Segment Visibility Counting Queries in Polygons

Kevin Buchin, Bram Custers, Ivor van der Hoog, Maarten Löffler, Aleksandr Popov, Marcel Roeloffzen, Frank Staals

Let $P$ be a simple polygon with $n$ vertices, and let $A$ be a set of $m$ points or line segments inside $P$. We develop data structures that can efficiently count the number of objects from $A$ that are visible to a query point or a query segment. Our main aim is to obtain fast, $O(\mathop{\textrm{polylog}} nm$), query times, while using as little space as possible. In case the query is a single point, a simple visibility-polygon-based solution achieves $O(\log nm)$ query time using $O(nm^2)$ space. In case $A$ also contains only points, we present a smaller, $O(n + m^{2 + \varepsilon}\log n)$-space, data structure based on a hierarchical decomposition of the polygon. Building on these results, we tackle the case where the query is a line segment and $A$ contains only points. The main complication here is that the segment may intersect multiple regions of the polygon decomposition, and that a point may see multiple such pieces. Despite these issues, we show how to achieve $O(\log n\log nm)$ query time using only $O(nm^{2 + \varepsilon} + n^2)$ space. Finally, we show that we can even handle the case where the objects in $A$ are segments with the same bounds.

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