Reviewing Geospatial Database Uncertainty with New Technologies

The paper published by Hunter et al. in 1991 had categorized the challenges of uncertainty in Geographic Information Science (GIS) study into 3 types: definition, communication, and management. Authors begun with the presentation of error visualization, and discussed the uncertainty in visualization. Then, the approaches for error management in geospatial databases were pointed out, and the future research directions as well.

Authors also mentioned it was very helpful to look at the system logs for uncertainty determination. It might be a good solution at the time this paper was published, but currently system log analysis becomes a great challenge in pattern recognition study due to their high dimension. So the new question becomes: What is the tolerance for the uncertainty in system log analysis?

Uncertainty reduction and absorption were proposed as two solutions for error management. Authors utilized several good examples to demonstrate these two solutions. But with new challenges in GIS research (e.g., data intensity), these two solutions should be changed accordingly.

In their paper, authors also mentioned that the main reason that caused the poor utilization was the lack of confidence of the system, due to the fact that user cannot obtain enough information about the quality of the databases and the unacceptable errors. This might be true in the past, but nowadays Bayesian Network technique is utilized to handle this problem, as Lackey et al. presented in (Laskey, K.B., Wright, E.J. & da Costa, P.C.G., 2010. Envisioning uncertainty in geospatial information. International journal of approximate reasoning, 51(2), pp.209–223.)


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