You can see that the number and diversity of potential information products from a GIS are almost unlimited. These products, however, are useless if they don’t fill a need or if they are inappropriate for their intended audience. The song, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” by Arlo Guthrie contains the line: “. . . and the judge [with the seeing-eye dog] wasn’t going to look at the twenty-seven 8 by 10 color glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. . .”
Design of an information product must, of course, proceed from an enlightened view of the data used to support it. Equally important, however, is a clear understanding of the needs of decision makers or administrators who will be using it.
1Probably said because the tools weren’t there to make high-quality maps and because it lets amateurs like the author, with all the artistic ability of a can of spray paint, make maps.
2Snow, C.P., 1961. Science and Government. London: Oxford University Press.
3This phenomenon is well known to those who use successive versions of software packages and see them become increasingly complex and difficult to learn and use. Nice, compact, simple programs become nightmares of complexity as bells and whistles are added. True improvements become obviated by changes in the graphical user interface. The problem is related to the need for corporations to bring out new versions that will make older versions obsolete—and hence create income for the businesses. ...