What Does Quadtree Mean?

A quadtree is a type of data structure where each original or parent node has four lower-level or subsequent child nodes, where each element is continually split into four pieces. Expressed in mathematical equations or in a visual way, a quadtree has many data analysis applications.


Techopedia Explains Quadtree

The quadtree, visually, often starts with a square spatial field. The field is then split into four smaller, consistent squares, then each of those squares is separated into four, etc. The result can be useful for data modeling. One example is in image handling, where an image can pixelate through a quadtree: first, the four largest squares get color, then the corresponding next-level set of sixteen squares each get their own color, and so on. The result is a clean and consistent way of pixelating an image that may take significant resources to load in a system. Other applications of a quadtree involve state analysis or other kinds of data analysis.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.