Main Article Content
With the advance of wireless communication technology, it is quite common for people to view maps or get related services from the handheld devices, such as mobile phones and PDAs. Range queries, as one of the most commonly used tools, are often posed by the users to retrieve needful information from a spatial database. However, due to the limits of communication bandwidth and hardware power of handheld devices, displaying all the results of a range query on a handheld device is neither communication efficient nor informative to the users. This is simply because that there are often too many results returned from a range query. In view of this problem, we present a novel idea that a concise representation of a specified size for the range query results, while incurring minimal information loss, shall be computed and returned to the user. Such a concise range query not only reduces communication costs, but also offers better usability to the users, providing an opportunity for interactive exploration. The usefulness of the concise range queries is confirmed by comparing it with other possible alternatives, such as sampling and clustering. Unfortunately, we prove that finding the optimal representation with minimum information loss is an NP-hard problem. Therefore, we propose several effective and nontrivial algorithms to find a good approximate result. Extensive experiments on real-world data have demonstrated the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed techniques.