Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Spatial Information Science and Engineering


Max J. Egenhofer

Second Committee Member

M. Kate Beard-Tisdale

Third Committee Member

Peggy Agouris


Geographic databases contain collections of spatial data representing the variety of views for the real world at a specific time. Depending on the resolution or scale of the spatial data, spatial objects may have different spatial dimensions, and they may be represented by point, linear, or polygonal features, or combination of them. The diversity of data that are collected over the same area, often from different sources, imposes a question of how to integrate and to keep them consistent in order to provide correct answers for spatial queries. This thesis is concerned with the development of a tool to check topological equivalence and similarity for spatial objects in multi-representation databases. The main question is what are the components of a model to identify topological consistency, based on a set of possible transitions for the different types of spatial representations. This work develops a new formalism to model consistently spatial objects and spatial relations between several objects, each represented at multiple levels of detail. It focuses on the topological consistency constraints that must hold among the different representation of objects, but it is not concerned about generalization operations of how to derive one representation level from another. The result of this thesis is a?computational tool to evaluate topological equivalence and similarity across multiple representations. This thesis proposes to organize a spatial scene -a set of spatial objects and their embeddings in space- directly as a relation-based model that uses a hierarchical graph representation. The focus of the relation-based model is on relevant object representations. Only the highest-dimensional object representations are explicitly stored, while their parts are not represented in the graph.