What is Vector Data?

Vector data is a type of data used to represent geographic objects that contain location and attribute information in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Vector data represents spatial data using geometric shapes or vectors, such as points, lines, and polygons. Each of these geometric shapes is stored along with its location coordinates and other attribute information.

GIS applications can perform various tasks such as creating maps, navigation applications, location, object identification, and environmental analysis using vector data.

Types of Vector Data - GIS

Point Data: A vector data type represented by the coordinates of a geographic location. It is used to show the location of a particular feature. For example, the location of a business or a restaurant can be represented as point data.

Line Data: Geometric shapes formed by the combination of two points. In GIS, geographic areas with linear features such as roads, rivers, and railways can be represented using line data.

Polygon Data: Closed geometric shapes formed by the combination of at least three points. In GIS, polygon data is used to represent areas such as lakes, parks, and buildings. Polygon data can store both boundary and attribute information of an area.

What are the Differences between Vector Data and Raster Data?

  1. Representation: Vector data represents geographic objects using geometric shapes such as points, lines, and polygons; while raster data uses cell and pixel grids.
  2. Usage: Vector data is more suitable for representing geographic area boundaries such as roads, boundary lines, buildings, and water sources, while raster data is more suitable for representing continuously changing data such as elevation maps, climate maps, aerial photographs, and satellite images.
  3. Precision: Vector data can represent more precise spatial features and can accurately determine geographic boundaries. Raster data, on the other hand, is determined by resolution (pixel size) and image quality can deteriorate when scaled.
  4. Editing: Vector data can generally be easier to edit and update compared to raster data because each property can be changed individually without affecting the others.
  5. Storage: Vector data stores geographic data boundaries and attribute information together, while raster data stores attribute information for each pixel separately.

What are the Advantages of Vector Data?

  1. Providing Detailed Data: It can be used to analyze and query the relationships and attributes of geographic objects. For example, a GIS application can use vector data to identify settlement areas affected by fault lines or to determine the distribution of water sources.
  2. Accurate Navigation: It provides accurate guidance to users in navigation systems and mapping applications. For example, a GIS application can use vector data to create a route plan for vehicle users.
  3. Thematic Mapping: Using the information on the data page for geographic objects, they can be displayed in specific colors. For example, a GIS application can show the number of museums by province on a thematic map.
  4. Organization: It can be used in decision-making and planning processes in areas such as urban planning, environmental protection, and resource management. For example, a GIS application can use vector data to analyze and develop land use in a specific area.

Examples of Vector Data Storage

  • • MapInfo Tab (*.tab): This file format is used by the MapInfo Pro program, one of the GIS software, for storing vector data. When the data file is opened in MapInfo, MapInfo creates a table. This table has 4 extensions representing the data sheet and the map. These are;

*.tab: opens the MapInfo *.tab format. This file extension defines the structure of the table. It is a small text file that describes the format of the file containing the data. This extension enables the other extensions to work.

*.dat: This file extension contains information from the database.

*.map: This file extension defines the map objects.

*.id: This file extension is a reference file that connects data with map objects.

  • • Shapefile (*.shp): It is one of the oldest and most widely used methods for storing vector data. It keeps the geometric shapes and attributes of geographic objects together. Each shapefile consists of at least three files: .shp (geometry), .dbf (attribute), and .shx (index) files.
  • • Spatialite: It is a method for storing vector data in SQLite database format. Spatialite is also a lightweight and free vector data storage method because SQLite is a lightweight and free database management system.
  • • PostGIS: It is a geographic database extension built on the PostgreSQL database management system. PostGIS supports the storage of vector data as well as related attributes and geographic functions. PostgreSQL and PostGIS are free and open-source, and supported by a large community.

Examples of Vector Data

  1. Point Data: Data that specifies a single location, such as important points, electric poles, and valves belonging to the water network. Examples include Başarsoft address data, Kaydet.com, Eczanem Nerede Application, etc.
  2. Line Data: Data that connects natural or artificial structures, such as roads, rivers, railways, telecommunications lines, and ship routes. Examples include Başarsoft river data, road network data, etc.
  3. Polygon Data: Data that represents closed areas such as provinces, districts, neighborhoods, regions, and countries. Examples include Başarsoft city-district-neighborhood boundary data etc.

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