The VLDB Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 21–39 | Cite as

Grid-partition index: a hybrid method for nearest-neighbor queries in wireless location-based services

  • Baihua Zheng
  • Jianliang Xu
  • Wang-Chien Lee
  • Dik Lun Lee
Regular Paper


Traditional nearest-neighbor (NN) search is based on two basic indexing approaches: object-based indexing and solution-based indexing. The former is constructed based on the locations of data objects: using some distance heuristics on object locations. The latter is built on a precomputed solution space. Thus, NN queries can be reduced to and processed as simple point queries in this solution space. Both approaches exhibit some disadvantages, especially when employed for wireless data broadcast in mobile computing environments.

In this paper, we introduce a new index method, called the grid-partition index, to support NN search in both on-demand access and periodic broadcast modes of mobile computing. The grid-partition index is constructed based on the Voronoi diagram, i.e., the solution space of NN queries. However, it has two distinctive characteristics. First, it divides the solution space into grid cells such that a query point can be efficiently mapped into a grid cell around which the nearest object is located. This significantly reduces the search space. Second, the grid-partition index stores the objects that are potential NNs of any query falling within the cell. The storage of objects, instead of the Voronoi cells, makes the grid-partition index a hybrid of the solution-based and object-based approaches. As a result, it achieves a much more compact representation than the pure solution-based approach and avoids backtracked traversals required in the typical object-based approach, thus realizing the advantages of both approaches.

We develop an incremental construction algorithm to address the issue of object update. In addition, we present a cost model to approximate the search cost of different grid partitioning schemes. The performances of the grid-partition index and existing indexes are evaluated using both synthetic and real data. The results show that, overall, the grid-partition index significantly outperforms object-based indexes and solution-based indexes. Furthermore, we extend the grid-partition index to support continuous-nearest-neighbor search. Both algorithms and experimental results are presented.


Nearest-neighbor search Continuous-nearest-neighbor search Index structure Location-dependent data Wireless broadcast 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baihua Zheng
    • 1
  • Jianliang Xu
    • 2
  • Wang-Chien Lee
    • 3
  • Dik Lun Lee
    • 4
  1. 1.Singapore Management UniversitySingapore
  2. 2.Hong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong
  3. 3.The Penn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong Kong

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