, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 211–236 | Cite as

Indeterminacy and Spatiotemporal Data: Basic Definitions and Case Study

  • Dieter Pfoser
  • Nectaria Tryfona
  • Christian S. Jensen
Original Article


For some spatiotemporal applications, it can be assumed that the modeled world is precise and bounded, and that also our record of it is precise. While these simplifying assumptions are sufficient in applications like a land information system, they are unnecessarily crude for many other applications that manage data with spatial and/or temporal extents, such as navigational applications. This work explores fuzziness and uncertainty, subsumed under the term indeterminacy, in the spatiotemporal context. To better illustrate the basic spatiotemporal concepts of change or evolution, it is shown how the fundamental modeling concepts of spatial objects, attributes, and relationships and time points and periods are influenced by indeterminacy and how they can be combined. In particular, the focus is on the change of spatial objects and their geometries across time. Four change scenarios are outlined, which concern discrete versus continuous change and asynchronous versus synchronous measurement, and it is shown how to model indeterminacy for each. A case study illustrates the applicability of the paper’s general proposal by describing the uncertainty related to the management of the movements of point objects, such as the management of vehicle positions in a fleet management system.


spatiotemporal uncertainty spatiotemporal indeterminacy spatiotemporal fuzziness moving objects spatiotemporal data trajectories 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dieter Pfoser
    • 1
  • Nectaria Tryfona
    • 1
  • Christian S. Jensen
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Academic Computer Technology InstituteAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

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