Empirical Study on Location Indeterminacy of Localities

  • Sungsoon Hwang
  • Jean-Claude Thill
Conference paper


Humans perceive the boundary of locality vaguely. This paper presents how the indeterminate boundaries of localities can be represented in GIS. For this task, indeterminate boundaries of localities are modeled by a fuzzy set membership function in which generic rules on geospatial objects are incorporated. Georeferenced traffic crash data reveal that police officers identify localities precisely at best 88% of the time. An empirical analysis indicates that people are 6% more confident in identifying urban localities than rural localities. As a conclusion, fuzzy set theory seems to provide a reasonable mechanics to represent vague concept of geospatial objects. The comparison of urban versus rural localities with respect to location indeterminacy suggests that neighborhood types may affect the way humans acquire spatial knowledge and forge mental representations of it.


GIS uncertainty fuzzy set theory mental maps 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sungsoon Hwang
    • 1
  • Jean-Claude Thill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyState University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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