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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2013, 2(4), 996-1014; doi:10.3390/ijgi2040996

Using the Hierarchical Pathfinding A* Algorithm in GIS to Find Paths through Rasters with Nonuniform Traversal Cost

Department of Geography, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Received: 16 August 2013 / Revised: 22 September 2013 / Accepted: 7 October 2013 / Published: 17 October 2013
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Abstract

A fair amount of research has been carried out on pathfinding problems in the context of transportation networks, whereas pathfinding in off-network space has received far less interest. In geographic information systems (GIS), the latter is usually associated with the cost surface method, which allows optimum paths to be calculated through rasters in which the value of each cell depicts the cost of traversal through that cell. One of the problems with this method is computational expense, which may be very high with large rasters. In this study, a pathfinding method called Hierarchical Pathfinding A* (HPA*), based on an abstraction strategy, is investigated as an alternative to the traditional approach. The aim of this study is to enhance the method to make it more suitable for calculating paths over cost rasters with nonuniform traversal cost. The method is implemented in GIS and tested with actual data. The results indicate that by taking into account the information embedded in the cost raster, paths of relatively good quality can be calculated while effecting significant savings in computational effort compared to the traditional, nonhierarchical approach.
Keywords: off-network pathfinding; cost rasters; hierarchical abstraction off-network pathfinding; cost rasters; hierarchical abstraction
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Antikainen, H. Using the Hierarchical Pathfinding A* Algorithm in GIS to Find Paths through Rasters with Nonuniform Traversal Cost. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2013, 2, 996-1014.

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