Reasoning about Cardinal Directions between Extended Objects

Article, Preprint English OPEN
Zhang, Xiaotong ; Liu, Weiming ; Li, Sanjiang ; Ying, Mingsheng (2009)
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
  • Journal: Artificial Intelligence (issn: 0004-3702, vol: 174, pp: 951-983)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.artint.2010.05.006
  • Subject: Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence | Artificial Intelligence

Direction relations between extended spatial objects are important commonsense knowledge. Recently, Goyal and Egenhofer proposed a formal model, known as Cardinal Direction Calculus (CDC), for representing direction relations between connected plane regions. CDC is perhaps the most expressive qualitative calculus for directional information, and has attracted increasing interest from areas such as artificial intelligence, geographical information science, and image retrieval. Given a network of CDC constraints, the consistency problem is deciding if the network is realizable by connected regions in the real plane. This paper provides a cubic algorithm for checking consistency of basic CDC constraint networks, and proves that reasoning with CDC is in general an NP-Complete problem. For a consistent network of basic CDC constraints, our algorithm also returns a 'canonical' solution in cubic time. This cubic algorithm is also adapted to cope with cardinal directions between possibly disconnected regions, in which case currently the best algorithm is of time complexity O(n^5).
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