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Copyright, © Qiming Zhou GEOG3600. Geographical Information Systems Representing the Real World

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2 Representation in GIS Objects and fields Raster and vector representation GIS and maps

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Representing the Real World3 Representation in GIS All human activities requires knowledge about the Earth. Past, present and future Representation occurs in human mind in photographs in spoken and written languages in numbers (i.e. measurements) Law of geography: everything relates to everything, but nearby things are more related than those far apart.

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Representing the Real World4 Example: representation in space and time Home City centre Dads work School Airport 06:00 10:00 14:00 18:00 22:00 Dad Mom Sister Brother

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Representing the Real World5 Representation Representation help us assemble more knowledge about the Earth than is possible on our own. e.g. maps Digital representation Every item of useful information is ultimately reduced by a GIS to combinations of 0s and 1s. Digital representation is simple with low costs.

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Representing the Real World6 Geographical representation Geographical representation is concerned with the Earths surface or near surface. The key representation issues are what to represent and how to represent it. Many plans for the real world can be tested on models or representations.

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Representing the Real World7 Geographical representation (cont.) Geographical data link place, time and attributes. Geographical attributes are classified as nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio. When enough atoms of geographical information are collected, a complete representation of the world can be built. Digital earth: to explore the world by interacting with its digital representation

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Representing the Real World8 But … The world is infinitely complex. Computer systems are finite. Representation is, therefore, all about the choices that are made in capturing knowledge about the world. Creating spatial models

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Representing the Real World9 The concept of spatial models The essential function of the spatial data we store and manipulate is to subdivide the Earths surface into meaningful entities or objects that can be characterised. In this way, the contents of a spatial database is a model of the Earth. Star and Estes, 1990, pp 32

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Representing the Real World10 Objects and fields The fundamental representation in geography: Discrete objects Fields Discrete object view represents the world as objects with well-defined boundaries in empty space. The field view represents the real world as a finite number of variables, each one defined at every possible position.

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Representing the Real World11 Example of objects Houses in a countryside are conceived as discrete objects with their clear boundaries and surrounding empty space.

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Representing the Real World12 Database entries of discrete objects House ID OwnerBuilt area (m 2 ) LocationYear built 12J. Smith21042:30:12 E 43:40:10 N K. Jones15542:35:40 E 43:38:12 N M. Robert34642:41:06 E 43:40:45 N Skyline Co.62242:37:38 E 43:36:55 N 1997

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Object representation in 2D Representing the Real World13

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Representing the Real World14 Field representation

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Representing the Real World15 Object or field?

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Representing the Real World16 Definition of river Object view: two-dimensional, discrete object in an empty geographic landscape. Field view: all points are either river or non- river. Fuzziness: the membership of river River

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Representing the Real World17 Membership of river Membership grade (%) Definition 0Always dry 25Sometimes flooded 50Wetland vegetation river band sediment 75Most time water flow with river bed sediment 100Always water flow

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Representing the Real World18 Abstraction of geographical entities Points: locations of, e.g., oil and water wells, bus stops, cities on a small scale map Lines: centre lines of, e.g., railways, highways, natural streams Polygons: enclosed regions such as reservoirs, lakes, local government areas Volumes: solid bodies such as building blocks, mine bodies, capacity of a reservoir Processes: changing bodies such as landslides, moving objects

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Representing the Real World19 Raster and vector models There are two fundamental approaches towards the representation of the spatial component of geographical information the raster and vector models. In both models, the spatial information is represented using finite, discrete homogeneous units. In the raster model, the homogeneous units are grid cells (or pixels). In the vector model, the homogeneous units are points, lines and polygons.

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Representing the Real World20 Raster and vector representations House River Pine Forest Eucalypts E P E H H Real World Raster RepresentationVector Representation

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Representing the Real World21 Vector to raster data conversion A B A B Presence/Absence (Points and Linear Features) Dominant Type (Areal Features) Percent Occurrence (Areal Features) Centroid of Cell (Areal Features) A B 1 2

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Representing the Real World22 The raster representation Divides the entire study area into a regular grid of cells Each cell contains a single value Is space-filling since every location in the study area corresponds to a cell in the raster

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Representing the Real World23 The raster coordinates X (column) Y (row)

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Representing the Real World24 Raster geographical database Topography Soil types Forest types Buildings Real world Soils

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Representing the Real World25 Resolution The minimum linear dimension of the smallest unit of geographical space for which data are recorded. In the raster model, the smallest units are rectangular (for most systems). The smallest units are known as cells or pixels. The array of cells is known as lattice, grid or matrix. High resolution refers to raster with small cells.

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Representing the Real World26 Orientation The angular difference between the direction depicted as true north and direction facing a designated upper edge of the cartographic plane. In raster systems, the orientation is defined as the angle between true north and the direction defined by the columns of the raster.

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Representing the Real World27 Resolution and orientation Australia New South Wales Victoria Queensland South Australia West Australia Tasmania Y X Northern Territory N

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Representing the Real World28 3-D representation Column number Row number

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Representing the Real World29 3-D surfaces Discrete surface (No slope between Grid Cells) Continuous surface (Continuous slope between Grid Cells)

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Representing the Real World30 The vector representation Based on vectors The fundamental primitive is points. Objects are created by connecting points with straight lines (or arcs). Areas are defined by sets of lines.

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Representing the Real World31 The Vector Coordinates 0 10 X Y X = 2 Y = 3 (2, 3) A (1, 7) (3, 6) (3, 4) (5, 3) (7, 10) (5, 7) (7, 5) (9, 5) (8, 7) (9, 8)

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A vector data layer Representing the Real World32

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Representing the Real World33 X-Y Coordinates node#coordinates x1, y1 x2, y2 x3, y3... x11, y11 Z Coordinates node#z_value z1... z2 z3 z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N EDGES adjacent A B C D E F G H I J K L M N B, K A, C, L B, D C, E, L D, F E, G F, H, M G, I H, J, N I, K A, J, N B, D, M G, L, N I, K, M NODES node# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N 1, 6, 7 1, 7, 8 1, 2, 8 2, 8, 9 2, 3, 9 3, 4, 9 4, 9, 10 4, 5, 10 5, 10, 11 5, 6, 11 6, 7, 11 7, 8, 9 7, 9, 10 7, 10, 11 Triangulated irregular network (TIN)

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3-D surfaces represented by TIN Representing the Real World34

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Representing the Real World35 Advantages: 1.It is a simple data structure. 2.Overlay operations are easily and efficiently implemented. 3.High spatial variability is efficiently represented in a raster format. 4.The raster format is more or less required for efficient manipulation and enhancement of digital images. Disadvantages: 1.The raster data structure is less compact. 2.Topological relationships are more difficult to represent. 3.The output of graphics is less aesthetically pleasing because boundaries tend to have a blocky appearance rather than the smooth lines of hand-drawn maps. This can be overcome by using a very large number of cells, but may result in unacceptably large files. Advantages: 1.It provides a more compact data structure than the raster model. 2.It provides efficient encoding of topology, and as a result, more efficient implementation of operations that require topological information, such as network analysis. 3.The vector model is better suited to supporting graphics that closely approximate hand-drawn maps. Disadvantages: 1.It is a more complex data structure than a simple raster. 2.Overlay operations are more difficult to implement. 3.The representation of high spatial variability is inefficient. 4.Manipulation and enhancement of digital images cannot be effectively done in the vector domain. Raster approachVector approach Comparison between raster and vector approaches

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Representing the Real World36 GIS and maps Paper maps is a source of data for geographical databases. A paper map is an analog product from GIS. A paper map is an effective communication tool. portable easy to use cheap to make mass production

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Representing the Real World37 Summary All geographical phenomena need to be represented in some way. There are two fundamental representation in geography – objects and fields. Geographical entities can be abstracted as points, lines, polygons, volumes and processes. Two approaches for representing the geographical entities are vector and raster representations.

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