Geo-spatial Information Science

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 55–64 | Cite as

Definitions of natural-language spatial relations: Combining topology and directions

  • Du Shihong
  • Wang Qiao
  • Qin Qiming


Because SQL for querying data from spatial databases is ineffective, the query based on natural or visual language becomes an attractive research field gradually. However, how to define and represent natural languages related to spatial data are still gigantic problems. Because existing models of direction relations can't describe by use of some common concepts. First of all, detailed direction relations are proposed to describe the directions related to the interior of spatial objects, such as “east part of a region”, “east boundary of a region”, and so on. Secondly, by integrating the detailed directions with exterior direction relations and topological relations, several NLSRs are defined, such as “a road goes across the east part of a lake”, “a river goes along the east boundary of a province”, etc. Finally, based on the NLSRs abovementioned, a natural spatial query language (NSQL) is formed to retrieve data from spatial databases.

Key Words

geographic information system topological relations direction relations detailed direction relations natural-language spatial relations 

CLC Number

TP391 TP181 


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Copyright information

© Wuhan University of Technology 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Du Shihong
    • 1
  • Wang Qiao
  • Qin Qiming
  1. 1.Institute of Remote Sensing and GISPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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