A user friendly geographic information system for soil conservation planners : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Agricultural Science in Soil Science at Massey University
Soil conservation is an important activity for sustainable, productive landuse. To ensure sound effective soil conservation planning, the people who are involved in this activity - the planners and the decision makers - should know (among other things) how best to use a land resource inventory database, which has been stored in a computer. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to analyse such data is a technique which is being widely advocated. Unfortunately, most GIS computer programs are too difficult for the people like soil conservation planners who usually have little knowledge of computers. To help them understand GIS and then use GIS for their planning, a user friendly interface to the GIS was created. Two systems were created for the Pijiharjo sub-watershed, Indonesia; one with a popup menu, the other with a pulldown menu. Both interfaces were created using the SML (Simple Macro Language) command which is available under pc ARC/Info version 3.4D Plus. Although they looked different to the user, both used the same commands to execute the various operations. Once the initial design was completed, an evaluation was held to check whether the design was satisfactory from the user's point of view. The result of the evaluation showed that both systems were simple and easy to understand. However, there were some aspects that should be revised, such as the HELP facility. Similar databases from other areas could be analysed using these interfaces with the only requirement being a modification to the introductory remarks. Ideas for the future development of such systems are also discussed.