Encyclopedia of GIS

Living Edition
| Editors: Shashi Shekhar, Hui Xiong, Xun Zhou

Reference Frames

  • Thora Tenbrink
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23519-6_1538-1



Humans conceptualize an entity’s spatial location in terms of qualitative relation to other entities, rather than metric coordinates. This has wide-ranging implications across fields in cognitive science and has led to the identification of a set of concepts called frame of reference (henceforth FoR). FoRs allow a systematic schematization of space by relating a to-be-located entity (including the self) to its environment (typically another entity) on the basis of qualitative direction concepts such as left, north, or point-of-view from above or from the self. Psychological research in particular distinguishes most centrally between allocentric (ego-independent) and egocentric (viewer-based) FoRs (Klatzky, 1998). In language, terms expressing directiongenerally require a FoR due to the variability of concepts that can provide a basis for establishing a directional relation between entities. Research in this...


Spatial Direction View Direction Directional System Metaphorical Concept Conceptual Element 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bangor UniversityGwyneddUK