UCT CS Research Document Archive

A Web tool for Geographic Information Systems

Kariem, Nuraan, Salie Hendricks and Sonia Berman (2003) A Web tool for Geographic Information Systems. Technical Report CS03-18-00, Department of Computer Science, University of Cape Town.

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Geographic information system (GIS) users are growing in numbers everyday. The need for GIS systems is on an increase. This requires that information be made available on a large scale.

This is a major problem that many GIS users are faced with. They require a tool that will allow them to supply the dataset and rapidly generate a resulting geographic web map that will be accessible by virtually anyone.

Having been approached by the Marine & Coastal Management (MCM) services of Western Cape as well as the Cape Metropolitan Council (CMC) with this exact dilemma, we felt that their was a real need to develop a system that could help these GIS users.
In essence, the system provides:
• Useful and informative interactive mapping capabilities
• A tool to dynamically generate these maps which can then be placed on the web for easy access

The maps need to provide basic browsing capabilities, such as zooming, panning and layering various themes for display. Ideally it should provide added functionality, such as providing unique symbols for various features on the map.
G-WIS, short for Geographic Web-tool Information System, is a tool that allows users to extract and publish these geographic web maps with relative ease.
G-WIS is a stand-alone tool that is based on solid interface design methods. It allows a user to define a dataset that can be used to
generate a web page, which embeds a Java Applet that reads the data and maps this in the form of a geographical map.

The key findings that were found after testing the G-WIS application are:
1. Supports long term and efficient management of data.
2. Promotes rapid generation of web maps.
3. Implements an “attractive and easy to use” interface.
4. Further development or improvements can be due to the use of XML.
5. Has the ability to solve real world problems.
6. Is cost effective.
Generating web maps with G-WIS is easy, fast and cost effective.

After testing the interactive maps, it was found that:
1. The maps were easy to use
2. It provided the basic needs for web mapping.
3. It was informative and useful
Implementing the maps using GeoTools caused a huge setback in the progress of the project, since GeoTools is poorly documented and only a few experts exist. Advanced functionality was thus not provided. Even though the maps only provided the basic functionality, it met the needs for functional interactive web map browsing.

EPrint Type:Departmental Technical Report
C Computer Systems Organization: C.5 COMPUTER SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION
ID Code:62
Deposited By:Hendricks, Salie
Deposited On:10 October 2003