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Geospatial Data: Definition & Example

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  • 0:04 Navigating Our Lives
  • 0:38 What Is Geospatial Data?
  • 1:31 Geospatial Data Use
  • 2:01 Examples
  • 2:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

In this lesson, we'll take a look at geospatial data, what it is, and some examples of its use. At the end, you should have a good understanding of this important concept.

Navigating Our Lives

We humans seem to be constantly moving. We have an inherent need to get from point A to point B. First thing in the morning, we make our way to the bathroom. After breakfast, maybe we bus or drive ourselves to work. And on the weekends, maybe we take our kids to their sporting events. It's a never-ending cycle that takes us here and there. But, how do we find our destinations? How do we navigate the path that gets us there? Most of the time we go to places we've already been. We simply use memory. For those places that we haven't gone to yet, we may use another method. That method will likely make use of geospatial data.

What Is Geospatial Data?

Geospatial data, or spatial data (as it's sometimes known), is information that has a geographic aspect to it. In other words, the records in this type of information set have coordinates, an address, city, postal code, or zip code included with them. The most obvious example is a road map. We see the rendered result, but the features on the map are stored with this type of information included in them.

There are two basic types or forms of geospatial data:

  • Vector - This form uses points, lines, and polygons to represent spatial features such as cities, roads, and streams.

  • Raster - This form uses cells (computers often use dots or pixels) to represent spatial features. Cities are single cells, roads are linear sequences of cells, and streams are collections of adjacent cells. An example of this is remote satellite data.

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