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1.1.2. Simplification and Generalisation

We already mentioned that in the past, there were only paper maps but no screen maps. Today, we have the possibility to visualise a map on the screen. One may think that it is easy to create a screen map namely by simply scanning a quality paper map and putting the resulted digital map on the Internet. But this step would not lead to a quality screen map.

A paper map can be used as template for the creation of a screen map, but it has to undergo major adjustments:

  • Distances between map elements and minimum sizes should be chosen larger for screen maps than for paper maps (as you will see in the next chapter).
  • The information density should be adapted according to the enlargement of the symbolization.
  • (1996) recommends a reduction of the information density by a factor 2 to 3.
  • Furthermore, the geometry of map elements must be much more generalized for screen display.
  • Particularly, the point density of lines must be reduced as well as text labels have to be adapted respectively.
  • Thematic classes may possibly have to be restructured and reduced in number. (Räber et al. 2003)
High        point densityHigh point density Low        point densityLow point density
Information density on paper mapInformation density on paper map (Hallwag Kümmerly + Frey) Information        density on screen mapInformation density on screen map (Brühlmeier 2000)

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