Fuzzy Set Theory in Geospatial Analysis



Geographical information science (GIS) systems are designed to store, retrieve, manipulate, analyze, and map geographical data. Since the 1960s when R.F. Tomlinson first presented the GIS, this field has mainly focused on the construction of the systems, the improvement of system functions, and the extension of its application to other disciplines. The research contents have played an important role in providing spatial decision-making support for both governments and the public, and have also promoted the formation and development of the discipline of Geographic Information Science (Goodchild 1992). However, with the extension and deepening of applications, users began to doubt the results of spatial analysis using GIS (Doucette and Paresi 2000; Morrison 1995; Östman 1997; Stefanakis et al. 1999). The raw material for GIS (i.e., the original data imported into GIS) inevitably always contains errors (Shi et al. 2002). Data models used in GIS to describe the real world are just approximations to objective reality. In addition, all kinds of spatial operations and processing approaches may bring new errors and uncertainties into the production of spatial analysis. Most existing designs of GIS software are based on the hypothesis that no errors exist in geographic entities and their spatial relationships. Generally, GIS can only deal with determinate spatial entities and their relationships. However, using a GIS designed to deal with determinate data for uncertain data will bring about problems, and the results cannot satisfy the users’ needs (Shi et al. 2002). As the outputs of GIS play an important role in spatial decision-making support, users began to be concerned about the quality of spatial data in GIS. This undoubtedly made many scholars think about the field of GIS spatial data quality control (Mowrer and Congalton 2000; Östman 1997; Shi et al. 2002).


Spatial Data Constraint Satisfaction Problem Spatial Reasoning Topological Relationship Fuzzy Object 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of GeographySouth China Normal UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Division of Spatial Information ScienceUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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