A natural principle for the objective generalization of digital maps

Zhilin Li, Stan Openshaw

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Generalization is a major research theme in geographic information systems. This paper describes a natural principle for the objective generalization of digital map data and other spatial data. First, the basic concepts related to generalization are reexamined and the key relationships between conventional cartographic generalization and automated digital generalization are discussed. Some of the previous approaches that have been used for generalization are evaluated to provide a context for developing what is termed a natural principle for objective generalization. How the natural principle works is compared with some methods that are currently used for generalization purposes. Finally, some examples of applying this principle to cartographic features are given.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Cartographic generalization
  • Digital generalization
  • Natural principle
  • Objective generalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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