A hierarchical spatial data structure for global geographic information systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Hierarchical spatial data structures offer the distinct advantages of data compression and fast access, but are difficult to adapt to the globe. Following Dutton, we propose projecting the globe onto an octahedron and then recursively subdividing each of its eight triangular faces into four triangles. We provide procedures for addressing the hierarchy and for computing addresses in the hierarchical structure from latitude and longitude and vice versa. At any level in the hierarchy the finite elements are all triangles, but are only approximately equal in area and shape; we provide methods for computing area and for finding the addresses of neighboring triangles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalCVGIP: Graphical Models and Image Processing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'A hierarchical spatial data structure for global geographic information systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this