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Tessellation of Geographical Space

Geographic Information System Lecture 6


GIS Data Model: Raster Data Structures

Geographical space can be tessellated into sets of connected discrete units, which completely cover a flat surface. The units can be in any reasonable geometric shape, either regular or irregular. Regular tessellations include squares, rectangles, hexagons, equilateral triangles, etc.

Tessellation of Geographical Space


Regular tessellations include squares, rectangles, hexagons, equilateral triangles, etc. Properties: self-similarity, packing, equality of sides, number of neighbors, stability for orientation and aggregation, easiness of indexing, etc The squares have valuable conditions: equality of sides, decomposability, stability for orientation and aggregation. Therefore, squares dominate the regular tessellations for representing spatial information.

Grid Cell/Square based Raster Model


Dividing space into discrete uniform units-square cells, namely a cellular model of geometry. Location is inherent in the storage structure, namely, implied by row and column number of the grid cell rather than through the use of explicit spatial coordinates.

Grid Cell/Square based Raster Model


Raster data structure does not provide precise locational information. Two-dimensional array of grid cells is called a layer, a grid, or an image in different contexts. Each layer of raster data is often used to represent a particular topic (theme).

Grid Cell/Square based Raster Model

Grid Cell/Square based Raster Model

Encoding Grid Cell Value


Centroid method Each cell is assigned the value of the feature that passes through the center of the cell. Predominant type Each cell is assigned the value of the feature that fills the majority of the cell. Most important type Each cell is assigned the value associated with the features that have been specified as more important to the study.

Grid extent

Rows

Grid cell

Resolution

General Rules for Selection of Grid Cell Size (resolution)


The cell must be small enough to capture the required detail. A larger cell size can be used for a more homogenous region, while a small cell size is required for heterogeneous region. Reducing the grid cell size to half the current size will increase the data volume four times. Quantification precision (accuracy) of grid cell value also influences the data volume.

General Rules for Selection of Grid Cell Size (resolution)


Whittaker-Shannon Sampling Theorem:
According to Whitteker-Shannon sampling theorem, the cell size must be smaller than half of the minimum feature (minimum map units) that you intend to represent. The commonly suggested cell size is 1/5 - 1/7 of the minimum feature to be captured.

Raster data format


Two-dimensional array of cell values; Data file type: ASCII vs. binary; The depth of cell values: integer vs. real/float, one byte vs. two bytes Two parts: data section (file) and header section (file)

Raster data format


Header file Include information about row and column number, the depth of each cell. All generalpurpose raster files have these information in header records. Geo-referencong information: cell size, the x,y coordinates of lower left or upper left cell. Map projection are also included in an independent header file, metadata file, or in header records. Metadata: a set of summary information about the data, data about data.

Data sources
Cell by cell entry Flat bed scanner Drum scanner: DPI, File size Remote sensing data: Aerial photographs, Satellite images (LANDSAT, SPOT, AVHRR, ERS-1 SAR, JERS-1 SAR, Radarsat-1, etc.) Digital Elevation Models

Raster data compression


Cell-by-cell Array If each cell has a unique value, there is no way to compress the information. Usually true for float-point continuous surface data. Data Compression: Invertible (lossless): the original data are reproduced exactly upon decompression; Lossy compression: some algorithms offer greater compression factors, but cannot exactly reproduce the original data when decompressed.

Advantages of Vector Model


Spatial objects are represented based on precise x, y coordinates, and therefore measurements of area, perimeter and distance, and graphic representation are more accurate and precise. Data structure is more compact and less redundant, and thus less demanding for data storage. Besides geometric properties, topological relationships between spatial objects can be explicitly encoded and stored.

Advantages of Vector Model


Support a wide variety of advanced, topologybased analyses and well suited for representing and modeling linear features and network, such as, address geocoding, path-tracing, pavement management, bus routing, emergency response planning, pipeline planning, sales analysis and wildlife management. Encoded topological relationships facilitate error checking in vector database. Easy to do visual overlay analysis. Multiple vector layers can be overlaid together, or draped on top of raster data.

Limitations of Vector Model


Complex data structure, and time-intensive data acquisition and input. Computationally intensive and complicated for some spatial operations, such as overlay, calculation of area, neighborhood analysis, etc. Not suitable for representing a gradual change (transition zone) between adjacent units. Many physical characteristics such as soil and vegetation types vary and have fuzzy borders.

Limitations of Vector Model


Not suitable for representing continuous surface like terrain. Surface metric properties, like slope aspects, curvature, cannot be easily calculated from contour representation. Incompatible with digital image data. Manipulation and enhancement of remote sensing data are difficult in a vector-based GIS system.

Advantages of Raster Model


Simple and straightforward data structuresmatrix-like 2D array. The easiest format to be dealt with Fortran, C, and other computer languages. Not only support the discrete (categorical) objects but also continuous geographical features. Highly varying surface like terrain can be effectively and efficiently represented in a raster format.

Advantages of Raster Model


Computationally efficient in some types of quantitative analysis: map overlay, map algebra, surface modeling and simulation, such as cut-fill analysis, visibility and siting, watershed modeling, slope and aspect calculation, and three-dimensional display. Compatible to remotely sensed data and photogrammetric data. Traditional digital image processing techniques can be introduced for the manipulations of cell-based raster data. Compatible to modern high speed graphic input and output devices.

Disadvantages of Raster Model


Unable to explicitly representing the topological relations, therefore does NOT support network type of analysis. Data redundancy in homogenous areas and corresponding large volume of data. Limited accuracy of location and corresponding area and distance measurements. The resolution and accuracy depends on the size of the grid cells. The output of graphics is less aesthetically pleasing because irregular lines and boundaries tend to be a blocky, jagged, stair-case like appearance rather than the smooth lines.

Integration of Vector and Raster Data Structures Most full-featured GIS systems allow a mix of raster & vector data structures. ArcGIS fully support both vector (point, line, polygon, region, route coverages, TIN, CAD drawings) and raster (grids, lattices, images). By adopting a common map projection and scale, and adjusting coordinates, each data model can be georeferenced onto a common coordinate system, leading to a single consistent geographic database.

Integration of Vector and Raster Data Structures The integration provides greater flexibility for analyzing and displaying data. This allows for selecting the optimum data model for representing a particular aspect of the Earth.

Conversion between Vector & Raster Data Structures


Often necessary to able to change from one basic data structure to another. Some information/data may be lost during conversions. Converted data will not be more accurate than original data. Vector to raster (rasterization): rasterizing points, lines, or polygons is relatively easy. Raster to vector (vectorization): vectorizing scanned map sheets and classified map imagery into vector data is much more complicated and difficult.

Conversion between Vector & Raster Data Structures Vectorization (R2V)


Line thinning (skeletonization) The process of reducing the thick map lines in the raw grid cells to unit thickness at a given resolution. Maintain the connectivity of the original lines. Retain the endpoints of the original lines Find the true midpoint of the line without directional bias (medial axis). Find accurate line representations at thick line junctions. Line extraction

Conversion between Vector & Raster Data Structures Vectorization (R2V)


Line thinning (skeletonization) Line extraction The process of identifying a particular series of map coordinates that constitute the individual line segments on original input document. Line following and tracking algorithms are required.

Conversion between Vector & Raster Data Structures

TIN Triangulated Irregular Network


Triangulated Irregular Network The major problem of vector data structure is the representation of continuous surface model such as elevation, precipitation, etc. TIN is a mass-point dataset with lines linking the points and constructing triangles

TIN

Construct a TIN
Provide or identify sample points to represent the surface Connect the points into triangles Interpolate the values within each triangle

Linking the Points - Delaunay Triangulation


Delaunay Triangulation rule: No points are located inside the circumcircle of the any triangle Delaunay triangulation is a proximal method that satisfies the requirement that a circle drawn through the three nodes of a triangle will contain no other node

TIN vs GRID
Advantages of TIN
Ability to describe the surface at different level of resolution Efficiency in storing data

Disadvantages of TIN
In many cases require visual inspection and manual control of the network

TIN vs GRID
Advantages of GRID
Easy to store and manipulate Easy integration with raster databases Smoother, more natural appearance of derived terrain features

Disadvantages of GRID
Inability to use various grid sizes to reflect areas of different complexity of relief.

End of Lecture 6