Chapter 3. Spatial Databases and GIS

Spatial location or position information represents an appropriate means for exactly pinpointing an object on Earth. Most of the positioning methods used in the area of LBSs, for example, GPS, deliver spatial location information as a direct result from the measurements of one or several observables and subsequent calculations. However, spatial location is not an intuitive approach that is clearly understood in all situations. For example, delivering a target′s position to the LBS user as N 48° 21′ 17″ E 11° 47′ 15″ is less meaningful than the simple statement that the target person currently resides at the airport in Munich, Germany. Similar problems appear when setting two positions in relation, for example, for determining the distance between the LBS user and a selected point of interest and deriving the expected traveling time from that. A simple approach would deliver only the line-of-sight distance between both positions, but it would be more convenient for the user to get the shortest route distance in a road or public transportation network, preferably in combination with the shortest route displayed on a map and additional navigation assistance. As these examples demonstrate, it is inevitable to care for the mapping between spatial and descriptive location information as well as for maintaining and deriving relationships between locations in general.

Spatial databases and Geographic Information Systems (GISs) are the essential key technologies ...

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