Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 69 ›› Issue (1): 100-109.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201401010

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Discussion about scale adaptability in virtual geographic environments

ZHANG Chunxiao1, LIN Hui1,2,3, CHEN Min1,3   

  1. 1. Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N. T., Hong Kong, China;
    2. Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N. T., Hong Kong, China;
    3. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Research Institute, Shenzhen 518057, Guangdong, China
  • Received:2013-03-25 Revised:2013-10-21 Online:2014-01-20 Published:2014-01-20
  • Contact: 林珲(1954-),男,广东汕头人,教授,欧亚科学院院士,中国地理学会会员(S110006388M),从事虚拟地理环境、空间综合人文学等研究。
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41171146; No.41101370; No.41101439; Non-profit Industry Financial Program of Ministry of Land and Resources of China, No.201011020-5; Innovation and Technology Fund from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, No.ITS/042/12FP; Direct Grant from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, No.4052007

Abstract: Along with the focuses of geography changing from static geographic pattern to dynamic geographic process, geographic language is also evolving from maps to GISystem (Geographic Information System) to VGEs (Virtual Geographic Environments). Due to the multiscale characteristic and scale dependence of both geographic processes and study methods, scale adaptability turns out to be an inventible component for the theory and method of VGEs, which aims to solve dynamic geographic problems. This paper discussed the definition of geographic scale by using three parameters, namely dimension, kind and component, and then illustrated the evolution of scale concept along with the evolution of geographic language. In such evolution, from maps to VGEs, the scale concept is becoming much more comprehensive, which makes the study into scale adaptability issues more important and difficult. In regard to the framework of VGEs, four groups of scale adaptability issues are identified and analyzed according to the parameters of scale definition (dimension, kind and component). These four groups reflect different operational levels, which are illustrated in detail to support the implementation of scale adaptability. Meanwhile, the interrelationship among multiple scale adaptability is also illustrated when the VGEs are constructed and applied. Taking a meteorological simulation in Hong Kong as a case study, scale adaptability considering multiscale DEM data and a meteorological model (WRF: Weather Research & Forecasting Model) was investigated, which is on the component level within the spatial dimension and observational kind of scale (namely spatial resolution). This case study not only explained the significance and implementation of scale adaptability in geographic process research, but also showed the contribution to the cognition and decomposition of complex scale adaptability issues from the discussion in this paper. In summary, the attention and research into scale adaptability will enrich the theory and methodology of VGEs and improve practical applications of VGEs.

Key words: scale adaptability, geographic language, virtual geographic environments, geographic process