Design and Implementation of Multi-style GUI for Cartographic Information Systems

Y.F. Chen, Y. Ling

Zhengzhou Institute of Surveying and Mapping,Department of Cartography & GIS, Zhengzhou, China


With users increasing, there is a great different demand for GUI in CIS from expert users to public users. But almost all user interfaces in existing CIS are designed for specialist-oriented, and treat all users as the same, thus ignore individual features of users. In order to solute the contradiction that the expert users need the powerful functions but the public users need simple operation, the author puts forward the design idea of multi-style GUI for CIS.

As a visual carrier of systems supplying spatial information to user, electronic map itself is an important component of GUI in CIS. Therefore, designing GUI for CIS cant simply follow the design principles of general computer information systems, but should consider its spatial trait and map character. According to map character of CIS, the user interface concept in broad sense is presented. All information interfaces including electronic maps shown before users could be seen as the components of user interface in CIS, but not limited by windows, menu, icons and toolbars in traditional meaning. The multi-style GUI makes one CIS software has ability of providing different style GUIs for different users depending on users basic characteristics and demands. In this way, most users can use CIS software more easily and efficiently. Based on the analysis of common GUI in existing CIS, a standard icon library was built. According to the concept of user interface in broad sense, there are four typical GUI models, that is concision-style, website-style, software-style and multimedia-style GUI. And typical user interface model library was built as the elementary user interface the system supplied for different users.

Design of multi-style GUI for CIS includes: 1. Screen interface elements design, which studies the figure of windows, menu, icon, toolbar and button and their layout in user interface, and presents various GUI design schemes according to user cognitive demands. 2. Map interface elements design, that is, applying cartographic visual perception theory to visual display design of electronic map and whole visual effect of GUI. 3. Multi-style interface library establishment for CIS through user cognitive experiment.

The paper consists of five parts. Part one, problems in existing GUI on CIS and concept of user interface in broad sense. Part two, concept of multi-style GUI and typical user interface model library. Part three, multi-style GUI design for CIS. Part four, technical flow of developing CIS with multi-style GUI. Part five, conclusions.