[OSGeo-Discuss] Thoughts on how to use elevation in routing

Bill Thoen bthoen at gisnet.com
Tue Sep 14 08:43:09 PDT 2010


Adding viewsheds to the package would certainly up the computing costs; 
I was wondering if you had a limit to what sort of processing power 
you've got there. ;-)

I also think what you're proposing might be interesting, but you have to 
be careful about what conclusions you can draw from it. At what point 
does the cost due to gradient variations become insignificant to the 
overall cost of a route for a particular type of vehicle? For a trucker 
on an interstate highway it doesn't signify because the statistical 
noise of factors such high speeds and short driving time balanced 
against the higher price of fuel, services and road freight taxes 
completely overwhelms the cost factor contributed by the change in 
gradients. So in those cases you'd be computing numbers but not saying 

A different scenario, where gradient /is/ a significant factor, would be 
a three-day 100 mile bike ride event through the mountains (like the 
'Ride the Rockies' event they hold around here every year.) The power 
that bicyclists can produce is so low that speeds and endurance are 
strongly affected by grades. But a bicyclist doesn't typically operate 
on the scale of the nation so applying the calculations to the entire 
TIGER file is overkill. Also, the bicyclist operates on such a large 
scale that the source data you're using to calculate gradient (30m DEM) 
may be too coarse to be reliable on the bicyclist's scale.

I'm not saying it isn't worth doing, I'm just saying you'll need to 
qualify the precision of your results before you can say much about 
applying this to any real-world problems.

- Bill Thoen

On 9/13/2010 5:28 PM, Stephen Woodbridge wrote:
> Bill,
> Thanks for the ideas. I might try to do something with the viewshed 
> idea in the future. It would need a LOT of computing to process all 
> the road segments in a National dataset like Tiger.
> But for now I would like to figure out the routing costs.
> One idea I had was to compute the grade for a segment and then compute 
> cost as:
> cost = (time or distance) * scalefactor * max(abs(grade), 1.0)
> This would have the effect of causing segments with a lot of grade to 
> have a higher cost of traversal.
> Or similarly, if you want to pick roads with a lot of elevation 
> changes then use cost factor like:
> cost = (time or distance) * scalefactor /
>        abs(sum_elevation_changes_over_the_segment)
> This would have the effect of decreasing the traversal cost for 
> segments that have a lot of elevation changes.
> These are pretty crude estimates and probably would need some fine 
> tuning to get reasonable results.
> Thanks,
>   -Steve W
> On 9/13/2010 4:24 PM, Bill Thoen wrote:
>> Stephen Woodbridge wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> (This is cross posting from the pgrouting list, sorry for the dups.)
>>> I have preprocessed some shapefile data and added elevation
>>> information in the Z value of the coordinates. I'm wondering how to
>>> best utilize that in routes and would like any thoughts or ideas you
>>> might be willing to share.
>>> The obvious answer is to wrap the elevation data into the cost values
>>> as this is simple and straight forward and does not require code
>>> changes. This brings me to what have other people done or thought
>>> about doing in this regard?
>> Since you seem to enjoy large database problems, have you considered
>> loading the DEM data together with the roads and sample the viewshed
>> every few km? You could then create an objective cost factor for
>> "scenic," proportional to the amount of land visible, with some
>> adjusting factor that distinguishes morphology, land cover, or other
>> weighted factors from each sample point. Creating a scale of "scenic"
>> and "picturesque" as it goes form "ho-hum flatland" to "precipitous,
>> brake-burning, wheel-gripping adventurous" might be fun all by itself.
>> If you're looking for 3D ideas, there's a GIS consulting company across
>> the hall from me that specializes in 3D information, visualization and
>> analysis, and I know they are working on web services to deliver the
>> sort of data that an application like yours would consume. Their website
>> is full of 3D imagery, articles and examples that you might want to
>> check out for ideas or inspiration There's a particularly good
>> demonstration of using fog instead of shadow to create a visual
>> representation of ridge lines, if your 're using those to determine a
>> topographic index (see http://ctmap.com/serendipity/index.php).
>> *Bill Thoen*
>> GISnet - www.gisnet.com <http://www.gisnet.com/>
>> 1401 Walnut St., Suite C
>> Boulder, CO 80302
>> 303-786-9961 tel
>> 303-443-4856 fax
>> bthoen at gisnet.com
>> _______________________________________________
>> Discuss mailing list
>> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

*Bill Thoen*
GISnet - www.gisnet.com
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20100914/6cf2e0b6/attachment-0002.html>

More information about the Discuss mailing list