Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Spatial Information Science and Engineering


Max J. Egenhofer

Second Committee Member

Kathleen Hornsby

Third Committee Member

Silvia Nittel


Individuals in unknown locations, such as utility workers in the field, soldiers on a mission, or sightseeing tourists, share the need for an answer to two basic questions: "Where am I?" and "What is in front of me?Because such information is not readily available in foreign locations, aids in the form of paper maps or mobile GISs, which give individuals an all-inclusive view of the environment, are often used. This panoptic view may hinder the positioning and orienteering process, since people perceive their surroundings perspectively from their current position. In this thesis, I describe a novel framework that resolves this problem by applying sensors that gather the individual's spatial frame of reference. This spatial frame of reference, in combination with an egocentric spatial data model enables an injective mapping between the real world and the data frame of reference, hence, alleviating the individual's cognitive workload. Furthermore, our egocentric spatial data model allows intelligent mobile Geographic Information Systems to capture the notions of here and there, and, consequently, provides insight into the individual's surroundings. Finally, our framework, in conjunction with the context given by the task to be performed, enables intelligent mobile Geographic Information Systems to implicitly answer questions with respect to where, what, and how.