The main difference between attribute data and spatial data is that the attribute data describes the characteristics of a geographical feature while spatial data describes the absolute and relative location of geographic features.
Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based tool or a technology to manage, analyze and display geographically referenced information. GIS provides multiple facilities such as data capturing, data management, analysis, presentation, etc. It allows the users to visualize and understand the relationships between Geo data in forms of maps, reports, charts etc. The basic data types available in GIS define the usual data on a map. There are mainly two types of data as attribute and spatial data.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Attribute Data
– Definition, Functionality
2. What is Spatial Data
– Definition, Functionality
3. Difference Between Attribute Data and Spatial Data
– Comparison of key differences
Attribute Data, GIS, Spatial Data
What is Attribute Data
Attribute data are descriptions or measurements of geographic features in a map. It refers to detailed data that combines with spatial data. Attribute data helps to obtain the meaningful information of a map. Every feature has characteristics that we can describe. For example, assume a building. It has a built year, the number of floors, etc. Those are attributes. Attributes are the facts we know, but not visible such as the built year. It can also represent the absence of a feature.
Usually, a table helps to display attribute data. Each row represents a single feature. In a GIS, clicking on the row will highlight the corresponding feature on the map.
What is Spatial Data
Spatial data consists of points, lines, polygons or other geographic and geometric data primitives that we can map by location. It is possible to maintain spatial data as vector data or raster data. Each provides information connected to geographical locations. Vector data consist of sequential points or vertices to define a linear segment. It has an x coordinate and a y coordinate. Furthermore, raster data consists of a matrix of cells or pixels arranged into rows and columns. Each cell contains a value representing information.
Difference Between Attribute Data and Spatial Data
Attribute data refers to the characteristics of geographical features that are quantitative and/or qualitative in nature while spatial data refers to all types of data objects or elements that are present in a geographical space or horizon. Thus, this is the main difference between attribute data and spatial data.
Methods of achieving
Town planning and management departments, fire departments, environmental groups and online media help to obtain attribute data while satellite images and scanned maps help to obtain spatial data.
Attribute data describes the characteristics of a geographical feature while spatial data describes the absolute and relative location of a geographic feature. Hence, this is another difference between attribute data and spatial data.
GIS helps to analyze resources such as water, urban areas, roads, coasts, vegetation, etc. It also allows solving problems related to pollution, forestry, health, agriculture, health and many other areas. The main difference between Attribute Data and Spatial Data is that the attribute data describes the characteristics of a geographical feature while spatial data describes the absolute and relative location of geographic features.
1.Ouma, Leonard. 3 Attribute Data Part 1, Leonard Ouma, 14 July 2016, Available here.
2.Richard. “GIS Introduction by David J. Buckey.” Module 4 – Water Hyacinth, Available here.
3.“What Is Spatial Data? – Definition from Techopedia.” Techopedia.com, Available here.
1.”Editing a cartography layer with the gvSIG 1.0″ By Emilio Gómez Fernández – Own work (CC BY 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia