Basser Seminar Series

Topological Structures for Spatial Databases in Two and Three Dimensions

Prof. T. H. Merrett, McGill University, Montreal
Florida State University

WEDNESDAY, 29 March 2006, 4-5pm
Basser Conference Room (Madsen Building, Room G92


This is a data structures talk disguised as a G.I.S. talk. A data structure is a time-varying collection of relations (to paraphrase the late Edgar Frank Codd): we are working with data structures at a very high level, and suited to secondary storage.

In two dimensions, faces are cycles of edges and vertices are cycles of edges. In three dimensions, faces are cycles of edges and edges are cycles of faces. These insights provide the basis for topologies of components of any number of dimensions in two- and three- (and more-) dimensional spaces, as might be used for mapping, computer-aided design, etc. We give data structures and basic operations for two- and three-dimensional topologies.

The talk will be expository and will use examples rather than abstractions to illustrate these basic ideas of spatial data.

Speaker's biography

Professor Merrett's main research work is in database, and to unification of database and programming language concepts such as relations, functions and objects. His group at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, has also published new data structures and retrieval algorithms for secondary storage. The Aldat Project at McGill University is situated at the conflux of databases and programming languages, linking the fundamental concepts of both to achieve greater generality in principle and greater flexibility in practice.