Development of a geographical operating environment.
There have been many changes in Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
technology which are beneficial for analysis and visualisation of Geographical
Information (GI) but these have failed to be applied to non GIS users. The
development of a computer based working environment for using GI within generic
decision-making situations is a necessity if more use is to be made of GI by non GIS
specialists. Problems are outlined for the incorporation of GI into existing systems :
GIS and Spatial Decision Support Systems (SDSS). Issues of usability, integration of
software/information and functionality have slowed the wider acceptance of GIS.
'These issues have lead to the development of a conceptual functional model of a
Geographical Operating Environment (GOE). The GOE is proposed as a solution to
the use of GI within a generic computer based decision-making environment for non
The GOE integrates the use of GI and non GI to allow the user to view and analyse
information within a decision-making context. A series of prototypes have been
developed and tested, mostly in conjunction with commercial organisations. The
research has shown that there is much benefit in facilitating access to GI and non GI
by decision-makers and that alternate strategies can be visualised and analysed.
However, there are still problems for the mainstream use of GI within generic
decision-making using existing computer systems from both a technological and
sociological perspective. Decision-makers would benefit from the .additional
analytical and visualisation techniques that can be applied to GI through the use of a
GI based working environment such as the GOE.