UNIT 21 - THE RASTER/VECTOR DATABASE DEBATE

UNIT 21 - THE RASTER/VECTOR DATABASE DEBATE

Compiled with assistance from Charles Parson, Bemidji State University

  • A. INTRODUCTION
  • B. COORDINATE PRECISION
  • C. SPEED OF COMPUTING
  • D. MASS STORAGE
  • E. CHARACTERISTICS OF PHENOMENA
  • F. SUMMARY
  • REFERENCES
  • EXAM AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • NOTES

    This unit specifically addresses the issue of raster versus vector by looking at the different dimensions of the debate. We have tried to stress the importance and value of both models by comparing specific technical aspects. The next unit looks at a related but more abstract debate.

    UNIT 21 - THE RASTER/VECTOR DATABASE DEBATE

    Compiled with assistance from Charles Parson, Bemidji State University

    A. INTRODUCTION

    Raster or vector

    Basic issues

    B. COORDINATE PRECISION

    Raster precision

    Location of coordinates in raster

    Vector precision

    Data precision

    C. SPEED OF COMPUTING

    D. MASS STORAGE

    Raster storage

    Vector storage

    E. CHARACTERISTICS OF PHENOMENA

    Raster sampling

    Vector sampling

    Features, entities and objects

    F. SUMMARY

    Combinations of raster and vector

    REFERENCES

    Burrough, P.A., 1986, Principles of Geographical Information Systems for Land Resources Assessment, Clarendon, Oxford. See raster/vector summary on p. 169.

    Gahegan, M.N., and S.A. Roberts, 1988. "An intelligent object-oriented geographical information system," International Journal of Geographical Information Systems 2(2):101-110. Discusses an interface to a spatial analysis systems which allows the underlying geographical domain to be represented using a high-level, feature- oriented model.

    Star, J.L. and J.E. Estes, 1990. Geographic Information Systems: An Introduction. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs NJ. Chapter 4 summarizes both sides of the raster-vector issue.

    EXAM AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

    1. Summarize the dimensions of the debate between raster and vector database models.

    2. Describe the design of a study to compare the amounts of storage used by raster and vector models in creating a digital representation of a specific map? If you feel this cannot be done, explain why not.

    3. Summarize the arguments for raster GIS and the application areas in which it has distinct (a) advantages and (b) disadvantages.

    4. What factors would determine the appropriate cell size for a raster GIS being developed for a power transmission corridor study?

    5. In physics, light appears to behave sometimes as particles, sometimes as waves. Discuss whether a useful analogy exists between this debate in physics and the raster/vector debate in GIS.


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