Drawing Road Networks with Focus Regions


Mobile users of maps typically need detailed information about their surroundings plus some context information about remote places. In order to avoid that the map partly gets too dense, cartographers have designed mapping functions that enlarge a user-defined focus region - such functions are sometimes called fish-eye projections. The extra map space occupied by the enlarged focus region is compensated by distorting other parts of the map. We argue that, in a map showing a network of roads relevant to the user, distortion should preferably take place in those areas where the network is sparse. Therefore, we do not apply a predefined mapping function. Instead, we consider the road network as a graph whose edges are the road segments. We compute a new spatial mapping with a graph-based optimization approach, minimizing the square sum of distortions at edges. Our optimization method is based on a convex quadratic program (CQP); CQPs can be solved in polynomial time. Important requirements on the output map are expressed as linear inequalities. In particular, we show how to forbid edge crossings. We have implemented our method in a prototype tool. For instances of different sizes, our method generated output maps that were far less distorted than those generated with a predefined fish-eye projection. Future work is needed to automate the selection of roads relevant to the user. Furthermore, we aim at fast heuristics for application in real-time systems.

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics

A preliminary version was presented at IEEE Information Visualization Conference (INFOVIS'11).