User-Centred Design of a Scientific GII for the Balearic Islands University
Guasp Giner, L.J.
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Research and education are two activities closely related to the management of scientific knowledge. To support the increasing difficulty to manage information, many initiatives have tried to come out with solutions. Since most part of the knowledge may be somehow related to space, Scientific Geographical Information Infrastructures (ScGIIs) are created to support research and educational activities, and disseminate its results into society for further reuse or investigation. Stakeholders, but specially users, are the main actors in the use of such infrastructures. Therefore, this study takes the User‐Centred Design (UCD) methodology, which tries to discover the potential demand and requirements for a product, before generating a supply, which may otherwise not be adapted to the user needs. This research focuses over the first phase of the UCD, consisting into a requirements analysis. Since at present the Balearic Islands University (UIB) (Spain) is developing a ScGII for the own university. This research takes that example as a case study to investigate how users and stakeholders can collaborate in the design and development of a ScGII. To do so, the research does a deep study over the critical aspects that should be approach to define a ScGII, which are mainly their components: stakeholders, technology, geospatial information, standards, organizational framework and finances. Then it goes through a long list of other existing ScGIIs and systems that serve the same function, like GI repositories or geospatial grids. When focusing over the case study, the research studies the socio‐economic context of the Balearic Islands Society and state‐of‐affairs within the UIB’s ScGII project. This research takes the survey as a main methodology to approach the requirements analysis study over students, teachers and researchers, who are intended to be the users of this infrastructure. To sharpen and increase the liability of the prospective survey’s questionnaire, a group of experts’ advices about considered aspects and topics. The existence of very different stakeholders with diverse interests requires generating adapted survey models in base to the tasks that can be carried out with ScGIIs. The execution of these surveys is preceded by brief explanations in base to the Joint Analysis Design (JAD) methodology. Results are analyzed statistically, and conveyed into a deliverable report that explains carefully how all ScGII components should be set up to respond to user requirements. These ideas are also taken into account to design a graphical mock‐up of the prospective UIB’s ScGII user interface prototype.