An improved spatial contour tree constructed method
Contours are important data to delineate the landform on a map. A contour tree provides an object-oriented description of landforms and can be used to enrich the topological information. The traditional contour tree is used to store topological relationships between contours in a hierarchical structure and allows for the identification of eminences and depressions as sets of nested contours. This research proposes an improved contour tree so-called spatial contour tree that contains not only the topological but also the geometric information. It can be regarded as a terrain skeleton in 3-dimention, and it is established based on the spatial nodes of contours which have the latitude, longitude and elevation information. The spatial contour tree is built by connecting spatial nodes from low to high elevation for a positive landform, and from high to low elevation for a negative landform to form a hierarchical structure. The connection between two spatial nodes can provide the real distance and direction as a Euclidean vector in 3-dimention. In this paper, the construction method is tested in the experiment, and the results are discussed. The proposed hierarchical structure is in 3-demintion and can show the skeleton inside a terrain. The structure, where all nodes have geo-information, can be used to distinguish different landforms and applied for contour generalization with consideration of geographic characteristics.