Envisioning uncertainty in geospatial information

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Geospatial reasoning has been an essential aspect of military planning since the invention of cartography. Although maps have always been a focal point for developing situational awareness, the dawning era of network-centric operations brings the promise of unprecedented battlefield advantage due to improved geospatial situational awareness. Geographic information systems (GIS) and GIS-based decision support systems are ubiquitous within current military forces, as well as civil and humanitarian organizations. Understanding the quality of geospatial data is essential to using it intelligently. A systematic approach to data quality requires: estimating and describing the quality of data as they are collected; recording the data quality as metadata; propagating uncertainty through models for data processing; exploiting uncertainty appropriately in decision support tools; and communicating to the user the uncertainty in the final product. There are shortcomings in the state-of-the-practice in GIS applications in dealing with uncertainty. No single point solution can fully address the problem. Rather, a system-wide approach is necessary. Bayesian reasoning provides a principled and coherent framework for representing knowledge about data quality, drawing inferences from data of varying quality, and assessing the impact of data quality on modeled effects. Use of a Bayesian approach also drives a requirement for appropriate probabilistic information in geospatial data quality metadata. This paper describes our research on data quality for military applications of geospatial reasoning, and describes model views appropriate for model builders, analysts, and end users. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Laskey, K. B., Wright, E. J., & da Costa, P. C. G. (2010). Envisioning uncertainty in geospatial information. International Journal of Approximate Reasoning, 51(2), 209–223. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijar.2009.05.011

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