Enhancing Usability Evaluation of Web-Based Geographic Information Systems (WebGIS) with Visual Analytics

Authors René Unrau , Christian Kray

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René Unrau
  • Institute for Geoinformatics, University of Münster, Germany
Christian Kray
  • Institute for Geoinformatics, University of Münster, Germany

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René Unrau and Christian Kray. Enhancing Usability Evaluation of Web-Based Geographic Information Systems (WebGIS) with Visual Analytics. In 11th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2021) - Part I. Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 177, pp. 15:1-15:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


Many websites nowadays incorporate geospatial data that users interact with, for example, to filter search results or compare alternatives. These web-based geographic information systems (WebGIS) pose new challenges for usability evaluations as both the interaction with classic interface elements and with map-based visualizations have to be analyzed to understand user behavior. This paper proposes a new scalable approach that applies visual analytics to logged interaction data with WebGIS, which facilitates the interactive exploration and analysis of user behavior. In order to evaluate our approach, we implemented it as a toolkit that can be easily integrated into existing WebGIS. We then deployed the toolkit in a user study (N=60) with a realistic WebGIS and analyzed users' interaction in a second study with usability experts (N=7). Our results indicate that the proposed approach is practically feasible, easy to integrate into existing systems, and facilitates insights into the usability of WebGIS.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Human-centered computing → User studies
  • Human-centered computing → Usability testing
  • map interaction
  • usability evaluation
  • visual analytics


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