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Lukas Künzel [05-2008]:

Modelling Time in Geodatabases

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"Space and time are among the most fundamental of notions. They provide a basis for ordering all modes of thought and belief." (Peuquet, 2002). For the dimension of space it is state of the art to store information about real world phenomena in geodatabases. The fundamental units of geography are called features (OpenGIS_Consortium, 1999) which are implemented as rows of database tables including one column for the location on the earth's surface. To provide appropriate standards for querying and analysing features the Open Geospatial Consortium had developed the relevant specifications. The most important concept was to extend the relational model defined by Codd (Codd, 1970) in order to integrate space into a data base. This concept is described in the simple feature specification (OpenGIS_Consortium, 2006a) where geometries representing a location on the earth's surface are implemented as user defined data types. The simple feature specification is implemented on a widespread basis by major RDBMS vendors and is the state of the art technique for storing information about the real world objects. Besides space the second fundamental dimension of our life is time (Peuquet, 2002). In the past much effort had been done to integrate time into databases. What was common to all developments was the extension of the relation model defined by Codd (Codd, 1970). But what is left until today is an angreement of major database vendors on how to integrate time. This is in sharp contrast to the dimension of space where there already exists an industry for spatial databases. The main goal of this work is to transform time into geometry in order to integrate it into geodatabases. The idea is mainly based on the concept of geometry time within the ISO 19108 standard (ISO, 2002). But already Frank (Frank, Egenhofer, & Colledge, 1998) had identified that it may be a natural approach to transform time into geometry which corresponds in some aspects to the perception of time of humans.

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