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Automatic Map Simplification for Visualization on Mobile Devices

Authors: Hang Yu


The visualization of geographic information on mobile devices has become popular as the widespread use of mobile Internet. The mobility of these devices brings about much convenience to people-s life. By the add-on location-based services of the devices, people can have an access to timely information relevant to their tasks. However, visual analysis of geographic data on mobile devices presents several challenges due to the small display and restricted computing resources. These limitations on the screen size and resources may impair the usability aspects of the visualization applications. In this paper, a variable-scale visualization method is proposed to handle the challenge of small mobile display. By merging multiple scales of information into a single image, the viewer is able to focus on the interesting region, while having a good grasp of the surrounding context. This is essentially visualizing the map through a fisheye lens. However, the fisheye lens induces undesirable geometric distortion in the peripheral, which renders the information meaningless. The proposed solution is to apply map generalization that removes excessive information around the peripheral and an automatic smoothing process to correct the distortion while keeping the local topology consistent. The proposed method is applied on both artificial and real geographical data for evaluation.

Keywords: mobile devices, Visualization, Map simplification

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