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Map Generalization

  • By: William Mackaness & Omair Chaudhry
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The capacity to comprehend the physical world depends on our capacity to model it. Given the complex interplay of multiscale processes (both human and physical), it is critical that we model it at multiple levels of detail and that we have the capacity to understand and model the interaction of these processes between scales. In many respects, a map is a model: Within a set of constraints, it seeks to reveal scale-dependent patterns that arise from the complex interplay of those processes.

Traditionally, it has been the preserve and responsibility of the cartographer to abstract and visualize the world in all its forms, at various levels of detail, both topographic and thematic. Attempts to automate the cartographic design process (the craft and the science of ...

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