This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
, the concept of the database (the information to be stored) and the database management system (the software used to manage the database) were developed. Today, sophisticated database management systems (DBMS) are used to handle enormous databases. A database is essentially a collection of information about things and there relationships. For example, a database may consists of names and addresses, land – quality, uses, ownership, etc information. The items stored in a database may also include processes, for example, the process of erosion, water pollution and agricultural development may be related to “rain forest clear-cutting”. A database is therefore formally defined as “an organized collection of related sets of data, managed in such a way as to enable the user(s) or the application program(s) to view the complete collection or a logical subset of the collection as a single unit” (Oxbrow, 1986). Early database systems, like other computer software, were developed to provide a well-defined set of functions using a specified set of data. The data were stored as one or more computer files that were accessed by special purpose database software. This file processing approach to database management is illustrated in Figure 3.3 below showing a university administration application.
Figure 3.3 Sharing data files among applications in the File Processing Environment
The file processing approach has some serious drawbacks. First, since each application program/user must directly access each data file that it/he/she uses, the program/user must know how the data in each file are stored. This can create considerable redundancy. Secondly, if modifications are made to the data file, access instructions must be modified too. Another problem arises when data are used by different application programs/users who can access and modify data and access information i.e. lack of central control which jeopardises data integrity/quality.
Redundancy can be reduced or controlled. Several advantages arise from this notion of centralized control. Such a situation contrasts sharply with that found in an organization without a database system. The user of a database system has the facilities to perform a variety of operations on such files.4 Sharing data files among applications in a Data Base Management System Environment (Aronoff. a repository for a collection of computerized data files (Date. whereas the database itself can be regarded as an electronic filling cabinet of some kind i. The DBMS concept is an important improvement over the file processing approach. where typically each application (section) has its own private files – quite often its own private diskettes and PCs too – so that operational data is widely dispersed and is therefore quite difficult to control in any systematic way (Date.It can thus be seen that a database system is essentially nothing more than a computerized record keeping system. A DBMS is a set of computer programmes that control data input. 1986:1). including the following among others: • Adding new files to the database • Inserting new data into existing files • Retrieving data from existing files • Updating data in existing files • Deleting data from existing files • Removing existing files from the database To facilitate this. Advantages This concept of centralized data implies that there will be some identifiable person who has control responsibility for the operational data. The DBMS acts as a central control over all interactions between the database and the application programs/users as shown below. storage. Among others these include: 1. Figure 3. 1989) The database approach provides organizations with centralized control of its operational data. 1986:15).e. 1986:12). retrieval/output from a digital database (Burrough. . a database management system (DBMS) is used.
This often leads to considerable redundancy in stored data with the resultant waste in storage and executing time. This implies a) ensuring that access to the database is through proper channels – use of passwords. . c) updates are controlled and streamlined. Likewise. This problem is solved in a database system by integrating the various files for example a) in a university database the academic vs the administration files.In non-database systems each application/user has its own files. Standards can be enforced. but also that new applications/users can be developed or incorporated to use the same stored data. 3. 2. national. deletion and modification. b) in a business organization creditors vs debtors files. Sharing means not only that existing users/applications sharing the data in the database. 5. etc. where update is taken to include all the operations of insertion. Inconsistencies can be avoided (to some extent). Security restrictions can be applied. b) impose security checks whenever access to sensitive data is attempted. 4. With central control of the database approach it is easy to ensure that all applicable data standards (organizational. data naming (coding) and documentation standards are also very desirable as an aid to data sharing and understandability. This means that it is possible to satisfy the data requirements of new users/applications without having to create any additional stored data. This occurs particularly during updates when one user or department updates their files and others don’t then there arises some inconsistencies. Data can be shared more easily/efficiently. Standardizing stored data is particularly desirable and can aid data interchange or migration between systems. When redundancy is controlled/eliminated by files integration in a database such inconsistencies will not occur since data update is entirely controlled – in a process referred to as propagating updates. regional or international) are observed in the representation and coding of data.
Cost Comprehensive DMBS are expensive to purchase and give rise to additional overheads when in operation – overheads in terms of processing and storage space. fixed format records. the DBMS is a complex piece of software and requires database experts both to look after it and also design and develop the database and applications. DBMS separate the data from programmes that access it thus reducing access barriers and hence enhancing horizontal and vertical integration. Rigidity Most DBMS’s were designed to manage particular type of data. Some large organizations are too complex to be modelled in a single database and multiple databases have to be accepted. Ensures data independence. Complexity Inevitably. location and arrangement) of the data stored. Figure below illustrates this concept using database comprising of client names. modify. addresses. Disadvantages There are some disadvantages associated with the database approach including: 1. each of these referred to a database view. etc). the creation of a single database containing all the organizations data is not always feasible. different security checks can be established for each type of access (retrieve. A DBMS organises data from the same source into information suitable for different users/uses. until recently. purchases and inventory information. update. Inefficiencies in processing Unexpected changes in usage patterns or changes in users may give rise to inefficiencies in processing data request. These data are presented using to views one for accounts . 6. other types of data such as text and graphics have had to be excluded from databases and even not the ability to include them are still quite restrictive. Since without such checks the security and integrity of the data is actually at a higher risk than in a traditional filing system. delete. In addition to the above disadvantages. 3. One of the primary functions of a database management system is to free the user and/or programmes from the responsibility of knowing the physical details (length. 2. it is essential to monitor the use of the database to detect such inefficiencies and if necessary re-structure the database 4.To ensure smooth running/sharing. This leaves the user with the chance to concentrate with the logical or informational aspects of the data.
Figure By providing different views. these are the hierarchical. In this chapter we shall look at four classical database models which have found wide applications in both business organizations and GIS. DATABASE MODELS The conceptual organization of a database is referred to as a database model. network. As we saw in the data organization section. Several database models with varying complexities. A record is a group of related data items stored together. relational and object-oriented database models. showing sales accounts and for inventory manager. the DBMS tailors the data base to each user – a very valuable function – without storing multiple copies of the same data. Profile ID 1 2 3 4 5 SERIES A B C D E pH 4 5 6 7 4 DEPTH Deep Shallow Shallow Deep Deep DRAINAGE Good Good Poor Good Poor TEXTURE Sandy Clay Sandy Clay Clay EROSION Severe Moderate Moderate Non Moderate .executive. the contents of a data file can be described using records and fields. which can be described as the style of describing and manipulating the data in a database. which can be thought of as one row in a table as shown below. showing items available. each with its own inherent advantages and disadvantages have been developed.
which is a label comprised of one or more fields by means of which a record can be identified/retrieved from the database. Figure 3. In the hierarchical database model the data are organized in a tree structure as shown in part A of Figure below. depth. The records represents the information pertaining to a particular entity/element. The Hierarchical Database Model When the data have a parent-child or one-to-many relation such as soil series within a soil family or an academic department within a university. Fields which are not designated as key fields are referred to as attribute fields. which is encoded in the data records for each entity as shown in part B. The field names are shown in the top half of each box and a sample data record is shown in the lower half. In our example the profile Id could be designated the key. being the methods used for animal and plant taxonomies. which is represented by the arrows connecting the key field (bolded) in each data record. land cover classification. The relations among the five entities (university.6 F 5 Shallow Poor Clay Non Here the first record contains information for the soil profile number 1. each of which contains an item of data. series name. lecturers and courses) are defined by the organization of the hierarchy. There is one key that is designated as the key field that is used to organize the hierarchy. We start by looking at the simplest model which is known as the hierarchal database model. 1989) . soil classification. pH. departments. for example the data fields in the table above include profile id. hierarchical methods provide quick and convenient means of data access.5 Organization of a Database Using the Hierarchical Database Model (Adapted from Aronoff. A record is divided into fields. soil profile. the key. We introduce another concept. Hierarchical systems of data organization are well–known in environmental science. etc. texture and erosion. A field defines where a particular type of data can be found in the record.
It is assumed that each part of the hierarchy can be reached using the key since it is assumed that there is a good correlation between the key attributes and the associated attributes that entities may posses. Retrieving information of all students or all lecturers (key fields) from a specific department is very easy since there is a direct link between student or lecturer with the departments. and one or more subordinate elements termed children. The university database used above is shown below using the network database model. the data searches are often exploratory and cannot be predicted in advance like in the case of bibliographic systems. An element can have only one parent but can have multiple children (one-to-many relationship). making the process inefficient. to find all course (non-key field) offered by a specific department requires a two stage search (search of all lecturers and then all courses associated to each lecturer). . Disadvantages To retrieve information one has to traverse the tree structure. Advantages Hierarchical systems are easy to understand and are also easy to update and expand. The Network Database Model Some of the inflexibilities of the hierarchical database model can be overcome by the network database model by allowing multiple parents as well as multiple children and by doing away with the root. Searches cannot be done on attribute fields. hierarchical database models are only good for data retrieval if the structure of all possible queries are known before hand so as to guide in the selection of key fields. Except for the root. The root may be represented by a record containing a single data field (as our case) or by a record containing many fields. However. The top of the hierarchy is referred to as the root and is composed of one entity. termed as its parent. This allows searching of data records directly without traversing the entire hierarchy above that record. in our example the University. every element has one higher level element related to it. In most geographical analyses. For example we cannot search for all second year students in the database above since the Year of Study field is not a key field. Consequently.
Each Student-Course combination is unique.e. the registration of students in courses. such relations can be handled using an intermediate relation . i. Network models tend to have less redundant data storage than corresponding hierarchical model. Registration Information Course Code Student ID Prof. 1.e. Course Name Course Code Course Time 3. adding to the size and complexity of the data files. ID Course Dept. Course Information 2. of Profs Other staff Grad students 5. Department and Lecturers entities. The Relational Database Model In its simplest form. the relational database model consists of data stored in simple records known as tuples which contain an ordered set of attribute values that are grouped together in two-dimensional tables known as relations. i. Although the network model does not allow many-t-many relations. The Student-Course is a many-to-many relation. Professor Information Prof Last First Experience Department .an intersection record as shown in Figure above. However more extensive linkage information is must be stored. Student Information Studen ID Last Name First Name Yr GPA Dept 4. Each table is usually a separate file. A search of all courses in a specified department can now be done more directly. each student can be enrolled in many courses and each course can have many students.e. In this example the intersection records represent the Student-Course combinations. Department Information Dept Name No.The Course entity can now have two parents i.
1989) In the relational database model there is no hierarchy of data fields within a record. Tables 1. A new table. Figure 3. Table 6 is created from this relational join operation. For example the Student Information table can be used to search for all students in year 4 just as easily as it would be to search for all students with last Koech.8 could be searched to generate a student list for a specific course. every data field can be used as a key. A search can be made of any of any single table using any of the attribute fields. singly or together. while Tables 2 and 3 are linked by the Student-ID attribute. In effect Table 1 is joined to Table 2 by Course-ID which they have in common.2 and 3 are joined by means of the Course-ID and Student-ID attributes.Figure 3.9 The Relational Join Operation The figure above illustrates how the database in Figure 3. The shared attribute need not itself be part of the relation being analysed. .8 Organization of a Database Using the Relational Database Model (Adapted from Aronoff. Searches of related attributes that are stored in different tables can be done by linking two or more tables using any attribute they share in common using a join operation.
It is able to accommodate diverse queries for which it was not specifically designed. This logical join operation gives the relational database model tremendous flexibility. it does not physically exist although it can be queried. This flexibility has made this model one of the most commonly used for storing attribute information in GIS.Table 6 is in fact a “virtual table”.e. i. .
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.