IR-tree: An efficient index for geographic document search

Zhisheng Li, Ken C.K. Lee, Baihua Zheng, Wang Chien Lee, Dik Lee, Xufa Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

249 Scopus citations


Given a geographic query that is composed of query keywords and a location, a geographic search engine retrieves documents that are the most textually and spatially relevant to the query keywords and the location, respectively, and ranks the retrieved documents according to their joint textual and spatial relevances to the query. The lack of an efficient index that can simultaneously handle both the textual and spatial aspects of the documents makes existing geographic search engines inefficient in answering geographic queries. In this paper, we propose an efficient index, called IR-tree, that together with a top-k document search algorithm facilitates four major tasks in document searches, namely, 1) spatial filtering, 2) textual filtering, 3) relevance computation, and 4) document ranking in a fully integrated manner. In addition, IR-tree allows searches to adopt different weights on textual and spatial relevance of documents at the runtime and thus caters for a wide variety of applications. A set of comprehensive experiments over a wide range of scenarios has been conducted and the experiment results demonstrate that IR-tree outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches for geographic document searches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5560653
Pages (from-to)585-599
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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