

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Egrets: Atlas

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Egrets: Store

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Case Study: Envirofacts

U.S.Environmetal Protection Agency

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Envirofacts: Data-oriented view

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Envirofacts: Maps on demand

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Envirofacts: Education

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