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Cartographic generalization

or map generalization, is the method whereby information is selected and represented on a map in a way that adapts to the scale of the display medium of the map, not necessarily preserving all intricate geographical or other cartographic details. The cartographer is given license to adjust the content within their maps to create a suitable and useful map that conveys geospatial information, while striking the right balance between the map's purpose and actuality of the subject being mapped. Scaling hierarchy or far more small things than large ones is found to be a universal rule for cartographic generalization.

Well generalized maps are those that emphasize the most important map elements while still representing the world in the most faithful and recognizable way. The level of detail and importance in what is remaining on the map must outweigh the insignificance of items that were generalized, as to preserve the distinguishing characteristics of what makes the map useful and important.

Methods[edit]

Some cartographic generalization methods include the following:

Selection[edit]

Map generalization is designed to reduce the complexities of the real world by strategically reducing ancillary and unnecessary details. One way that geospatial data can be reduced is through the selection process. The cartographer can select and retain certain elements that he/she deems the most necessary or appropriate. In this method, the most important elements stand out while lesser elements are left out entirely. For example, a directional map between two points may have lesser and un-traveled roadways omitted as not to confuse the map-reader. The selection of the most direct and uncomplicated route between the two points is the most important data, and the cartographer may choose to emphasize this.

Simplification[edit]

Generalization is not a process that only removes and selects data, but also a process that simplifies it as well. Simplification is a technique where shapes of retained features are altered to enhance visibility and reduce complexity. Smaller scale maps have more simplified features than larger scale maps because they simply exhibit more area. An example of simplification is to scale and remove points along an area. Doing this to a mountain would reduce the detail in and around the mountain but would ideally not detract from the map reader interpreting the feature as such a mountain.

LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing 3D settlement structure recognition for Cartographic Generalization: 3D structure Recognition
Book (LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing)
LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing 3D settlement structure recognition for Cartographic Generalization: 3D structure Recognition [Paperback] [2012] (Author) Jagdish Lal Raheja
Book (LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing)
Cartographic Line Generalization with Waterlines and Medial-Axes.: An article from: Cartography and Geographic Information Science
Book (American Congress on Surveying & Mapping)
The Constraint Method for Solving Spatial Conflicts in Cartographic Generalization.: An article from: Cartography and Geographic Information Science
Book (American Congress on Surveying & Mapping)
Cartographic Generalization (Monographs No. 10 / 1974)
Book (York University, Canada)

Popular Q&A

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What is both your analytical and abstract profession?

Analytical professions are : Computer programmer, math teacher, lawyer, researcher, accountant etc.

and

Abstract professions are such as: designer, painter, actor, singer, poet, photography(not for media) etc.



Mine are:

Analytical- General Researcher, Cartographer.

Abstract- Graphic designer, photography, film.

I am a hospice nurse, which I consider both analytical and abstract. The analytical part deals with specific symptoms and techniques for dealing with them, the abstract deals with the emotional consequences of the death and dying process, both for the person affected and his family, which are rarely the same.

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