GEOG 583
Geospatial System Analysis and Design



Following the initial design activity of Needs Assessment, the next step is to focus on developing one or more system prototypes. Prototypes help concretize design goals gathered during the Needs Assessment phase. They also give you the opportunity to elicit feedback from clients and end-users on your design direction. There are often multiple ways to interpret and concretize system features and design aspects that are gathered during Needs Assessment, so prototyping can help you figure out which way works best for the intended user group.

Example of an interactive legend design: bivariate and univariate cases. Arrows call out buttons, rollovers, settings, and data.
Figure 3.01: This is a design prototype for an interactive legend for a geographic visualization tool that was in development several years ago at the PSU GeoVISTA Center. It isn't a working prototype, but it worked very well for the purposes of hashing out development details.
Image Credit: Anthony Robinson


At the successful completion of Lesson 3, students should be able to:

  • develop an understanding of the methods and tools associated with prototyping a GIS;
  • read about and discuss various prototyping methods;
  • complete a prototyping activity and share your prototypes with your colleagues;
  • review the technology trend of volunteered geographic information and discuss how it relates to GIS Design;
  • begin background research necessary for the term project assignment.


Lesson 3 is one week in length. Please refer to Canvas for specific assignment instructions and due dates.


If you have questions now or at any point during this week, please feel free to post them in the General Questions Discussion Forum in Canvas. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses and comments if you are able to help out a classmate.