Using Patterns to Build Geographic Information Systems

V. Vrsalovic and Y. Eterovic (Chile)


Software design; software patterns; pattern languages; geographic information systems.


Geographic information systems (GISs) are very useful tools. The feature that sets GISs apart from other data management systems is that users can to geographically relate information from various data sources, using visual user interfaces. But GISs are very difficult to develop. Their design and implementation involve decisions about how to maintain large amounts of data, how to support different reference systems and different views for the domain objects, and how to model an urban way system or environmental quality parameters. We propose that the software engineering pattern approach to domain analysis and software design can be very useful. In this paper, we do two things to support the process of developing GISs: (a) we submit two new patterns on the GISs domain; and (b) we show the relationships we have found among these patterns and a collection of already documented (but isolated) patterns, with the purpose of establishing a foundation for a pattern language on this domain. The new patterns deal with building GIS user interfaces over the WWW and maintaining large amounts of data. The pattern language classifies the patterns according to development activity (analysis, design) and system component (data, software, people).

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