All Topics

DM-01 - Spatial Database Management Systems

A spatial database management system (SDBMS) is an extension, some might say specialization, of a conventional database management system (DBMS).  Every DBMS (hence SDBMS) uses a data model specification as a formalism for software design, and establishing rigor in data management.  Three components compose a data model, 1) constructs developed using data types which form data structures that describe data, 2) operations that process data structures that manipulate data, and 3) rules that establish the veracity of the structures and/or operations for validating data.  Basic data types such as integers and/or real numbers are extended into spatial data types such as points, polylines and polygons in spatial data structures.  Operations constitute capabilities that manipulate the data structures, and as such when sequenced into operational workflows in specific ways generate information from data; one might say that new relationships constitute the information from data.  Different data model designs result in different combinations of structures, operations, and rules, which combine into various SDBMS products.  The products differ based upon the underlying data model, and these data models enable and constrain the ability to store and manipulate data. Different SDBMS implementations support configurations for different user environments, including single-user and multi-user environments.  

GS-25 - Spatial Decision Support

It has been estimated that 80% of all datasets include geographic references. Since these data often factor into preparing important decisions, we can assume that a significant proportion of all decisions have a geospatial aspect to them. Therefore, spatial decision support is an intrinsic component of societal decision-making. It is thus necessary for current and aspiring analysts, and for decision-makers and other stakeholders, to understand the fundamental concepts, techniques, and challenges of spatial decision support. This GIS&T topic explores the unique nature and basic concepts of spatial decision support, discusses the relationship between Spatial Decision Support Systems (SDSS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and briefly introduces Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) as a decision support technique. The impact of Web-based and mobile information technology, ever-increasing accessibility of geospatial data, and participatory approaches to decision-making are touched upon and additional resources for further reading provided.

DM-66 - Spatial Indexing

A spatial index is a data structure that allows for accessing a spatial object efficiently. It is a common technique used by spatial databases.  Without indexing, any search for a feature would require a "sequential scan" of every record in the database, resulting in much longer processing time. In a spatial index construction process, the minimum bounding rectangle serves as an object approximation. Various types of spatial indices across commercial and open-source databases yield measurable performance differences. Spatial indexing techniques are playing a central role in time-critical applications and the manipulation of spatial big data.

AM-10 - Spatial Interaction

Spatial interaction (SI) is a fundamental concept in the GIScience literature, and may be defined in numerous ways. SI often describes the "flow" of individuals, commodities, capital, and information over (geographic) space resulting from a decision process. Alternatively, SI is sometimes used to refer to the influence of spatial proximity of places on the intensity of relations between those places. SI modeling as a separate research endeavor developed out of a need to mathematically model and understand the underlying determinants of these flows/influences. Proponents of SI modeling include economic geographers, regional scientists, and regional planners, as well as climate scientists, physicists, animal ecologists, and even some biophysical/environmental researchers. Originally developed from theories of interacting particles and gravitational forces in physics, SI modeling has developed through a series of refinements in terms of functional form, conceptual representations of distances, as well as a range of analytically rigorous technical improvements.

CP-07 - Spatial MapReduce

MapReduce has become a popular programming paradigm for distributed processing platforms. It exposes an abstraction of two functions, map and reduce, which users can define to implement a myriad of operations. Once the two functions are defined, a MapReduce framework will automatically apply them in parallel to billions of records and over hundreds of machines. Users in different domains are adopting MapReduce as a simple solution for big data processing due to its flexibility and efficiency. This article explains the MapReduce programming paradigm, focusing on its applications in processing big spatial data. First, it gives a background on MapReduce as a programming paradigm and describes how a MapReduce framework executes it efficiently at scale. Then, it details the implementation of two fundamental spatial operations, namely, spatial range query and spatial join. Finally, it gives an overview of spatial indexing in MapReduce systems and how they can be combined with MapReduce processing.

FC-13 - Spatial Queries

Spatial query is a crucial GIS capability that distinguishes GIS from other graphic information systems. It refers to the search for spatial features based on their spatial relations with other features. This article introduces a spatial query's essential components, including target feature(s), reference feature(s), and the spatial relation between them.  The spatial relation is the core component in a spatial query. The document introduces the three types of spatial relations in GIS: proximity relations, topological relations, and direction relations, along with query examples to show the translation of spatial problems to spatial queries based on each type of relations. It then discusses the characteristics of the reasoning process for each type of spatial relations. Except for topological relations, the other two types of spatial relations can be measured either quantitatively as metric values or qualitatively as verbal expressions. Finally, the general approaches to carrying out spatial queries are summarized. Depending on the availability of built-in query functions and the unique nature of a query, a user can conduct the query by using built-in functions in a GIS program, writing and executing SQL statements in a spatial database, or using customized query tools.

PD-18 - SpatialMPI: Message Passing Interface for GIS Applications

MPI (Message Passing Interface) is a widely used message passing library for writing parallel programs. The goal of MPI is to establish a portable, efficient, and flexible standard for message passing that will be widely used for writing message passing programs. This chapter motivates the need for using MPI for implementing GIS applications and introduces MPI data types and communication functions. Then, it presents new spatial data types and operations on them using MPI. Finally, it presents pseudocode for parallelizing a range query problem and spatial domain decomposition in GIS.

CV-17 - Spatiotemporal Representation

Space and time are integral components of geographic information. There are many ways in which to conceptualize space and time in the geographic realm that stem from time geography research in the 1960s. Cartographers and geovisualization experts alike have grappled with how to represent spatiotemporal data visually. Four broad types of mapping techniques allow for a variety of representations of spatiotemporal data: (1) single static maps, (2) multiple static maps, (3) single dynamic maps, and (4) multiple dynamic maps. The advantages and limitations of these static and dynamic methods are discussed in this entry. For cartographers, identifying the audience and purpose, medium, available data, and available time to design the map are vital aspects to deciding between the different spatiotemporal mapping techniques. However, each of these different mapping techniques offers its own advantages and disadvantages to the cartographer and the map reader. This entry focuses on the mapping of time and spatiotemporal data, the types of time, current methods of mapping, and the advantages and limitations of representing spatiotemporal data.

PD-17 - SQL Languages for GIS

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a declarative programming language that is closely linked to the relational database model. It is an accessible and widely adopted language used for query, data modification, and data definition—that is, defining data structures (tables) and other database objects. Important additions to the SQL standard include SQL/PSM, which adds control flow, local variables, and other procedural language features; and SQL/MM Part 3, which adds spatial support. Many complex geoprocessing workflows typically implemented in desktop GIS or scripting languages can easily be implemented in spatial SQL.

CV-05 - Statistical Mapping (Enumeration, Normalization, Classification)

Proper communication of spatial distributions, trends, and patterns in data is an important component of a cartographers work. Geospatial data is often large and complex, and due to inherent limitations of size, scalability, and sensitivity, cartographers are often required to work with data that is abstracted, aggregated, or simplified from its original form. Working with data in this manner serves to clarify cartographic messages, expedite design decisions, and assist in developing narratives, but it also introduces a degree of abstraction and subjectivity in the map that can make it easy to infer false messages from the data and ultimately can mislead map readers. This entry introduces the core topics of statistical mapping around cartography. First, we define enumeration and the aggregation of data to units of enumeration. Next, we introduce the importance of data normalization (or standardization) to more truthfully communicate cartographically and, lastly, discuss common methods of data classification and how cartographers bin data into groups that simplify communication.