Qualitative Spatial Reasoning about Sketch Maps

  • Kenneth D. Forbus
  • Jeffrey Usher
  • Vernell Chapman


Sketch maps are an important spatial representation used in many geospatial-reasoning tasks. This article describes techniques we have developed that enable software to perform humanlike reasoning about sketch maps. We illustrate the utility of these techniques in the context of nuSketch Battlespace, a research system that has been successfully used in a variety of experiments. After an overview of the nuSketch approach and nuSketch Battlespace, we outline the representations of glyphs and sketches and the nuSketch spatial reasoning architecture. We describe the use of qualitative topology and Voronoi diagrams to construct spatial representations, and explain how these facilities are combined with analogical reasoning to provide a simple form of enemy intent hypothesis generation.