Vector And Raster Data In Gis Computer Science Essay

A Geographical Information System ( GIS ) is a method of spatially hive awaying, analyzing, pull stringsing, managing and exposing geographical informations. GIS information represents existent objects such as roads, rivers, urban countries, topographic point names, railroad, topographic points of involvement, town names etc. with digital informations finding the mix. A geodatabase is a database that is in some manner referenced to locations on Earth. Traditionally, there are two wide methods used to hive away informations in a GIS ; raster images and vector.

Ordnance Survey Ireland ( OSI ) information is supplied in both Vector and Raster format. In both instances the information is geo-referenced.


Vector information is split into three types ; polygon, line ( or discharge ) and point informations. Vector is a method for hive awaying spacial informations affecting delegating co-ordinates for each entity ; an Ten, Y, Z for a point, a brace of such points for a line and a series of such lines for a polygon. This method is really utile for patterning distinct physical characteristics.

Different geographical characteristics are expressed by different types of geometry:


A point is a zero-dimensional abstraction of an object represented by a individual Ten, Y coordinate. It is usually used to stand for a geographic characteristic excessively little to be displayed as a line or an country ( e.g. location of a edifice on a little graduated table map or, for illustration, metropoliss on a map of the universe might be represented by points non polygons ) . No measurings are possible with point characteristics.

Top Writers
Verified expert
5 (339)
Prof. Clara
Verified expert
5 (345)
Professor Harris
Verified expert
4.9 (457)
hire verified writer

Figure 1- Vector representation

Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: //

Lines or polylines

A set of coordinates that represent the form of geographic characteristics that are excessively narrow to be displayed as an country, such as, county boundary lines or contours. At little graduated tables geographic characteristics may hold no country, e.g. watercourses or streets and may be represented as additive characteristics instead than as a polygon. Line characteristics can mensurate distance.


Polygons are used to stand for countries. Such as lakes, park boundaries or land utilizations etc. Polygons convey the most sum of information of the file types and can mensurate margin and country.

Rigaux et Al. ( 2002: p.38 ) provinces, ‘A point is represented by its brace of co-ordinates, whereas more complex linear and surfacic objects are represented by constructions ( lists, sets, arrays ) on the point representation. ‘ These geometries can be linked to a row in a database that describes their properties. For illustration, a database that describes lakes may incorporate a lake ‘s deepness, H2O quality, pollution degree. Different geometries can besides be compared and the GIS could be used, for illustration, to place all Wellss ( indicate geometry ) that are within one kilometer of a lake ( polygon geometry ) that has a high degree of pollution. Vector informations can be displayed at any graduated table and single beds ( e.g. roads, edifices, etc ) can be displayed or omitted ( see Appendix A ) .


Ellis states ‘that raster is a method for the storage, processing and show of spacial informations. ‘ There are three types of raster datasets ; thematic informations, spectral informations and images. Raster information consists of rows and columns of cells, with each cell hive awaying a individual value. Raster informations can be images incorporating single points with coloring material values, called cells ( or pels ) , arranged in a rectangular equally spaced array.

‘Each cell must be rectangular in form, but non needfully square ‘ ( Ellis 2001 ) . Each cell within this matrix contains location coordinates every bit good as an property value. The spacial location of each cell is implicitly contained within the ordination of the matrix, unlike a vector construction which shops topology explicitly. Areas incorporating the same property value are recognised as such, nevertheless, raster constructions can non place the boundaries of countries such as polygons.

Raster information is an abstraction of the existent universe where spacial information is expressed as a matrix of cells or pels with spacial place implicit in the ordination of the pels. With the raster informations theoretical account, spacial information is non uninterrupted but divided into distinct units. Ellis states that ‘this makes raster informations peculiarly suited for certain types of spacial operation, for illustration sheathings or country computations. ‘

Raster constructions may take to increased storage in certain state of affairss, since they store each cell in the matrix regardless of whether it is a characteristic or merely ’empty ‘ infinite. Extra values recorded for each cell may be a distinct value, such as land usage, a uninterrupted value, such as temperature, or a void value if no information is available. While a raster cell shops a individual value, it can be extended by utilizing raster sets to stand for RGB ( ruddy, green, bluish ) colors, coloring material maps ( a function between a thematic codification and RGB value ) , or an drawn-out property tabular array with one row for each unique cell value. The declaration of the raster informations set is its cell breadth in land units.

Anyone who is familiar with digital picture taking will acknowledge the Raster artworks pel as the smallest single grid unit constructing block of an image, normally non readily identified as an artifact form until an image is produced on a really big graduated table ( see Appendix B ) . A combination of the pels doing up an image coloring material formation strategy will compose inside informations of an image, as is distinguishable from the normally used points, lines, and polygon country location symbols of vector artworks. Aerial exposure and orbiter images are illustrations of raster images used in function.

Figure 2 – Aerial Photo Digitally scanned and ortho-rectified raster coloring material picture taking. The ortho-rectification procedure removes deformations caused by camera joust and topographical characteristics to bring forth a graduated table accurate image.

Beginning: OSI

Raster information is stored in assorted formats ; from a standard file-based construction of TIF, JPEG, etc. to binary big object informations stored straight in a relational database direction system.

Raster V Vector

There are some of import advantages and disadvantages to utilizing a raster or vector informations theoretical account to stand for world:

Vector artworks are normally more aesthetically delighting. Raster informations will look as an image that may hold a blockish visual aspect for object boundaries ( depending on the declaration of the raster file ) .

Vector information is simpler to update and keep, whereas a raster image will hold to be wholly reproduced ( e.g. a new route is added ) .

Vector information allows much more analysis capableness, particularly for “ webs ” such as roads, rail, telecommunications etc. Distances and countries can be calculated automatically.

With raster informations it is hard to adequately stand for additive characteristics depending on the cell declaration. Therefore, web linkages are hard to set up.

Vector files necessitate less disk storage infinite than raster information.

Raster informations allows easy execution of sheathing operations, which are more hard with vector informations.

Raster information construction allows simple spacial analysis processs

An lineation of the application of vector and raster informations by OSI in Ireland is included in Appendix C.

Non-spatial informations

Associating the spacial constituent along with the non-spatial properties of the bing informations e.g. nose count figures ( see Appendix D ) enhances the user ‘s apprehension and gives new penetrations into the forms and relationships in the informations that otherwise would non be found.

Non-spatial informations can be stored along with the spacial informations represented by the co-ordinates of vector geometry or the place of a raster cell. In vector informations, the extra information contains properties of the characteristic. In raster informations the cell value can hive away attribute information, but it can besides be used as an identifier that can associate to records in another tabular array.

Software is presently being developed to back up the solutions to spacial jobs being integrated with solutions to non-spatial jobs. This will ensue in non experts utilizing GIS to incorporate spacial and non spacial standards to see solutions to complex jobs and to help in decision-making.

Datas gaining control

The procedures of informations aggregation are besides diversely referred to as informations gaining control, informations

mechanization, informations transition, informations transportation, informations interlingual rendition, and digitizing.

The two chief types of informations gaining control are:

Primary informations beginnings e.g. those collected in digital format specifically for usage in a GIS undertaking.

Secondary beginnings, digital and linear datasets that were collected for a different intent and demand to be converted into a suited digital format for usage in a GIS undertaking.

For vector informations capture the two chief subdivisions are ground surveying and GPS. Survey informations can be straight entered into a GIS from digital informations aggregation systems on study instruments. Positions from a Global Navigation Satellite System like Global Positioning System ( GPS ) , another study tool, can besides be straight entered into a GIS. New engineerings allow making maps every bit good as analysis straight in the field and as a consequence undertakings are more efficient and function is more accurate.

Remotely sensed informations besides plays an of import function in informations aggregation and consists of detectors ( e.g. cameras, digital scanners ) attached to a platform which normally consist of aircraft and orbiters.

The bulk of digital informations presently comes from photo reading of aerial exposure. Workstations are used to digitise characteristics straight from two-channel braces of digital exposure. These systems allow informations to be captured in two and three dimensions, with lifts measured straight from a stereo brace utilizing rules of photogrammetry. Photographs are collected by parallel or optical cameras before being entered into a soft transcript system, but every bit high quality digital cameras become cheaper this measure will be eliminated.

Satellite distant feeling provides another of import beginning of spacial informations. Remote feeling collects raster informations that can be farther processed to place objects and categories of involvement, such as forested countries. The disadvantages are that the declaration is frequently excessively class or detectors are restricted by cloud screen.

Entering informations into GIS normally requires redacting, to take mistakes, or farther processing. For vector informations it must be made “ topologically right ” before it can be used for some advanced analysis. For illustration, in a route web, lines must link with nodes at an intersection. For scanned maps, defects on the beginning map may necessitate to be removed from the ensuing raster. To guarantee that the information is specific and dependable and that represents every bit closely as possible the spacial universe we live in, it requires a quality insurance procedure to pull off completeness, cogency, logical consistence, physical consistence, referential unity and positional truth of informations.

Raster-to-vector interlingual rendition

Vectorisation is the procedure of change overing raster informations into vector informations. For illustration, a GIS may be used to change over a satellite image map to a vector construction by bring forthing lines around all cells with the same categorization, while finding the cell spacial relationships.

One of the biggest jobs with informations obtained from external beginnings is that they can be encoded in many different formats. Many tools have been developed to travel informations between systems and to recycle informations through unfastened application programming interfaces. Therefore, a GIS must be able to change over geographic informations from one construction to another.


When informations is captured, the user should see if the information should be captured with either a comparative truth or absolute truth, as this could non merely act upon how information will be interpreted but besides the cost of informations gaining control.

Vector informations can be manipulated, beds can be turned on and off, informations can be edited or deleted and extra informations can be added in. Raster information is normally used as a background map. Raster is non every bit intelligent as Vector, Rigaux et Al. ( 2002: p.39 ) states the construction is unluckily non powerful plenty to guarantee the rightness of the representation. It is more utile as a show map for booklets, cyberspace and power point presentations.

Oosterom Van, P.J. ( 1993: p.vii ) states the of all time increasing availabilitiy of hardware such as digitisers, scanners workstations, in writing shows, pressmans and schemers for the input, processing, and end product of geographic informations merely partially explains the turning involvement in GISs. GIS allows us to see, understand, inquiry, interpret, and visualise informations in many ways that reveal relationships, forms, and tendencies in the signifier of maps, Earths, studies, and charts. GIS helps one reply inquiries and work out jobs by looking at informations in a manner that is rapidly understood and easy shared.

Figure 3 – Gilbert continues to germinate

Beginning: Cummens 2010 ERSI

Many forces are meeting transforming how we work and bettering efficiency and determination devising ( see Fig. 3 above ) . GIS Is going Mainstream Technology traveling beyond focused applications ( Cummens 2010 ) . GIS is assisting citizens, concern and Government by bettering planning, direction, communications and determination devising.


Cummens, Patricia ( 2010 ) Geographic Information Enabling a Smart Government and Economy at the SCS Conference 2010. ESRI.

Ellis, F. ( 2001 ) Introduction to GIS. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.

Oosterom Van, P.J. ( 1993 ) Reactive Data Structures for Geographic Information Systems. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rigaux, P. , Scholl, M. , Voisard, A ( 2002 ) Spatial Databases with Applications to GIS. San Fransisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

hypertext transfer protocol: // article=4bf958eb-bf0b-4b28-a0d9-24586fadbaab Accessed 27/10/2010

Cite this page

Vector And Raster Data In Gis Computer Science Essay. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7