Accession Number:

ADA231413

Title:

What Is a Hill? An Analysis of the Meanings of Generic Topographic Terms

Descriptive Note:

Research rept. 1 Jun-15 Aug 1985

Corporate Author:

BATTELLE MEMORIAL INST RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK NC

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1985-08-01

Pagination or Media Count:

111.0

Abstract:

This report is part of the effort to generate artificial intelligence systems for aerial photo interpretation. Such a system requires symbolic definitions of generic topographic terms, especially if the system is to interact with a human operator. The author analyzes the meanings of terms such as hill, plain, and terrain, and adjectival descriptors such as blocky, rugged, and large. A review of literature on topography, geomorphology, and terrain analysis reveals that generic topographic terms occur frequently in descriptions of terrain, especially those intended to communicate the perceptual form of terrain. Yet such concepts--rooted in perception, judgment, and experience--are rarely defined. A terrain analysis data base of over 1,000 propositions about the knowledge of expert aerial photo interpreters was analyzed to extract and categorize approximately 100 generic terms and 250 generic descriptors. The authors approach to defining these terms is based on concepts from ecological optics and the psychology of perception. The definitions themselves are built on concepts from the literature of terrain analysis and topography. This study has implications for practicing terrain analysts and aerial photo interpreters, as well as for the field of artificial intelligence. It suggests some new methods for describing terrain and some clarifications of traditional terminology.

Subject Categories:

  • Information Science
  • Cartography and Aerial Photography
  • Geography

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE