Development and test of an error model for categorical data

Michael F. Goodchild, Sun Guoqing, Yang Shi Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

171 Scopus citations


An error model for spatial databases is defined here as a stochastic process capable of generating a population of distorted versions of the same pattern of geographical variation. The differences between members of the population represent the uncertainties present in raw or interpreted data, or introduced during processing. Defined in this way, an error model can provide estimates of the uncertainty associated with the products of processing in geographical information systems. A new error model is defined in this paper for categorical data. Its application to soil and land cover maps is discussed in two examples: the measurement of area and the measurement of overlay. Specific details of implementation and use are reviewed. The model provides a powerful basis for visualizing error in area class maps, and for measuring the effects of its propagation through processes of geographical information systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-104
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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