Geographic Visual Query Languages and Ambiguities Treatment

Geographic Visual Query Languages and Ambiguities Treatment

Arianna D’Ulizia (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, IRPPS, Italy), Fernando Ferri (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, IRPPS, Italy) and Patrizia Grifoni (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, IRPPS, Italy)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-995-3.ch042
OnDemand PDF Download:


The main issues of spatial databases and Geographic Information System (GIS), concern the representation, the management and the manipulation of a large and complex number of spatial objects and spatial relationships. In these systems many concepts are spatial and, therefore they are intrinsically related with a visual representation, which makes also easier to formulate queries by non-expert users. The main problems in visual query languages for spatial databases concern imprecision, spatial integrity and ambiguities in query formulation. Our concern in this chapter is with the ambiguity of visual geographical queries. In particular, a review of existing visual query languages for spatial databases and their classification on the grounds of the methodology adopted to resolve the ambiguity problem are provided.
Chapter Preview


Spatial databases and Geographic Information System (GIS) represent, manage and manipulate a large and complex number of spatial objects and spatial relationships.

Visual queries for spatial databases can be expressed using one of the following four approaches. The first approach uses predefined icons to retrieve pictorial information. Examples of languages that use this approach are: Cigales (Calcinelli and Mainguenaud, 1994), the language defined by Lee and Chin in (1995) and the card-based language proposed by Ju et al. (2003). The second approach specifies spatial relationships by freehand drawing. Sketch (Meyer, 1993) Spatial-Query-By-Sketch (Egenhofer, 1997; Blaser and Egenhofer, 2000), VISCO (Wessel and Haarslev, 1998), GeoPQL (Ferri and Rafanelli, 2005; Ferri et al., 2004) and, finally, the language proposed by Erwig and Schneider (2003), belong to this approach. The third approach uses symbolic images for representing a set of objects and a set of spatial relations among them. Languages that belong to this approach are Pictorial Query By Example (Papadias and Sellis, 1995), SVIQUEL (Kaushik and Rundensteiner, 1997), and the language proposed by Rahman et al. (2005). Finally, the fourth approach combines text and sketching in a hybrid solution, such as the language proposed by Szmurlo et al. (1998).

The main problems in visual query languages for spatial databases concern imprecision, spatial integrity (Favetta & Laurini, 2001) and ambiguities in query formulation. Some authors have proposed solutions to resolve ambiguities. For example, Favetta and Aufaures-Portier (2000) proposed a taxonomy for classifying different types of ambiguity during query formulation. They state that the best solution for ambiguities is a hybrid language (textual and visual) with a more intensive dialog between user and system.

Lbath et al. (1997) have proposed to resolve ambiguities through a standard for semantics using specific menus. They argue that it is possible to define the interpretation for the query and suggest a hybrid visual language named Aigle-Cigales, in which the system works with default semantics. Details should be explicitly mentioned through a specific contextual menu or by textual format.

Since ambiguity can represent a restriction for visual languages, it is very interesting to analyze several language proposals and classify them according to the methodology used to resolve the problem of ambiguity. A first group of languages, such as Pictorial Query By Example and SVIQUEL, faces ambiguity by allowing the use of a few operators and/or spatial relationships. A second group disambiguates language through the use of actions in query formulation by modifying the query semantics. The iconic language defined by Lee and Chin (1995) belongs to this group. A third group of languages tries to increase the user’s ability to formulate more complex queries by the use of several operators without facing the ambiguity problem. Languages that belong to this group are Cigales and LVIS. A fourth group of languages proposes approximate solutions as well as the exact answer to the query enabling the user to select what he/she requires. Sketch and Spatial Query By Sketch are part of this category. Finally, a fifth group of languages, such as GeoPQL, resolves ambiguities by introducing special new operators to manage them.

This chapter is structured as follows. Section 2 gives a brief overview of the approaches used for the definition of visual querying for spatial databases. Section 3 illustrates problems about ambiguity treatment in these kinds of visual languages. In section 4 a classification of different languages on the grounds of methodology adopting to resolve the problem of ambiguity is proposed. Section 5 presents some future perspectives on the growth of visual languages for spatial databases and conclusions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Geographical Database: A database in which geographic information is store by x-y coordinates of single points or points which identify the boundaries of lines (or polylines, which sometimes represent the boundaries of polygons). Different attributes characterize the objects stored in these databases. In general the storing structure consists of “classes” of objects, each of them implemented by a layer. Often a geographic databases include raster, topological vector, image processing, and graphics production functionality.

Geographical Information System (GIS): A computerized database system used for the capture, conversion, storage, retrieval, analysis and display of spatial objects.

Metaphor: Figurative language that creates an analogy between two unlike things.? A metaphor does not make a comparison, but creates its analogy by representing one thing as something else.

Visual Query language: A language that allows the user to specify its goals in a two-(or more)-dimensional way with visual expressions - spatial arrangements of textual and graphical symbols.

Icon: Small pictures that represent commands, files, objects or windows.

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG): SVG is a language for describing two-dimensional graphics and graphical applications in XML.

Extensible Markup Language (XML): is a W3C-recommended general-purpose markup language for creating special-purpose markup languages, capable of describing many different kinds of data. In other words, XML is a way of describing data.

Geography Markup language (GML): is the XML grammar defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to express geographic features. GML serves as a modeling language for geographic systems as well as an open interchange format for geographic transactions on the Internet.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Jose E. Córcoles, Pascual González
An interesting feature of GML is to consider it as a database, but only in the strictest sense of the term. That is, as a collection of data. As a... Sample PDF
GML as Database: Present and Future
Chapter 2
Jose E. Córcoles, Pascual González
As a database format, XML (GML by extension) can be queried. In order to do this, we need a query language (of general use) to retrieve information... Sample PDF
Querying GML: A Pressing Need
Chapter 3
Michael Vassilakopoulos, Antonio Corral, Boris Rachev, Irena Valova, Mariana Stoeva
Image Databases (IDBs) are a kind of Spatial Databases where a large number of images are stored and queried. In this chapter, techniques for... Sample PDF
Image Database Indexing Techniques
Chapter 4
Patrik Skogster
Geographic information is created by manipulating geographic (or spatial) data (generally known by the abbreviation geodata) in a computerized... Sample PDF
Different Roles and Definitions of Spatial Data Fusion
Chapter 5
Carlos Granell, Michael Gould, Miguel Ángel Manso, Miguel Ángel Bernabé
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are data-centric applications that rely on the input and constant maintenance of large quantities of basic and... Sample PDF
Spatial Data Infrastructures
Chapter 6
Trias Aditya, Menno-Jan Kraak
The vision of “created once, used many times” has been spread out across the globe through the development of geospatial data infrastructure (GDI)... Sample PDF
Geoportals and the GDI Accessibility
Chapter 7
Hervé Gontran
The development of road database requires the management of continuously growing road databases. Mobile mapping systems can acquire this... Sample PDF
Real-Time Extraction of the Road Geometry
Chapter 8
Cognitive Maps  (pages 58-64)
Stephen Hirtle
Cognitive maps are the representations that individuals use to understand, process, and navigate environments. The term cognitive map should not be... Sample PDF
Cognitive Maps
Chapter 9
Map Overlay Problem  (pages 65-72)
Maikel Garma de la Osa, Yissell Arias Sánchez
Maps usually contain data from different sources (e.g., population, natural resources, cities, roads, infant mortality rate, etc.) When all the... Sample PDF
Map Overlay Problem
Chapter 10
Mahbubur R. Meenar, John A. Sorrentino
Three-dimensional surface modeling has become an important element in the processing and visualization of geographic information. Models are created... Sample PDF
Dealing with 3D Surface Models: Raster and TIN
Chapter 11
Yurai Núñez-Rodríguez
Web map services, such as Google Maps and MapQuest, are among the most popular sites on the Internet. One can easily access these services through a... Sample PDF
Web Map Servers Data Formats
Chapter 12
Eric Delmelle, Raymond Dezzani
There has been a dramatic increase in the handling of geospatial information, and also in the production of maps. However, because the Earth is... Sample PDF
Overview, Classification and Selection of Map Projections for Geospatial Applications
Chapter 13
José Poveda, Michael Gould
In this chapter we present some well-known algorithms for the solution of the point location problem and for the more particular problem of... Sample PDF
About the Point Location Problem
Chapter 14
Alina Lazar, Bradley A. Shellito
Support Vector Machines (SVM) are powerful tools for classification of data. This article describes the functionality of SVM including their design... Sample PDF
Classification in GIS Using Support Vector Machines
Chapter 15
Network Modeling  (pages 113-121)
Kevin M. Curtin
Network models are some of the earliest and most consistently important data models in GISystems. Network modeling has a strong theoretical basis in... Sample PDF
Network Modeling
Chapter 16
Xiaojun Yang
Artificial neural networks are increasingly being used to model complex, nonlinear phenomena. The purpose of this chapter is to review the... Sample PDF
Artificial Neural Networks
Chapter 17
Spatial Interpolation  (pages 129-136)
Xiaojun Yang
Spatial interpolation is a core component of data processing and analysis in geoinformatics. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the concept... Sample PDF
Spatial Interpolation
Chapter 18
Bo Huang, Magesh Chandramouli
Integrating spatial and temporal dimensions is a fundamental yet challenging issue in modeling geospatial data. This article presents the design of... Sample PDF
Spatio-Temporal Object Modeling
Chapter 19
May Yuan
Temporal Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology has been a top research subject since late the 1980s. Langran’s Time in Geographic... Sample PDF
Challenges and Critical Issues for Temporal GIS Research and Technologies
Chapter 20
Iftikhar U. Sikder
The representation of geographic entities is characterized by inherent granularity due to scale and resolution specific observations. This article... Sample PDF
Rough Sets and Granular Computing in Geospatial Information
Chapter 21
Matthew Perry, Amit Sheth, Ismailcem Budak Arpinar, Farshad Hakimpour
The amount of digital data available to researchers and knowledge workers has grown tremendously in recent years. This is especially true in the... Sample PDF
Geospatial and Temporal Semantic Analytics
Chapter 22
Yuqi Bai, Liping Di, Aijun Chen, Yang Liu, Yaxing Wei
Three public geospatial image catalog services, FGDC Clearinghouse, NASA ECHO and GMU CSISS CSW, were reviewed, considering the following aspects... Sample PDF
Geospatial Image Metadata Catalog Services
Chapter 23
Peisheng Zhao, Liping Di, Wenli Yang, Genong Yu, Peng Yue
The Semantic Web technology provides a common interoperable framework in which information is given a well-defined meaning such that data and... Sample PDF
Geospatial Semantic Web: Critical Issues
Chapter 24
Carlos Granell, Michael Gould, Miguel Ángel Esbrí
In the context of Geographic Information System’s evolution from monolithic systems to personal desktop GIS and then to collections of remote... Sample PDF
Geospatial Web Service Chaining
Chapter 25
Genong Yu, Liping Di, Wenli Yang, Peisheng Zhao, Peng Yue
Multi-agent system is specialized in studying the collective effects of multiple intelligent agents. An intelligent agent is a computer system with... Sample PDF
Multi-Agent Systems for Distributed Geospatial Modeling, Simulation and Computing
Chapter 26
Peng Yue, Liping Di, Wenli Yang, Genong Yu, Peisheng Zhao
In a service-oriented environment, an individual geospatial Web service is not sufficient to solve a complex real-world geospatial problem. Service... Sample PDF
Towards Automatic Composition of Geospatial Web Services
Chapter 27
Aijun Chen, Liping Di, Yuqi Bai, Yaxing Wei
The definition of the Grid computing and its application to geoinformatics are introduced. Not only the comparison of power Grid and computing Grid... Sample PDF
Grid Computing and its Application to Geoinformatics
Chapter 28
Yaxing Wei, Liping Di, Guangxuan Liao, Baohua Zhao, Aijun Chen, Yuqi Bai
With the rapid accumulation of geospatial data and the advancement of geoscience, there is a critical requirement for an infrastructure that can... Sample PDF
Sharing of Distributed Geospatial Data through Grid Technology
Chapter 29
Alexander Klippel, Kai-Florian Richter, Stefan Hansen
This contribution provides an overview of elements of cognitively ergonomic route directions. Cognitive ergonomics, in general, seeks to identify... Sample PDF
Cognitively Ergonomic Route Directions
Chapter 30
Péter Hegedüs, Mihály Orosz, Gábor Hosszú, Ferenc Kovács
This chapter details the potential found in combining to different technologies. The two basically different technologies, LBSs in mobile... Sample PDF
Multicast Over Location-Based Services
Chapter 31
Routing  (pages 246-253)
Kevin M. Curtin
Routing is the act of selecting a course of travel. Routing problems are one of the most prominent and persistent problems in geoinformatics. This... Sample PDF
Chapter 32
Location Privacy  (pages 254-259)
Matt Duckham
In this chapter, the author raises a number of issues surrounding the ever-growing capabilities of geoinformatics. Location privacy can be defined... Sample PDF
Location Privacy
Chapter 33
Vladimir I. Zadorozhny
The author of this chapter considers the location-based approach for performance tuning that significantly facilitates the challenge of utilizing... Sample PDF
Location-Based Performance Tuning in Mobile Sensor Networks
Chapter 34
Henrik Hanke, Alf Neumann
The provisioning of Location-Based Services (LBS) follows the chain of determination of a position, mapping this information onto a natural... Sample PDF
Location-Based Services: A Taxonomy on Theory and Practice
Chapter 35
Coupling GPS and GIS  (pages 277-284)
Mahbubur R. Meenar, John A. Sorrentino, Sharmin Yesmin
Since the 1990s, the integration of GPS and GIS has become more and more popular and an industry standard in the GIS community worldwide. The... Sample PDF
Coupling GPS and GIS
Chapter 36
Wei-Shinn Ku, Haojun Wang, Roger Zimmermann
With the availability and accuracy of satellite-based positioning systems and the growing computational power of mobile devices, recent research and... Sample PDF
Modern Navigation Systems and Related Spatial Query
Chapter 37
Muhammad Usman Iqbal, Samsung Lim
Over the past few decades, the technologies of mobile communication, positioning, and computing have gradually converged. The automobile has been a... Sample PDF
Location Privacy in Automotive Telematics
Chapter 38
Mohammed A. Quddus
Map matching algorithms integrate positioning data with spatial road network data to support the navigation modules of intelligent transport systems... Sample PDF
Map Matching Algorithms for Intelligent Transport Systems
Chapter 39
Andrés Pazos, José Poveda, Michael Gould
In this chapter we present a package-based component architecture for the specific deployment and maintenance of public sector applications... Sample PDF
A Package-Based Architecture for Customized GIS
Chapter 40
Magesh Chandramouli, Bo Huang
This article explores the application of virtual environments to 3D geospatial visualization and exploration. VR worlds provide powerful... Sample PDF
Virtual Environments for Geospatial Applications
Chapter 41
Iftikhar U. Sikder
Geospatial predictive models often require mapping of predefined concepts or categories with various conditioning factors in a given space. This... Sample PDF
Managing Uncertainty in Geospatial Predictive Models
Chapter 42
Arianna D’Ulizia, Fernando Ferri, Patrizia Grifoni
The main issues of spatial databases and Geographic Information System (GIS), concern the representation, the management and the manipulation of a... Sample PDF
Geographic Visual Query Languages and Ambiguities Treatment
Chapter 43
Lionel Savary, Georges Gardarin, Karine Zeitouni
GML is a promising model for integrating geodata within data warehouses. The resulting databases are generally large and require spatial operators... Sample PDF
GeoCache: A Cache for GML Geographical Data
Chapter 44
Lyn Kathlene
This chapter describes and analyzes the effectiveness of two methodological techniques, cognitive mapping and geographical information systems... Sample PDF
Cognitive Mapping and GIS for Community-Based Resource Identification
Chapter 45
Edward Mac Gillavry
The collection and dissemination of geographic information has long been the prerogative of national mapping agencies. Nowadays, location-aware... Sample PDF
Collaborative Mapping and GIS: An Alternative Geographic Information Framework
Chapter 46
Iftikhar U. Sikder, Santosh K. Misra
This article proposes a multi-agent based framework that allows multiple data sources and models to be semantically integrated for spatial modeling... Sample PDF
Semantic Interoperability of Geospatial Services
Chapter 47
George Kakaletris, Dimitris Varoutas, Dimitris Katsianis, Thomas Sphicopoulos
Broadband communication networks have begun to spread rapidly over fixed networks, with wireless networks following at close distance. The excess... Sample PDF
Biometric Authentication in Broadband Networks for Location-Based Services
Chapter 48
Stelios C.A. Thomopoulos, Nikolaos Argyreas
The globally observed recession of mobile services market has pushed mobile network operators into looking for opportunities to provide value added... Sample PDF
Design and Implementation Approaches for Location-Based, Tourism-Related Services
About the Contributors