Qualitative Spatial Reasoning with Cardinal Directions

  • Andrew U. Frank
Part of the Informatik-Fachberichte book series (INFORMATIK, volume 287)


Following reviews of previous approaches to spatial reasoning, a completely qualitative method for reasoning about cardinal directions, without recourse to analytical procedures, is introduced and a method is presented for a formal comparison with quantitative formulae. We use an algebraic method to formalize the meaning of cardinal directions. The standard directional symbols (N, S, E, W) are extended with a symbol 0 to denote an undecided case, which greatly increases the power of inference. Two examples of systems to determine and reason with cardinal directions are discussed in some detail and results from a prototype are given. The deduction rules for the coordination of directional symbols are formalized as equations; for inclusion in an expert system they can be coded as a look-up table (given in the text). The conclusions offer some direction for future work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew U. Frank
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) and Department of Surveying EngineeringUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  2. 2.Technical University ViennaWienAustria

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