GIS Dictionary | Letter S

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– S –

Scale
1. The relationship between the size of the map and the corresponding size of the real world. 2. A level of resolution or zoom.

Shapefile
Editable spatial database format generated in Esri’s desktop software application called ArcView 3.x.

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping
Referred to as SLAM,  this is a technique used by robots and autonomous vehicles to build up a map within an unknown environment (without a priori knowledge), or to update a map within a known environment (with a priori knowledge from a given map), while at the same time keeping track of their current location.  The concept was recently extended to humans by MIT reseachers, see: wearable cartography.

Slope
Rate of change in elevation measured as the angle between the ground and the horizontal.

Slope Board
A board for measuring slope.   Attached to the board is a cord with a weight on the bottom.  Holding the board in a  vertical plane, the sketcher sights along the edge to the point whose slope or grade from the sketcher’s position is desired.  While sighting, the sketcher clamps the cord against the edge of the board and takes the reading.

Slope Board

Slope Board

Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS)
A comprehensive transfer standard for Earth-referenced data which was used to transfer all types of spatial data between dissimilar computer systems. Created by the USGS.

State Plane Coordinate System (SPCS)
The State Plane Coordinate System is not a projection; rather it is a system for specifying positions of geodetic stations using plane rectangular coordinates. This coordinate system that divides all fifty states of the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands into over 120 numbered sections, referred to as zones.

Statistical Surface
A statistical surface is any geographic entity that can be thought of as containing a Z value for each X,Y location. More: Statistical surfaces.

Sun-Synchronous Orbit
An orbit that always passes over the earth at the same local sun time.

Swath
Amount of ground covered lengthwise in the passing of the satellite.

GIS Acronyms that start with S

SDK – Software Development Kit

SGI – Silicon Graphics Inc.

SPOT – Système Pour l’Observation de la Terre

More geographic concepts from the GIS dictionary:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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