Towards a General Field model and its order in GIS

Y. Liu, M. F. Goodchild, Q. Guo, Y. Tian, L. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Geospatial data modelling is dominated by the distinction between continuous-field and discrete-object conceptualizations. However, the boundary between them is not always clear, and the field view is more fundamental in some respects than the object view. By viewing a set of objects as an object field and unifying it with conventional field models, a new concept, the General Field (G-Field) model, is proposed. In this paper, the properties of G-Field models, including domain, range, and categorization, are discussed. As a summary, a descriptive framework for G-Field models is proposed. Then, some common geospatial operations in geographic information systems are reconsidered from the G-Field perspective. The geospatial operations are classified into order-increasing operations and non-order-increasing operations, depending on changes induced in the G-Field's order. Generally, the order can be viewed as an indicator of the level of information extraction of geospatial data. It is thus possible to integrate the concept of order with a geo-workflow management system to support geographic semantics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-643
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • General Field model
  • Geographic information system
  • Non-order-increasing operation
  • Order of General Field
  • Order-increasing operation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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