With the rapid development of information technology, Geographic Information System (GIS) have been widely applied to almost all domains where geographic coordinates (or location) add information and value to the end user. The most common, started with Google maps where they recently have enabled even bicycle routes in beta. Almost all mobile apps where there is a location involved include a mapping or GIS function and these functions continue to become more and more integrated into the heart of the app. Additionally, the complexity of GIS software has continued to increase which has put pressure on software quality and reliability.

Compared with testing other types of software applications, GIS software testing has its own particular characteristics. Some of these considerations include:

  1. Search. Searching is very important for a GIS, so we need ensure that filters are automatically set to the current search criteria, and verify that when a user changes search criteria, the search result shows the appropriate map. For example, changing from New York City to New York State should enlarge the search results to the whole state.
  2. Mapping.We need to verify if correct results are displayed geographically; including different icons, names, legends, routes and colors. Some maps also have night mode and 3D mode as well. Sometimes, lakes or green areas may be displayed incorrectly in night mode.
  3. Compatibility. As GIS are always complex and contain many pictures, testers must test in different environments. Currently, many GIS also have mobile versions, and some behaviors for mobile platforms are different. For example, when we search on a keyword for a real estate locator on a mobile platform, the result list displays only the top 5 results, and displays 5 more results by scrolling down whereas the desktop version displays all results. When testing both platforms, we need to note the differences and make sure the overall experience is integrated on both platforms.

The above examples are only the beginning in accounting for the particular characteristics in designing GIS test cases. In summary, designing GIS test cases requires both domain knowledge in GIS and in the application’s domain.