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All maps are abstractions of reality, as a map must selectively illustrate some of the features on the surface of the earth. Cartographic generalization is the process of reducing the information content of maps due to scale change, map purpose, intended audience, and/or technical constraints. For instance, when reducing a 1:50,000 topographic map (large scale) to 1:250,000 (small scale), some of the geographical features must be either eliminated or modified, since the amount of map space is significantly reduced. Many decisions must be made in generalization, including which feature classes or features to select, how to modify these features and reduce their complexity, and how to represent the generalized feature. While there are many different generalization operations, a few key ones, classification, simplification, and smoothing, ...

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