A Euler number-based topological computation model for land parcel database updating

Xiao Guang Zhou, Jun Chen, F. Benjamin Zhan, Zhilin Li, Marguerite Madden, Ren Liang Zhao, Wan Zeng Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Intersection relations are important topological considerations in database update processes. The differentiation and identification of non-empty intersection relations between new updates and existing objects is one of the first steps in the automatic incremental update process for a land parcel database. The basic non-empty intersection relations are meet, overlap, cover, equal and inside, but these basic relationships cannot reflect the complex and detailed non-empty relations between a new update and the existing objects. It is therefore necessary to refine the basic non-empty topological relations to support and trigger the relevant update operations. Such relations have been refined by several researchers using topological invariants (e.g., dimension, type and sequence) to represent the intersection components. However, the intersection components often include only points and lines, and the refined types of 2-dimensional intersection components that occur between land parcels have not been defined. This study examines the refinement of non-empty relations among 2-dimensional land parcels and proposes a computation model. In this model, an entire spatial object is directly used as the operand, and two set operations (i.e., intersection (∩) and difference (\)) are applied to form the basic topological computation model. The Euler number is introduced to refine the relations with a single 2-dimensional intersection (i.e., cover, inside and overlap) and to distinguish the refined types of 2-dimensional intersection components for the relations with multiple intersections. In this study, the cover and overlap relations with single intersections between regions are refined into seven cases, and nine basic types of 2-dimensional intersection components are distinguished. A composite computation model is formed with both Euler number values and dimensional differences. In this model, the topological relations with single intersections are differentiated by the value of the dimension and the Euler number of the resulting set of the whole-object intersection and differences, whereas the relations with multiple intersections are discriminated by the value of the resulting set at a coarse level and are further differentiated by the type and sequence of the whole-object intersection component in a hierarchical manner. Based on the refined topological relations, an improved method for automatic and incremental updating of the land parcel database is presented. The effectiveness of the models and algorithms was verified by the incremental update of a land cover database. The results of this study represent a new avenue for automatic spatial data handling in incremental update processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1983-2005
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • 2-dimensional intersection
  • Euler number
  • GIS
  • incremental updating
  • refined
  • topological relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


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