Modelling a hierarchy of space applied to large road networks

  • Adrijana Car
  • Andrew U. Frank
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 884)


Human beings use hierarchies extensively to simplify their conceptual models of reality and to perform reasoning more efficiently. Hierarchical structures are conceptually imposed on space and allow better performance of complex tasks in very large contexts. To understand how spatial hierarchies are formed and used is one of the most important questions in spatial reasoning research. In this project, wayfinding in large road networks is studied as a particular case. Humans can find fastest paths even in very large street networks quickly, applying a hierarchical strategy. Standard, non-hierarchical algorithms show performance that degrades rapidly with increasing network size. A hierarchical structure can be found as an abstraction from the hierarchy of street classes (expressway, highway, local road). This reduces the number of nodes involved in a search process, and allows to perform the search process in subnetworks more efficiently. We propose an algorithm which searches for an optimal path in the subgraph of the highest possible level. This leads to an efficient wayfinding algorithm, even where standard simple graph search algorithms for the shortest path become inadequate.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrijana Car
    • 1
  • Andrew U. Frank
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeoinformationTechnical University ViennaAustria

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