Articles | Volume 3
11 Jun 2022
 | 11 Jun 2022

Assemble geo-analytical questions through a Blockly-based natural language interface

Haiqi Xu, Enkhbold Nyamsuren, and Simon Scheider

Keywords: natural language interface, geo-analytical questions, google blockly, geographic question answering

Abstract. Natural language Interfaces (NLIs) have the ability to make Geographic Information Systems more accessible for interdisciplinary researchers or any inexperienced users. However, the majority of research on NLIs for GIS explored NLIs for visualization or spatial data retrieval. Research on NLIs for geo-analytical questions is still lacking. Google Blockly, an open-source JavaScript library, is frequently used for developing visual programming editors for young students learning programming languages. Students set up program functions by selecting and assembling the programming blocks and the Blockly system automatically translates the block stacks into different programming languages. Similarly, we present a Blockly-based interface that generates a question depending on the blocks the user has assembled. It can be seen that a Blockly-based interface not only naturally represents syntactic structures in geo-analytical questions but also well assists users in familiarizing the blocks and generating clear and complete questions. A comprehensive usability study is still necessary to better evaluate the interface’s performance.