Precision is a key component of spatial data quality and in this era of globally distributed spatial data it is essential to be able to integrate multiple distributed data sets with heterogeneous levels of precision. Imprecision arises through limitations on semantic and geometric resolution of data representations. Generalization, and in particular model- oriented generalization, is an important process in this context, because it enables translation between different levels of precision. This paper provides a formal approach to multi-resolution in spatial data handling. It begins by motivating the work and pointing to some of the background research, and then introduces the basic concepts underlying the approach, focusing on the new concept of a stratified map space. The approach is quite general, and to show its application, the paper uses it to provide a formal foundation for generalization and vague regions.
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