1 Introduction to GIS 1 Introduction to GIS Dr F. Escobar, Assoc Prof G. Hunter, Assoc Prof I. Bishop, Dr A. Zerger Department of Geomatics, The University of Melbourne Introduction to GIS... 1 INTRODUCTION... 2 Definition of GIS... 2 GIS applications... 3 Geospatial data... 3 data for GIS applications... 4 digital representation of geospatial data... 4 VECTOR BASED GIS... 4 general definitions... 4 Vector representation of data... 5 vector models... 5 data bases... 9 RASTER BASED GIS raster representation of data grid size and resolution raster data structures advantages/disadvantages of raster and vector data models data capture rasterisation of vector data raster to vector conversion REFERENCES... 13
2 Introduction to GIS 2 Introduction Definition of GIS Like the field of geography, the term Geographic Information System (GIS) is hard to define. It represents the integration of many subject areas. Accordingly there us no absolutely agreed upon definition of a GIS (demers, 1997). A broadly accepted definition of GIS is the one provided by the National Centre of Geographic Information and Analysis: a GIS is a system of hardware, software and procedures to facilitate the management, manipulation, analysis, modelling, representation and display of georeferenced data to solve complex problems regarding planning and management of resources (NCGIA, 1990) Geographic information systems have emerged in the last decade as an essential tool for urban and resource planning and management. Their capacity to store, retrieve, analyse, model and map large areas with huge volumes of spatial data has led to an extraordinary proliferation of applications. Geographic information systems are now used for land use planning, utilities management, ecosystems modelling, landscape assessment and planning, transportation and infrastructure planning, market analysis, visual impact analysis, facilities management, tax assessment, real estate analysis and many other applications. Functions of GIS include: data entry, data display, data management, information retrieval and analysis. A more comprehensive and easy way to define GIS is the one that looks at the disposition, in layers (Figure 1), of its data sets. "Group of maps of the same portion of the territory, where a given location has the same coordinates in all the maps included in the system". This way, it is possible to analyse its thematic and spatial characteristics to obtain a better knowledge of this zone.
3 Introduction to GIS 3 Figure. 1. The concept of layers (ESRI) GIS applications mapping locations: GIS can be used to map locations. GIS allows the creation of maps through automated mapping, data capture, and surveying analysis tools. mapping quantities: People map quantities, like where the most and least are, to find places that meet their criteria and take action, or to see the relationships between places. This gives an additional level of information beyond simply mapping the locations of features. mapping densities: While you can see concentrations by simply mapping the locations of features, in areas with many features it may be difficult to see which areas have a higher concentration than others. A density map lets you measure the number of features using a uniform areal unit, such as acres or square miles, so you can clearly see the distribution. finding distances: GIS can be used to find out what's occurring within a set distance of a feature. mapping and monitoring change: GIS can be used to map the change in an area to anticipate future conditions, decide on a course of action, or to evaluate the results of an action or policy. Geospatial data Geospatial data has both spatial and thematic components. Conceptually, geographic data can be broken up in two elements: observation or entity and attribute or variable. GIS have to be able to manage both elements. Spatial component: The observations have two aspects in its localisation: absolute localisation based in a coordinates system and topological relationship referred to other observations. Example: The Department of Geomatics is located at the particular coordinate X,Y, or, The Department is
4 Introduction to GIS 4 located between Grattan Street and Old Engineering Building. A GIS is able to manage both while computer assisted cartography packages only manage the absolute one. Thematic component: The variables or attributes can be studied considering the thematic aspect (statistics), the locational aspect (spatial analysis) or both (GIS). data for GIS applications data for GIS applications includes: o digitised and scanned data o databases o GPS field sampling of attributes o remote sensing and aerial photography digital representation of geospatial data The advantages of digital versus analogue data are outlined in the table below: digital easy to update easy and quick transfer (e.g. via internet) storage space required is relatively small (digital devices) easy to maintain easy automated analysis analogue whole map to be remade slow transfer (e.g. via post) large storage space required (e.g. traditional map libraries) paper maps disintegrate over time difficult and inaccurate to analyse (e.g. to measure areas and distances) Vector based GIS general definitions Vector is a data structure, used to store spatial data. Vector data is comprised of lines or arcs, defined by beginning and end points, which meet at nodes. The locations of these nodes and the topological structure are usually stored explicitly. Features are defined by their boundaries only and curved lines are represented as a series of connecting arcs. Vector storage involves the storage of explicit topology, which raises overheads, however it only stores those points which define a feature and all space outside these features is 'non-existent'. A vector based GIS is defined by the vectorial representation of its geographic data. According with the characteristics of this data model, geographic objects are explicitly represented and, within the spatial characteristics, the thematic aspects are associated. There are different ways of organising this double data base (spatial and thematic). Usually, vectorial systems are composed of two components: the one that manages spatial data and the one that manages thematic data. This is the named hybrid organisation system, as it links a relational data base for the attributes with a topological one for the spatial data. A key element in these kind of systems is the identifier of every object. This identifier is unique and different for each object and allows the system to connect both data bases.
5 Introduction to GIS 5 Figure 4.Vector representation Vector representation of data In the vector based model (figure 4), geospatial data is represented in the form of co-ordinates. In vector data, the basic units of spatial information are points, lines (arcs) and polygons. Each of these units is composed simply as a series of one or more co-ordinate points, for example, a line is a collection of related points, and a polygon is a collection of related lines. co-ordinate Pairs of numbers expressing horizontal distances along orthogonal axes, or triplets of numbers measuring horizontal and vertical distances, or n-numbers along n-axes expressing a precise location in n-dimensional space. Co-ordinates generally represent locations on the earth's surface relative to other locations. point A zero-dimensional abstraction of an object represented by a single X,Y co-ordinate. A point normally represents a geographic feature too small to be displayed as a line or area; for example, the location of a building location on a small-scale map, or the location of a service cover on a medium scale map. line A set of ordered co-ordinates that represent the shape of geographic features too narrow to be displayed as an area at the given scale (contours, street centrelines, or streams), or linear features with no area (county boundary lines). A lines is synonymous with an arc. arc An ARC/INFO term that is used synonymously with line. polygon A feature used to represent areas. A polygon is defined by the lines that make up its boundary and a point inside its boundary for identification. Polygons have attributes that describe the geographic feature they represent. vector models There are different models to store and manage vector information. Each of them has different advantages and disadvantages. o list of coordinates "spaghetti" (figure 5) o vertex dictionary (figure 6) o Dual Independent Map Encoding (DIME) (figure 7) o arc / node (figure 8)
6 Introduction to GIS 6 Figure 5. List of coordinates "spaghetti" o simple o easy to manage o no topology o lots of duplication, hence need for large storage space o very often used in CAC (computer assisted cartography
7 Introduction to GIS 7 Figure 6. Vertex dictionary?? no duplication, but still this model does not use topology Figure 7. Dual Independent Map Encoding (DIME) format o developed by US Bureau of the Census o nodes (intersections of lines) are identified with codes o assigns a directional code in the form of a "from node" and a "to node" o both street addresses and UTM coordinates are explicitly defined for each link
8 Introduction to GIS 8
9 Introduction to GIS 9 File 1. Coordinates of nodes and vertex for all the arcs ARC F_node Vertex T_node 1 3.2, 5.2 1, 5.2 1,3 2 1,3 1.8, ,3 3.3,4 3.2, ,2 3.5,2 4.2, ,2.7 File 2. Arcs topology ARC F_node T_node R_poly L_poly External A A External External External File 3. Polygons topology Polygon Arcs A 1, 2 File 4. Nodes topology Node Arcs 1 1,2 2 1, Figure 8. ARC / NODE structure or POLYVRT data bases The elements in a vector based GIS are then the DBMS (Data Base Management System) for the attributes and the system that manages the topological data. In some GIS packages, the DBMS is based in an existing software, i.e. dbase. entity-relation model Three elements are considered in this approach: (a) Entities as the relevant objects for the data base. In a GIS, an entity is any fact that can be localised spatially. (b) Attributes or characteristics attached to the entities. Each attribute has a limited domain of possible values, i.e. the quality of a road can be bad, average, good, very good. (c) Relations or mechanisms that allow to relate entities. Some examples are: located in, contained in, crossed with, etc. DBMS
10 Introduction to GIS 10 The data bases used in GIS are most commonly relational. Nevertheless, Object Oriented data bases are progressively incorporated. relational data bases In a relational data base, data is stored in tables where rows represent the objects or entities and columns the attributes or variables. A data base is usually composed of several tables and the relations between them is possible through a common identifier that is unique for each entity. Most of the relational data bases in GIS present two variables with identifiers; one of them is unique and correlative, it could be numeric or alphabetic, and the second one might be repeated and helps to organise the attribute table. The advantages of using this kind of data base are: o The design is based in a methodology with heavy theoretical basis, which offers confidence in its capacity to evolve. o It is very easy to implement it, specially in comparison with other models such as hierarchical, network, and object oriented. o It is very flexible. New tables can be appended easily. o Finally, many powerful DBMS using this approach contains query languages (like SQL) which makes easy to include this tool in a GIS. Thus, some commercialised GIS packages include a DBMS pre- existent. object oriented data bases Based on objects, it can be defined as an entity with a localisation represented by values and by a group of operations. Thus, the advantage in comparison with relational data bases is based on the inclusion, in the definition of an object, not only its attributes but also the methods or operations that act on this object. In addition, the objects belong to classes that can have their own variables and these classes can belong to super-classes. Raster based GIS raster representation of data Raster is a method for the storage, processing and display of spatial data. Each area is divided into rows and columns, which form a regular grid structure. Each cell must be rectangular in shape, but not necessarily square. Each cell within this matrix contains location co-ordinates as well as an attribute value. The spatial location of each cell is implicitly contained within the ordering of the matrix, unlike a vector structure which stores topology explicitly. Areas containing the same attribute value are recognised as such, however, raster structures cannot identify the boundaries of such areas as polygons. Raster data is an abstraction of the real world where spatial data is expressed as a matrix of cells or pixels (see figure 9), with spatial position implicit in the ordering of the pixels. With the raster data model, spatial data is not continuous but divided into discrete units. This makes raster data particularly suitable for certain types of spatial operation, for example overlays or area calculations. Raster structures may lead to increased storage in certain situations, since they store each cell in the matrix regardless of whether it is a feature or simply 'empty' space. grid size and resolution A pixel is the contraction of the words picture element. Commonly used in remote sensing to describe each unit in an image. In raster GIS the pixel equivalent is usually referred to as a cell element or grid cell. Pixel/cell refers to the smallest unit of information available in an image or raster map. This is the smallest element of a display device that can be independently assigned attributes such as colour. Pixel size and number of rows and columns: "The size of the pixel must be half of the smallest distance to be represented" Star and Estes (1990) raster data structures exhaustive enumeration
11 Introduction to GIS 11 (figure 9) In this data structure every pixel is given a single value, hence there is no compression when many like values are encountered. run-length encoding (figure 10) This is a raster image compression technique. If a raster contains groups of cells with identical values, run length encoding can compress storage. Instead of storing each cell, each component stores a value and a count of cells with that value. If there is only one cell the storage doubles, but for three or more cells there is a reduction. The longer and more frequent the consecutive values are, the greater the compression that will be achieved. This technique is particularly useful for encoding monochrome images or binary images (Chrisman, 1997). Figure 9. Exhaustive representation
12 Introduction to GIS 12 Figure 10. Run-length encoding advantages/disadvantages of raster and vector data models raster precision in graphics traditional cartography data volume topology computation update continuous space integration discontinuous vector data capture Data capture for raster datasets can include: Remote Sensing Manual digitisation: o Points o Lines o Polygons Automatic digitisation Scanning rasterisation of vector data The process of converting vector data, which is a series of points, lines and polygons, into raster data, which is a series of cells each with a discrete value. This process is essentially easier than the reverse process, which is converting data from raster format to vector format. raster to vector conversion The process of converting an image made up of raster cells into one described by vector data. This may or may not involve the encoding of topology.
13 Introduction to GIS 13 references Berhardsen, T. (1992) Geographic Information Systems. Viak IT/Norwegian Mapping Authority, Arendal, Norway. Berhardsen, T. (1996) Geographic Information Systems. Halsted Press. Bernhardsen, T. (1999) Geographic information systems : an introduction. Wiley, New York. Chrisman, N.R. (1997) Exploring Geographic Information Systems. John Wiley and Sons. demers, M.N. (1997) Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems. John Wiley and Sons. Huxhold, W.E. (1991) An Introduction to Urban Information Systems. New York, OUP. Laurini, R. and Thompson, D. (1992) Fundamentals of Spatial Information Systems. London, Academy Press. Maguire, D.J., Goodchild, M.F. and Rhind, D.W. (eds.) (1991) Geographical Information Systems: Principles and Applications. Avon, Longman Scientific and Technical. Martin, D. (1991) Geographical Information Systems and their Socioeconomic Applications. London, Routledge. Peuquet, D.J. and Marble, D.F. (eds.) (1990) Introductory Readings in Geographic Information Systems. London, Taylor and Francis. Star, J. and Estes, J. (1990) Geographical Information Systems: An Introduction. Englewoods Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice Hall.
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