Exploring the usability of the rHEALPix discrete global grid system

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University of New Brunswick
Discrete Global Grid Systems (DGGSs) are important in many geospatial research domains including Digital Earth, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), and big data. Although a considerable amount of research has focused on hexagonal- and triangular-based DGGSs, these approaches are not optimal in all applications. Therefore, consideration should also be given to quadrilateral-based DGGSs, especially those that exhibit interesting or unique properties. This study focuses on the rHEALPix DGGS which is a promising quadrilateral-based approach that conforms to the OGC DGGS Abstract Specification. In particular, this study explores how cell shape and cell orientation vary on the rHEALPix DGGS, and considers how these variations impact grid creation over Canada. Additionally, an open-source web service for creating quadrilateral grids based on the rHEALPix DGGS is presented, which aims to increase usability, assist interoperability studies, and increase options for researchers. Lastly, this study explores an interesting property of the rHEALPix DGGS that makes it well suited to geospatial applications involving harmonic analysis: distribution of cell nuclei along rings of constant latitude (or isolatitude rings). To facilitate harmonic computations and advance this research direction, a method is presented that extends existing work on the rHEALPix DGGS to convert any cell ID to isolatitude ring without recourse to geodetic coordinates.