South Africa is faced with numerous socioeconomic problems, such as poverty and resource depletion. Sustainable planning is of great importance to ensure that the necessary resources are available for future generations. However, research has suggested that South African planners do not have the necessary level of map literacy and that new geovisualizations may be required. The goal of this paper is to present preliminary results of comparative experiments to evaluate map literacy of planners in 2D maps and 3D models in South Africa. In these experiments, participants performed equally well when exposed to 2D maps and 3D models. These preliminary results were used to inform the conceptual design of an experiment to evaluate map literacy of users with 2D maps and 3D models. The new experiment was developed using a mixed factorial design and aims to address the challenges identified in the preliminary results. The implementation and execution of the new experiment design will contribute to understanding the strengths and limitations of 3D geovisualization for planning in South Africa. Results will inform guidelines for the appropriate use of these non-traditional technologies for development planning.