Advances in Spatial Databases

Volume 692 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 277-295


A small set of formal topological relationships suitable for end-user interaction

  • Eliseo ClementiniAffiliated withDipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica, Università di L'Aquila
  • , Paolino Di FeliceAffiliated withDipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica, Università di L'Aquila
  • , Peter van OosteromAffiliated withTNO Physics and Electronics Laboratory

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Topological relationships between spatial objects represent important knowledge that users of geographic information systems expect to retrieve from a spatial database. A difficult task is to assign precise semantics to user queries involving concepts such as “crosses”, “is inside”, “is adjacent”. In this paper, we present two methods for describing topological relationships. The first method is an extension of the geometric point-set approach by taking the dimension of the intersections into account. This results in a very large number of different topological relationships for point, line, and area features. In the second method, which aims to be more suitable for humans, we propose to group all possible cases into a few meaningful topological relationships and we discuss their exclusiveness and completeness with respect to the point-set approach.