Spatial Concept Perspectives

We have gathered ~300 excerpts from published works about fundamental spatial concept terms. These have been cross-referenced with the concept lexicon appearing on the left. Those terms were drawn from the U.S.National Science Education Standards (NSES 1996) for topic areas B - Physical Science, C - Life Science, D - Earth and Space Science, as well as from the 1994 U.S. Geography Teaching Standards for grades 9-12. Those standards can be browsed here.

spatial concept terms

disciplinary perspectives on "adjacency"


Adjacency can be thought of as the nominal, or binary, equivalent of distance. Two spatial entities are either adjacent or they are not, and we usually do not allow a middle ground (p. 36/see source for more).


O'Sullivan and Unwin (2002)

Geographic Information Analysis


To comprehend the location of two objects through understanding of distance measurements (p. 95)


Golledge, et al. (2008)

Matching geospatial concepts with geographic educational needs


Recognize closeness in space or find nearest neighbors in a distribution (p. 698)


Marsh, et al. (2008)

Geospatial Concept Understanding and Recognition in G6-College Students: A Preliminary Argument for Minimal GIS


[OED]: 1. The quality or state of being adjacent, or of lying near; contiguity.


OED Online (2nd Ed.)

Oxford English Dictionary, Online Edition

adjacency and connectivity

Topic AM3-6. List different ways connectivity can be determined in a raster and in a polygon dataset; Describe real world applications where adjacency and connectivity are a critical component of analysis; Explain the nine-intersection model for spatial relationships; Demonstrate how adjacency and connectivity can be recorded in matrices; Calculate various measures of adjacency in a polygon dataset; Create a matrix describing the pattern of adjacency in a set of planar enforced polygons.


DiBiase, et al. (2006)

Geographic Information Science and Technology Body of Knowledge


a spatial relation correspond(ing) to a very primitive function; one involved in the segregation of units, or in a general way, the analysis of elements making up a global or syncretic whole (p 7)


Piaget and Inhelder (1967)

The Child's Conception of Space