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Cardinal directions: a comparison of direction relation matrix and objects interaction matrix

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How to express and reason with cardinal directions between extended objects such as lines and regions is an important problem in qualitative spatial reasoning (QSR), a common subfield of geographical information science and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The direction relation matrix (DRM) model, proposed by Goyal and Egenhofer in 1997, is one very expressive relation model for this purpose. Unlike many other relation models in QSR, the set-theoretic converse of a DRM relation is not necessarily representable in DRM. Schneider et al. regard this as a serious shortcoming and propose, in their work published in ACM TODS (2012), the objects interaction matrix (OIM) model for modelling cardinal directions between complex regions. OIM is also a tiling-based model that consists of two phases: the tiling phase and the interpretation phase. Although it was claimed that OIM is a novel concept, we show that it is not so different from DRM if we represent the cardinal direction of two regions a and b by both the DRM of a to b and that of b to a. Under this natural assumption, we give methods for computing DRMs from OIMs and vice versa, and show that OIM is almost the same as DRM in the tiling phase, and becomes less precise after interpretation. Furthermore, exploiting the similarity between the two models, we prove that the consistency of a complete basic OIM network can be decided in cubic time. This answers an open problem raised by Schneider et al. regarding efficient algorithms for reasoning with OIM.
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Keywords: cardinal directions; direction relation matrix; objects interaction matrix; qualitative spatial reasoning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, Centre for Quantum Computation & Intelligent Systems, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia 2: Baidu (China) Co., Ltd, ., Shanghai, China

Publication date: February 1, 2015

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