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Vectorization

  • By: John A. Olson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Vectorization is the process of converting or transforming a scanned image or raster file by digitizing features into sets of X, Y coordinates and then using software to create a vector file or layers of points, lines, and polygons that represent corresponding features from the parent raster image. After vectorization, attribute data can be assigned to the points, lines, and polygons.

Vectorization is part of a larger set of tools within geographic information systems (GIS) software programs. Vectorized data can be used to study, learn, and make decisions about how humans interact with their surroundings, resources, other living things, or the larger environment.

In the early days of GIS, the process of vectorization was known by terms such as raster-vector restructuring, line extraction, and line modeling. Line ...

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