Extending geographical representation to include fields of spatial objects

Thomas J. Cova, Michael F. Goodchild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


This paper describes a means for linking field and object representations of geographical space. The approach is based on a series of mappings, where locations in a continuous field are mapped to discrete objects. An object in this context is a modeler's conceptualization, as in a viewshed, highway corridor or biological reserve. An object can be represented as a point, line, polygon, network, or other complex spatial type. The relationship between locations in a field and spatial objects may take the form of one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, or many-to-many. We present a typology of object fields and discuss issues in their construction, storage, and analysis. Example applications are presented and directions for further research are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-532
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


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