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Software Requirements: Participatory Process


 CyberGIS engages multidisciplinary communities through a participatory approach to evolving CyberGIS software requirements. We adopt the Open Process Framework ( that articulates multiple perspectives about engineering requirements as a way of organizing the requirements for CyberGIS software integration: 

  • Business requirements – the character of geospatial problem solving.
  • System requirements – capabilities to address geospatial problem solving.
  • Component requirements – software design for implementing capabilities.
  • Application requirements – packaging the components into solutions to address scientific problem solving requirements.

Both face-to-face and online approaches are part of the participatory community endeavor. Social media (e.g. eLearningLearning (eLearningLearning 2011)), participation platform (e.g. HUBZero:, and participatory GIS technology for structured participation will be combined and configured to support CyberGIS community-based artifact sharing in support of requirements engineering. Having evaluated the vast array of Unified Modeling Language (UML) artifacts as well as several others, Nyerges and Wu (Nyerges et al. 2006, Wu 2007), identified at least six types of artifacts needed to develop participatory GIS: use case narratives (business and application requirements), class diagrams (system and components requirements), activity function diagrams (systems requirements), architecture diagrams (systems and components requirements), mock-ups (application requirements), and prototypes (components and application requirements) which align with the four engineering requirements categories. Those six artifacts are what people need to develop a shared understanding of the content, structure, process, and context of system development and implementation models. The CyberGIS community effort will evolve through end-to-end artifact development starting with at least those six types of artifacts.

Participatory Process

The following steps describe the participatory process as it evolves and provide the CyberGIS community access to the artifacts that have been completed.

1. Collect and Synthesize Requirements through Web Survey

1.1 Collect Requirements - Web Survey

January 11-30, 2011

Researchers from the field of Emergency Management and CyberGIS project members and international collaborators completed an online requirements survey.

Survey Results [.xls]

1.2 Synthesize Web Survey Responses

February 1-14, 2011

The survey results were synthesized and presented in a live workshop in Washington, DC. Participants shared lightning talks to give voice to their unique perspectives.

Workshop Agenda [.doc], Synthesis Presentation [.ppt], Workshop Summary [.docx]

2. Collect and Synthesize Requirements through Use Cases

2.1 Collect Requirements - Use Cases

February 15-March 31, 2011

Workshop participants are invited to concretize their requirements through use cases by completing this survey. Your use case may fall into either of two categories (see the diagram on the right):

  1. Business Use Case, meant to answer the question of "what do you want to do?": The focus is the human element, how users interact with each other and the system to perform work.
  2. System Use Case, meant to answer the question of "how will it get done?": The focus is the system and interactions within the system itself while performing some work.

A selection of use cases by participants are listed below, categorized by the type of use case.

Emergency Management Business Use Cases

  1. Collaborative Brainstorming for Online Problem Solving, by Mary J. Roderick
  2. Setting Wildfire Evacuation Trigger Points, by Tom Cova and Phil Dennison
  3. Optimizing Sensor Location Network, by Piotr Jankowski

System Use Cases

  1. CyberInfrastructure-enabled Agent-Based Modeling (ABM), by Yan Liu
  2. User-provided Feedback on CyberGIS Gateway using Brainstorm Concerns Tool (BCT), by Michalis Avraam

The survey and results are available here

2.2 Synthesize Use Cases

April 1-May 15, 2011

The use cases will be structured to describe the application requirements. 

A draft document is ready, and is currently being evolved into an application/integration requirements synthesis.

Draft Use Case Synthesis [.docx]


3. Integrate Requirements

3.1 Integration of Application Requirements

May 16-June 30, 2011

3.2 Request for Comment

July 1 - July 15, 2011

3.3 Final Revisions

July 16 - July 13, 2011

3.4 Final Integration Requirements Paper

August 1, 2011

The results of the requirements survey and use cases will be combined to describe the application requirements.

File UCSynthesis_v20111013.docx83.7 KB