Geospatial topology refers to the spatial relationships between adjacent or neighboring features within the field of geographic information system (GIS) research. It is based on the mathematical field of topology, which examines how the properties of a shape remain under various transformations, such as bending, stretching, or twisting. Mathematical topology dictates that geographic features occur on a two-dimensional plane. Using these rules, spatial features are represented in geospatial topology using nodes (zero-dimensional cells); edges, sometimes referred to as arcs (one-dimensional cells); or polygons (two-dimensional cells). Geospatial topology is used to more accurately model geometric relationships within geodatabases, as well as for data management and integrity.
Geospatial topology is used to determine and preserve the relationships between shapes in the vector data model, a data structure used to store spatial data within GIS. GIS software that is used for analysis and data storage adheres to a set of topological rules that define how vector objects are stored and interact with each other. These rules provide guidelines for how nodes can interact in a network, how the edges or faces of polygons can coexist, or how points can be organized across space.