Spatial thinking and the GIS user interface

Michael F. Goodchild

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Geographic information science can be defined as the study of the fundamental issues of geographic information, and is often motivated by the need to improve geographic information technologies. One such issue concerns the design of the user interface, and the relationship between the tasks performed by the technologies on the one hand, and the concepts that humans use in thinking about those tasks on the other. Nowhere is this issue more important than in the design of GIS user interfaces and functionality. Recent efforts have led to a comprehensive understanding of the concepts of spatial thinking, and of how these concepts might form the basis for a much-improved functionality and user interface. The presentation summarizes those efforts, and points to a future in which GIS will be much easier to teach, master, and use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Spatial Thinking and Geographic Information Sciences 2011, STGIS 2011 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: Sep 14 2011Sep 16 2011


  • Geographic information system
  • Spatial concepts
  • Spatial thinking
  • User interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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