Concepts of space, time and scale

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Mikko Vastaranta, Ninni Saarinen, Tuomas Yrttimaa, Timo Tokola


Concepts of space, time and scale as well as their underpinning theories are crucial for understanding geospatial data. Space can be defined as a boundless, three-dimensional (3D) extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. Space has been considered to be absolute, meaning that it exists permanently and independently regardless of any matter in space. Alternatively, space can be seen as a collection of relations between objects, given by their distance and direction from one another. It has also been shown that space around the gravitational fields deviates from Euclidean space. Time, on the other hand, is considered to be part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare their durations and the intervals between them, as well as to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects. However, this operational and practical definition of time does not provide arguments for whether there is really something called time, outside of counting activity that can be measured. Scale is not as controversial as space and time. The scale of a map is an important metric defining the level of detail of geoinformation that can be extracted from such a map. Only recently, scale has been started to consider as a fifth dimension.



Forest Sciences, Geographic Information Sciences, Geography, Life Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences


forest sciences, geoinformatics


Published: 2020-04-12 02:00


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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