Types of Attribute Data Based on Type and Measurement Scale (Especially for GATE-Geospatial 2022)

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Attribute Data

There are two components to GIS data: spatial information and attribute data. Attribute data is information appended in tabular format to spatial features. The spatial data is the where and attribute data can contain information about the what, where, and why. Attribute data provides characteristics about spatial data.

Attribute data refers to pertinent information attached to each geo-spatial data. A variety of different database models exist for the storage and management of attribute data.

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1. Types of Attribute Data Based on Data Type

Attribute data can be store as one of five different field types in a table or database:

This Diagram Shows Types of Attribute Data

Character Data

The character property or string is for text based values such as the name of a street or descriptive values such as the condition of a street.

Character data can be sorted in ascending (A to Z) and descending (Z to A) order. Since numbers are considered text in this field, those numbers will be sorted alphabetically which means that a number sequence of 1, 2, 9, 11,13, 22 would be sorted in ascending order as 1, 11, 13,2, 22,9.

Numeric Data

Integer and floating are numerical values. Within the integer type, the is a further division between short and long integer values. Within the integer type, that is a further division between short and long integer values. Floating point attribute values store numeric values with fractional values. Therefore, floating point values are for numeric values with decimal points.

Numeric values will be sorted in sequentially either in ascending (1 to 10) or descending (10 to 1) order.

Date/Time Data

A date field contains date and time values.


BLOB stands for binary large object and this attribute type is used for storing information such images, multimedia, or bits of code in a field. This field stores object linking and embedding (OLE) which are objects created in other applications such as images and multimedia and linked from the BLOB field.

2. Types of Attribute Data Based on Measurement Scale

Another method is to define attribute data by measurement scale. The measurement scale concept groups attribute data into nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio data.

This Diagram Shows Types of Measurement Scale

I. Nominal Data

Nominal data describe different kinds of different categories of data such as land use types or soil types.

II. Ordinal Data

Ordinal data differentiate data by ranking relationship. For example-cities may be grouped into large, medium and small cities by population size.

III. Interval Data

Interval data have known intervals between values such as temperature reading. For example- a temperature reading of 700 F is warmer than 600 F by 100 F.

IV. Ratio Data

Ratio data are the same as interval data except that ratio data are based on a meaningful or absolute zero value. Population densities are an example of ratio data, because a density of 0 is an absolute zero.

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