What Is GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS) is a technique developed for collection, storage, processing, analysis, management and presentation all types of geographical data. The keyword of this method is geography which means that some data is spatial — in other words, related to some places on earth.
The Geographic Information System is commonly used in various spheres of our life and business areas, including environment, resources, health and crime. Along with the rapid development of spatial science and technology, extensive spatial data, especially distantly sensed data, are available daily. It is impossible to handle these data manually. In order to apply those data to the full extend, it is necessary to find more effective ways for expanding.
Compared to other types of software products and applications, GIS solutions have their own specifics. To guarantee the quality of the Geographic Information System software and reduce development expenses, independent product verification should be carried out as an average part of the development process.
Ongoing studies show that there are no systematic approaches to testing GIS. There are also no common technological criteria for testing GIS, which makes the mission yet more complicated. Simultaneously, the range and opportunities of GIS apps has increased. Almost all mobile applications use some configuration of GIS localization and operation. As such functions are getting more integrated, GIS software products testing becomes increasingly crucial for the correct functioning, usability and security of the end product.

To ensure the quality of GIS software, it is worth considering:

Data Testing

The strongest advantage of an application is correctness and validity of spatial material. This is why the most part of testing procedure should be focused on this sort of information. During the analysis, pay special attention to the rules and limitations for providing figures, specific values and features of the structure of geodetic processing. Cyclic scheduled scripts are also required to ensure completion of testing process.

Testing Filters

Intelligent geodata filters are some of the most powerful features of GIS apps. This sector must be examined very carefully. GIS software products do not display all the information stored in database all at the same time. Check all types of filters (attributive and spatial) to verify their usefulness and certify the filtered data is accurate.

Performance Tests

What is the response time for working models? Various tests should be developed to evaluate the response of an app to a specific task. How long does it take to get the information on a map after entering the direction in the search field? How long does it take to show the location details after a user clicks the icon? These are different characteristics of GIS capabilities and they need to be validated by appropriate function tests. Traffic and usage levels should be also considered when conducting performance check up.

3D, AR and VR

Combining 3D modelling with virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) makes it easier for people to percept what they are seeing. As AR is becoming more common in applications for the phones, tablets and computers, more developers are starting to integrate GIS services and content for the real and very practical purposes.

3D, AR and VR technologies are the next big step in the GIS industry. For instance, let’s have a look at the project led by the Fraunhofer Institute, that is run by Esri Deutschland GmbH and named Morgenstadt - the City of Future. The project uses 3D and VR technology to predict, develop and implement innovations for the Cities of Tomorrow.

Esri's technology is used to create 3D urban models, a key planning tool for small and large cities that can be used with AR and VR to increase the transparency of the planning process. Simulating the spread of noise / pollution or areas exposed to the sun or shade helps to find sustainable solutions. The use of these models together with AR and VR opens up innovative opportunities for the city residents to participate and gain experience in present time.

Get Free Demo AR/VR Testing

Usability Testing of the GIS Technology

The sticking point is that usability assessment performed by testers in existant situation is quite complicated. Experimental user usability testing carried out by user representatives is the next opportunity. In this case, artificial surroundings are created in a laboratory, and the entire experiment must be precisely conducted and controlled. In all cases, usability testing method must be suggested and / or accurately adapted for the given situation and conditions.

Many different factors can affect usability, and many factors must be taken into account, making the design simpler and more convenient to use. Analytical models can help in both design and usability assessment because of complexity of the usability problem.

Task Models

Describe how actions can be performed to achieve user objectives using the application. Task models allow developers to illustrate both provided functions and interaction between the user and user interface. Thus, importance of task models has been widely recognized for a long time. All provided functions are usually not required and ignored by the majority of GIS users. The most commonly required functions are the following ones:



Search and identification features (i.e. data requests)



Saving and/or printing results (e.g. saving URLs, printing output maps)


Data visualisation

Basically, this involves zooming, panning and possibly turning the data layers on and off



Access to relevant data is a very important issue for the users because without data there is no need for an application. Today, data come from different sources, especially for complex tasks, e.g. urban planning. The data exchange system that includes metadata can be of great help

Get Free Demo AR/VR Testing

Usability assessment methods

Are a part of classic experimental technique. Available assessment procedures can be classified according to the various principles:All provided functions are usually not required and ignored by the majority of GIS users. The most commonly required functions are the following ones:


Empirical usability testing, usability examination, or inquiry


The need for the existence of an app, more precisely, the presence of user interface (an app has already been programmed or it is just planned)


Current stage of software development life cycle


Inclusion of real users or their representatives in usability testing


Testing in an artificial (experimental) environment or observing real users in their actual surroundings


The type of results obtained, i.e. quantitative or qualitative results

Many of the above listed criteria are closely related to each other. For example, it is rather difficult to attract real users when there is no user interface available.

Although GIS is a general term that refers to different applications with similar functionality, there are many entities in this field. Because of these units, the development of standardized testing policies becomes more complicated. If you want to ensure your GIS software product performance, you should determine the scope of capabilities and functionality first of all. Based on this information, you can select the correct assessment structure and test models to provide the optimal level of accuracy.

Our Clients Testimonials

More Solutions

Get Free Demo AR/VR Testing