The main difference between raster and vector data is that the raster data represents data as a cell or a grid matrix while vector data represents data using sequential points or vertices.
Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based tool or technology to manage, analyze and display geographically referenced information. Users can visualize, and understand the relationships between geo data in forms of reports, charts, maps etc. using GIS. One data type or data structure available in GIS is spatial data. It is possible to maintain spatial data as vector data or raster data. In brief, raster data is continuous data whereas vector data is discrete data.
Key Areas Covered
Raster Data, Vector Data
What is Raster Data
Raster data consists of pixels. Each pixel has an associated value. A grid of cells represents this data. In other words, it is a matrix of cells organized into rows and columns. Each cell has a value that represents information. Chemical concentrations and elevation surface are some examples of raster data.
Raster data is simple. They are easier to simulate as all the cells are of the same size and same shape. On the other hand, raster data can cause information loss. It can also be difficult to establish network linkages. Moreover, if there is no special hardware or algorithms, the projection transformations can be time-consuming.
What is Vector Data
Vector data uses sequential points or vertices to represent data. Each vertex contains x coordinate and a y coordinate. Administrative borders, linear features, roads, and rivers are some examples of vector data. Moreover, vector data display latitude and longitude using lines, points, polygons, etc.
Vector data provides multiple advantages. It helps to describe the entire topology. It also helps to represent accurate graphics. Moreover, it is also possible to generalize and update raster data. However, it is a complex data structure. It is difficult to simulate them as each unit has a different topological form. Furthermore, it can be expensive to display high-quality colors.
Difference Between Raster and Vector Data
Raster data is a type of spatial data that consists of a matrix of cells organized into rows and columns in which each cell represents specific information. Whereas, vector data is a type of spatial data used for storing data that has discrete boundaries. Thus, this is the main difference between raster and vector data.
Importantly, while raster data is continuous data, vector data is discrete data.
Another difference between raster and vector data is that raster data represents data in cells or in a grid matrix whereas vector data represents data using sequential points or vertices.
Moreover, raster data is simpler than vector data. Hence, this is also a difference between raster and vector data.
Temperature, air pressure, soil PH, ecotones, elevation, flow, and distance are some example of raster data. However, administrative borders, linear features, roads, and rivers are some examples of vector data.
Raster data and vector data are two types of spatial data in GIS. The main difference between Raster and Vector Data is that the raster data represents data as a cell or a grid matrix while vector data represents data using sequential points or vertices.