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Establishing robustness of a spatial dataset in a tolerance‐based vector model

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Transactions in GIS

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Spatial data are usually described through a vector model in which geometries are represented by a set of coordinates embedded into an Euclidean space. The use of a finite representation, instead of the real numbers theoretically required, causes many robustness problems which are well known in the literature. Such problems are made even worse in a distributed context, where data is exchanged between different systems and several perturbations can be introduced in the data representation. In order to discuss the robustness of a spatial dataset, two implementation models have to be distinguished: the identity and the tolerance model. The robustness of a dataset in the identity model has been widely discussed in the literature and some algorithms of the Snap Rounding (SR) family can be successfully applied in such contexts. Conversely, this problem has been less explored in the tolerance model. The aim of this article is to propose an algorithm inspired by those of the SR family for establishing or restoring the robustness of a vector dataset in the tolerance model. The main ideas are to introduce an additional operation which spreads instead of snapping geometries, in order to preserve the original relation between them, and to use a tolerance region for such an operation instead of a single snapping location. Finally, some experiments on real‐world datasets are presented, confirming how the proposed algorithm can establish the robustness of a dataset.