Rosa Aguilar is a computer system Engineer. She has led teams and became Chief Technical Officer at the Geographic Institute in Venezuela. Rosa is currently doing her Ph.D. research in Urban Planning, and her main interests are machine learning algorithms for image classification and collaborative spatial planning.
Collaborative spatial planning tackles problems that often require the active participation of different stakeholders who might have different kinds of knowledge, values and interests. Maptables, specifically large horizontal touch screens, can be used to support collaborative spatial planning processes given the enhanced communication and playful environment they provide. However, frequently used applications for maptables, i.e., GIS software, do not exploit the touch capabilities of these instruments or have usability shortcomings because they were conceived for a single-user setting. To address this gap, we developed and evaluated an open source application coined OGITO - Open Geospatial Interactive Tool. We combined human-centred design methods and Agile software development principles involving stakeholders and intended users in an iterative co-creation process of the tool and evaluated the tool’s usability in a case study on community mapping in Sumatra, Indonesia.
We found that case study workshop participants, who never used a maptable before, could use OGITO without assistance after receiving a short instruction. They reported high satisfaction with OGITO for the tasks and context given. This result shows the added value of iterative development and user feedback for improving and further development of the tool’s usability and functionality.
Furthermore, the platform provided by OGITO facilitated the group interaction allowing for communication and collaboration when creating maps. This experience would contribute in building trust and mutual understanding, which might help participants to collaborate in other community initiatives. The main observed benefits of using OGITO were: a) simple to use as it only requires a small room and a facilitator during the map-making process; b) that it accommodates capturing of participants' local knowledge that is priceless and rich with information that might not be transferrable or explicitly spoken; c) that it reduces editing mistakes at the map post-processing stage because participants draw their sketches in the digital tool using a high-resolution satellite image as a reference instead of the traditional community mapping method, which uses markers and paper during the map-creation process.
Future work aim to advance the current version of OGITO considering the feedback collected during the usability evaluation. Also, we will include analytical functionality, as the current version excluded calculation functions that were not demanded by the users.