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The 3rd ISPRS Workshop on Dynamic and Multi-Dimensional GIS & the 10th Annual Conference of CPGIS on Geoinformatics
Chen, Jun

ISPRS, Vol.34, Part 2W2, “Dynamic and Multi-Dimensional GIS", Bangkok, May 23-25, 2001
ISPRS, Vol.34,
JunCHEN 1 , Zhilin LI 2 , Jie JIANG 1
1 National Geomatics Center of China
No. 1 Baishengcun, Zizhuyuan,
Beijing, 100044, P. R. China
(chenjun, jjie)@nsdi.gov.cn
2 Dept, of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Kowloon, Hong Kong , China
Lszlli® polyu.edu.hk
KEYWORDS: Dynamic, multi-dimensional, GIS, scale, spatio-temporal model
There is a demand from many applications to extend GIS from traditional systems for processing 2-dimensional static data to systems
to process true 3-D data, even with dynamic nature and/or with change in temporal dimension. This leads the evolution of GIS into
dynamic and multi-dimensional GIS. This paper reviews tries to define the context of dynamic and multi-dimensional GIS, outline the
development of dynamic and multi-dimensional GIS and to identify a list of challenging issues for future research.
Since the publication of the first report on Canadian
geographical information system (GIS) over 30 years ago
(Tomlinson, 1967), GIS has evolved from simple automated
mapping systems to today’s complicated toolboxes. At the
early stage, planar graph-based models were used for spatial
data modelling in GIS, because such GIS is a consequence of
automating existing manual map-based operations. In such
systems, emphasis is given on cartographic aspects. Three-
dimensional spatial entities were mapped into two dimensional
points, lines and polygon objects with associated attributes
describing their properties and stored as a series of thematic
overlays registered to a common spatial frame of reference
(Worboy, 1992). A series of snapshots are generally used to
record states of spatial objects at certain time points. It can
provide a time-series view of the study area but obscures the
individual history of spatial entities (Langran, 1992). In fact,
most of current GIS still have difficulty in handling of geospatial
data of 3-dimensional space and the 3-dimensional geospatial
phenomena with dynamic nature, although rather complicated.
On the other hand, there is an increasing demand to build
functions to handle dynamic and multi-dimensional gepspatial
data, from a number of applications, such as urban planning
and mining. As a consequence, GIS has been evolving from a
system for processing 2-D and/or 2.5D data to a system for
processing 3-D and even 4-D data (with changes in temporal
dimension). Also there is an increasing demand to model
geospatial phenomena with dynamic nature (such as marine
environment and coastal lines). Thus GIS has also been
evolving from a system for processing static data into a system
capable of processing dynamic data. In order to distinguish it
from traditional systems, GIS with such kind of capacity is
referred to as “dynamic and multi-dimensional GIS” in this
context and it is the topic of this paper.
This paper aims to provide an overview of this topic. This
introduction is followed by a discussion on the context of
dynamic and multi-dimensional GIS (Section 2). The
development of dynamic and multi-dimensional GIS is briefly
outlined in Section 3. The issues on and research agenda of
this topic are outlined in Section 4. Finally, some concluding
remarks are made in Section 5.
As there are various interpretations of the terms “dynamic” and
“multi-dimensional”, it seems pertinent to have a clear
definition of the context of these terms here before further
discussions could be conducted.
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