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CHAPTER 6

Generalization
GENERALIZATION
What is generalization?

Process of reducing the information content of maps


due to scale change, map purpose, intended audience,
and/or technical constraints.
GENERALIZATION
Why we need generalization in mapping?

a) To reduce scope, amount, type and


cartographic data
b) To ensure of graphical reality at desired
scale
c) To highlighting most important object and
neglect less important features
d) To maintain readability and preserve
geographical meaning of the map
EFFECT OF SCALE ON VISUAL
PERCEPTION
Data captured at one scale are not transferrable to
widely different scales. Data captured at a larger
scale are too detailed for smaller scales.
Data captured at a small scale are too generalized
for larger scales.

E.g. If your map is at 1:50,000 it is not reasonable


to be able to depict a feature or detail smaller
Larger scale maps

1:24000
1 Less area
2 More details
Larger scale
3 Less generalization
maps
4 Less classification

Transformation from large to small scale

1:100000
requires generalization and classification:
City becomes area then point
Diversity of cities combined into a few
categories (small, medium and large)
Minor streets and roads removed
Different types of roads and streets
combined into few categories
1:250000
Houses then major buildings removed
Small streams removed
Details removed from rivers and roads
Less important text removed

Smaller scale maps


1 More area
1:500000

Smaller scale 2 Less detail


maps 3 More generalization
4 More classification
Scale reduction without generalization Scale reduction with generalization
Before generalization

After generalization
GENERALIZATION
When we need generalization?

a) Conditions Relate to the scale used


b) Congestion or overcrowding data
-E.g. : Complex road networks, buildings.
c) Overlap/conflict of data E.g. Many types of tree
species combined into one group.
d) Invisible Small features that cant be identified
(small ponds, trails)
e) Coalescence To grow together or into one body
E.g. Two lakes coalesced into one.
GENERALIZATION
How to generalize?

Selection Displacement

Simplification Smoothing

Collapse Classification

Aggregation Symbolization

Amalgamation Refinement

Typification Elimination

Exaggeration Size reduction


GENERALIZATION
Selection
Select the most important (due to some criteria) features
or/and objects and eliminate the not so important
whole features or objects

Capitals, large, medium and Capitals, large, medium and Capitals and large cities only, no
small cities, European Highway small cities, European Highway roads
system and major country roads system
GENERALIZATION
Simplification
Process of selecting the characteristic, or shape and reject the
redundant point considered to be unnecessary
Determine important characteristics of feature attributes and eliminate
unwanted detail
Benefits : Reduce plotting time & reduce storage

Original coastal lines Simplifies coastal lines


GENERALIZATION
Collapse
Replace feature or object physical details with abstract geometrical
objects or details of low dimension
An objects geometry is completely changed

Area to point

Area to line
GENERALIZATION
Aggregation
Group several homogeneous objects or features into one object on the
same level of the object's hierarchy

Original city blocks Aggregated city blocks


GENERALIZATION
Amalgamation
Group several homogeneous objects into one object on the higher level
of the object's hierarchy

Original buildings Amalgamated blocks


GENERALIZATION
Typification
-Reduces the density of spatial objects, as well as their levels of detail
-Preserves the representative distribution pattern of these objects

Representations
illustrating typification
given by classification of
point, line and area
features.
GENERALIZATION
Exaggeration
-Amplify the whole object or a specific portion by not preserving its size.
-Done to highlight distinguishable shapes or details of an object.
-Used to enlarge parts of objects, either because they do not satisfy the
geometric constraints, or because such parts are of special interest

Original group of lakes Smallest lakes is exaggerated


GENERALIZATION
Displacement
-Employ a shifting of objects from original positions in order to resolve
topological conflicts of more than one object overlapping.
-This operation might be important to solve conflicts between objects
that are too close or to preserve important neighbourhood relations.

Original positions of buildings Displaced buildings


and roads
GENERALIZATION
Smoothing
Allows an aesthetic refinement by reducing the angularity of angles
between segments of linear objects
Reduce sharp angularity from objects having smooth shapes

Original coastal lines Smoothed coastal lines


GENERALIZATION
Classification
-Ordering, scaling and grouping of features by their attributes and
attributes values
-Goal of classification : To combines items that share similar
geographic attributes into a new object
-Group the classes for comprehension and ease of representation
GENERALIZATION
Symbolization
-Combines items that share similar geographic attributes into a new
object, which in turn has a higher level of abstraction, in addition to a
new symbol
-Nearly similar to classification where certain geometries are assigned
to create a new form of features

Before symbolization After symbolization


GENERALIZATION
Refinement
-Involves reducing a set of features, such as a group of roads, to a
simpler representation

Before refinement After refinement


GENERALIZATION
Elimination
Eliminates various geographic objects because of their small size or
lesser importance with regards to the maps theme (e.g. elimination of
small islands, elimination of short streets)

Before elimination After elimination


GENERALIZATION
Size reduction
Reduces the size of a given geographic object

Before size reduction After size reduction


GENERALIZATION
What factors affect generalization?

Map Purpose &


Conditions in Map Scale
Use

Retention of
Graphic Limits
Accuracy
GENERALIZATION
Map Purpose & Conditions in Use

The purpose of a map can significantly affect the type, numbers, and
spatial representation of features placed on a map.
For an example two different users may apply two intended purposes of
map:

Situation 1 : Road setting between two villages


Construction engineers may need a content which supports geologic
interpretation and environmental impact assessment .

Situation 2 : Fertilization plan in a piece of land


A farmers would need soil orders and watershed locations to support
crop yield.
GENERALIZATION

Construction engineer Farmer

Though these two distinct applications may


be developed from the same data source,
the different generalization involved so they
would be specific to each application.
GENERALIZATION
Map Scale
It is important that the selection of final map scale coincide the maps
purpose and intended audience.
This target scale will determine the amount and type of information
which remains subsequent to the generalization.

DIRECT RELATION TO SCALE

The smaller scale, more generalization needed to


be done to the features selected.
GENERALIZATION

1: 24000 1: 100000 1: 250000

Mount Rainier at different scale


GENERALIZATION
Retention of Accuracy

Maintaining accuracy and refers quality and quantity to the absolute


conditions of the map.

1. Quality of data affect the quality of the map produced


2. Accuracy of data sources also need to be consider
3. Lack or abundance of data (quantity matters) also can affect
maps performance
4. Cartographer should also determine the accuracy of the data
used for the maps construction
GENERALIZATION
Graphic Limits

Another factors which affect the generalization process is graphic


limits.

We can break these factors into two groups:-


a) Technical limits by the cartographers tools
b) Perceptual limits of the human eye

In digital cartography, graphic limits refer to the capacity of the


monitor and software to perform the generalization.