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Line generalisation by repeated elimination of points

Visvalingam, Maheswari; Whyatt, J. D.


Maheswari Visvalingam

J. D. Whyatt


This paper presents a new approach to line generalisation which uses the concept of ‘effective area’ for progressive simplification of a line by point elimination. Two coastlines are used to compare the performance of this, with that of the widely used Douglas-Peucker, algorithm. The results from the area-based algorithm compare favourably with manual generalisation of the same lines. It is capable of achieving both imperceptible minimal simplifications and caricatural generalisations. By careful selection of cutoff values, it is possible to use the same algorithm for scale-dependent and scale-independent generalisations. More importantly, it offers scope for modelling cartographic lines as consisting of features within features so that their geometric manipulation may be modified by application- and/or user-defined rules and weights. The paper examines the merits and limitations of the algorithm and the opportunities it offers for further research and progress in the field of line generalisation. © 1993 Maney Publishing.


Visvalingam, M., & Whyatt, J. D. (1993). Line generalisation by repeated elimination of points. The Cartographic journal, 30(1), 46-51.

Publication Date Jan 1, 1993
Deposit Date Jul 9, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jul 9, 2015
Journal The cartographic journal
Print ISSN 0008-7041
Electronic ISSN 1743-2774
Publisher Maney Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 1
Pages 46-51
Keywords Earth-Surface Processes
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of an article published in The cartographic journal, 1993, v.30, iss.1 at: This is related to the CISRG discussion paper 10 at:


000870493786962263.pdf (4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© The British Cartographic Society 1993

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