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Geospatial data accessibility in Web 2.0 environments

Sara Helen McNamee
Major Professor: 
Suzie Allard
Committee Members: 
Lorraine F. Normore,
Bruce Wilson
May 2011

Abstract: Geographically referenced data is becoming a robust source of information because the use of place-based relevance searching is being employed as a popular form of information access and dispersal. To address this trend, the researcher conducted a study on the usability of the USA National Phenology Network (, engaging 6 volunteer participants structured usability test of the USANPN mapping application. The participants were asked to complete two tasks, and data was collected both during (in the form of a think aloud exercise) and after the test (in the form of an exit interview). From the data collected, the researcher aimed to identify common and serious usability issues using both quantitative usability metrics and the qualitative think aloud and interview data. This study was primarily directed at assessing the usability of a geospatial Web 2.0 application and identifying common user problems. The researcher concluded that the search functionality and general navigation options were the most pressing usability issues associated with using the USA National Phenology Website to contribute geospatial data.