Journal of Intelligent Information Systems

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 243–266 | Cite as

Spatial ordering and encoding for geographic data mining and visualization

  • Diansheng GuoEmail author
  • Mark Gahegan


Geographic information (e.g., locations, networks, and nearest neighbors) are unique and different from other aspatial attributes (e.g., population, sales, or income). It is a challenging problem in spatial data mining and visualization to take into account both the geographic information and multiple aspatial variables in the detection of patterns. To tackle this problem, we present and evaluate a variety of spatial ordering methods that can transform spatial relations into a one-dimensional ordering and encoding which preserves spatial locality as much possible. The ordering can then be used to spatially sort temporal or multivariate data series and thus help reveal patterns across different spaces. The encoding, as a materialization of spatial clusters and neighboring relations, is also amenable for processing together with aspatial variables by any existing (non-spatial) data mining methods. We design a set of measures to evaluate nine different ordering/encoding methods, including two space-filling curves, six hierarchical clustering based methods, and a one-dimensional Sammon mapping (a multidimensional scaling approach). Evaluation results with various data distributions show that the optimal ordering/encoding with the complete-linkage clustering consistently gives the best overall performance, surpassing well-known space-filling curves in preserving spatial locality. Moreover, clustering-based methods can encode not only simple geographic locations, e.g., x and y coordinates, but also a wide range of other spatial relations, e.g., network distances or arbitrarily weighted graphs.


Spatial data mining Spatio-temporal visualization Space-filling curve Hierarchical clustering Linear ordering Multidimensional scaling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.GeoVISTA Center, Department of GeographyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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