Visualisation of quality information for geospatial and remote sensing data
: providing the GIS community with the decision support tools for geospatial dataset quality evaluation

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The evaluation of geospatial data quality and trustworthiness presents a major challenge to geospatial data users when making a dataset selection decision. The research presented here therefore focused on defining and developing a GEO label – a decision support mechanism to assist data users in efficient and effective geospatial dataset selection on the basis of quality, trustworthiness and fitness for use. This thesis thus presents six phases of research and development conducted to: (a) identify the informational aspects upon which users rely when assessing geospatial dataset quality and trustworthiness; (2) elicit initial user views on the GEO label role in supporting dataset comparison and selection; (3) evaluate prototype label visualisations; (4) develop a Web service to support GEO label generation; (5) develop a prototype GEO label-based dataset discovery and intercomparison decision support tool; and (6) evaluate the prototype tool in a controlled human-subject study.
    The results of the studies revealed, and subsequently confirmed, eight geospatial data informational aspects that were considered important by users when evaluating geospatial dataset quality and trustworthiness, namely: producer information, producer comments, lineage information, compliance with standards, quantitative quality information, user feedback, expert reviews, and citations information. Following an iterative user-centred design (UCD) approach, it was established that the GEO label should visually summarise availability and allow interrogation of these key informational aspects. A Web service was developed to support generation of dynamic GEO label representations and integrated into a number of real-world GIS applications. The service was also utilised in the development of the GEO LINC tool – a GEO label-based dataset discovery and intercomparison decision support tool. The results of the final evaluation study indicated that (a) the GEO label effectively communicates the availability of dataset quality and trustworthiness information and (b) GEO LINC successfully facilitates ‘at a glance’ dataset intercomparison and fitness for purpose-based dataset selection.
    Date of Award18 May 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJoanna M Lumsden (Supervisor) & Lucy Bastin (Supervisor)


    • geospatial data quality and trust indicators
    • fitness for use
    • user-centred design
    • quality labelling
    • decision support systems

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