“A prototype Spatial Data Management System” by Herot, Carling, Friedell and Kramlich

  • ©Christopher F. Herot, Richard Carling, Mark Friedell, and David Kramlich




    A prototype Spatial Data Management System



    Spatial Data Management is a technique for organizing and retrieving information by positioning it in a spatial framework. Data is accessed in a Spatial Data Management System (SDMS) via pictorial representations which are arranged in space and viewed through a computer graphics system. These pictures can be created by an interactive graphical editor, allowing an SDMS to serve as a personal repository of diagrams, text, and photographs. Pictograms can also be generated from data in a symbolic database management system, allowing SDMS to be used as an interface to large, shared databases. A prototype SDMS has been constructed which employs a set of color, raster scan displays driven by a large minicomputer. The user can create and examine data surfaces which are larger than the display screen, traversing a surface and zooming in and out to control the level of detail displayed. The prototype system provides a uniform mechanism for accessing a wide variety of data types in a manner which does not require the use of a formal command or query language.


    1. Hendrix, G., Sacerdoti, E., Sagalowicz, D., Slocum, J., “Developing a Natural Language Interface to Complex Data”, ACM Transactions on Database Systems 3:2, June, 1978.
    2. Woods, W., Kaplan, R., Nash-Webber, B., The Lunar Sciences Natural Language Information System, Bolt Beranek and Newman, Cambridge, Mass., June, 1972.
    3. Zloof, M., “Query by Example”, Proc. AFIPS 1975 NCC, Vol 44, AFIPS Press, Montvale, N.J.
    4. McDonald, N., Stonebraker, M., “CUPID: The Friendly Query Language”, Proc. ACM Pacific Conference, San Francisco, April, 1975.
    5. Donelson, W., “Spatial Management of Information”, Proc. ACM SIGGRAPH 1978, Atlanta, Georgia.
    6. Bolt, R., Spatial Data Management, Architecture Machine Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1979.
    7. Robertson, G., McCracken, D., Newell, A. The ZOG Approach to Man-Machine Communication, technical report CMU-CS-79-148, Department of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, October, 1979.
    8. Stonebraker, M., Held, G., Wong, E., “INGRES – A Relational Data Base System”, Proc. AFIPS, Volume 44.
    9. Shoup, R., “Superpaint..the Digital Animator”, Datamation, May, 1979.
    10. Smith, A. Paint, Tech. Memo No. 7, Computer Graphics Lab, New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, NY, July, 1978.
    11. Herot, C., Carling, R., Friedell, M., Kramlich, D., and Thompson, J., “Spatial Data Management System Semi-Annual Technical Report,” Technical Report CCA-79-25, June, 1979.
    12. Weller, D., Williams, R., “Graphic and Database Support for Problem Solving”, Proc ACM SIGGRAPH 1976, Philadelphia.
    13. Ritchie, D., Thompson, K., “The UNIX Time Sharing System”, Communications of the ACM, 17:7, July 1974.

ACM Digital Library Publication:

Overview Page: