ICA Commission on Maps and the Internet &
ICA Commission on Visualization and Virtual Environments

Joint Annual Meeting 2003
5.-7. August 2003
Stellenbosch, South Africa

The annual meeting 2003 of the Commission on Maps and the Internet and the Commission on Visualization and Virtual Environments will provide the unique opportunity to take advantage of a joint meeting of two ICA commissions.

General Information


General Information

Commission on Maps and the Internet

The ICA Commission on Maps and the Internet was formed in 1999 in response to the rapid growth in the use of electronic networks to distribute maps and spatial data. The purpose of the commission is to bring together international specialists in the field of Internet mapping and to disseminate information to a broader audience on new developments and major areas of research.

Meetings of the commission focus on a variety of issues related to the distribution of maps through the Internet. Working papers should address the terms of reference of the commission:
1) Examine methods of promoting effective Internet mapping techniques, including methods of map distribution and Internet map design.
2) Examine Internet map usage and project future areas of growth.
3) Examine web map user issues to better serve user needs.
4) Examine the use of metadata to improve user access to maps.
5) Promote instruction on Internet mapping and the diffusion of the technology.
In conjunction with the working papers the workshop will also feature live demonstrations.

Commission on Visualization and Virtual Environments


1) Van Niekerk & Van der Merwe - GIS-generated visual landscape impact assessment of communication infrastructure

Most GIS, such as ArcView GIS (with the 3D Analyst extension), have the capability to generate 3D visualizations from 2D cartographic information and Digital Terrain Models (DTM). These visualizations are used to determine the visual impact of proposed infrastructure such as a communications mast. Easily produced snapshots of the mast, viewed from different directions, can be studied like real photographs. An observer’s perception of visual impact - the relative size of the mast in relation to other objects in the view and the background of the ‘snapshot’ - has been identified as the major contributing element. Empirical impact perception measurement among local residents regarding a 47m communication tower, by means of impact rating on an intensity scale from photographic stills at fixed distances along trajectories spiking out from the mast, has confirmed this. The results show an expected distance decline in impact that becomes negligible at about 300-400m. The overall impact sector pattern forms an oblong, arguably affected by foreground-middleground-background eccentricity of the viewshed.

The challenge was then to model the relative size of a target object as part of a visual impact index. To the best of our knowledge, no GIS function exists whereby the relative size of an object (e.g. a mast), in relation to the other objects in the view (snapshot), can be calculated. In the research reported here, the calculation of such a quantitative index of the above-mentioned mast’s visual impact (that had been empirically measured) is proposed. The index is based on perspective theory and was implemented in ArcView GIS.


2) Mark Hampe (mark.hampe@ikg.uni-hannover.de) "Generalisation of Buildings for Multiple Resolution Databases"

Mark Hampe
Institute of Cartography and Geoinformatics
University of Hannover


An MRDB (Multiple Resolution/Representation Database) can be described as a database containing different levels of resolution or different levels of representation of real world phenomena. All spatial objects in the levels hold a link to their corresponding objects representing the same real world phenomena in another level of resolution or representation.

The advantages of an MRDB are being investigated in the EU-project GiMoDig. The project "Geospatial info mobility service by real-time data integration and generalisation" aims at developing methods for spatial data delivery from national primary geodatabases for mobile use.

Sub-objective of the project is the development of methods and usage practices for generalising the graphic representation of geospatial data in real-time, to be suited for display of the data at varying scales on mobile devices with a small display. In order to support the realtime-generalisation component an MRDB provides pre-calculated and generalised data.

To investigate its benefits such an MRDB will be implemented exemplary at the ikg. In this presentation, concepts of a "seamless" representation of building and settlement structures in the scales from 1:1k up to 1:1mio will be presented.

The implementation will follow both of the two possible ways for filling the database and deriving the links between corresponding objects:

a) Derive lower LoD's from higher LoD's by generalisation processes. As a by-product the linking structure can be derived from this generalisation process.

b) Link two (or more) existing datasets by matching procedures.

Input data are cadastral data, produced for the scale range from 1:500 up to 1:5k, which contains the detailed shape of the buildings. Another data set is ATKIS, the digital topographic data set of Germany, containing different types of settlement structures.

At the ikg algorithms have been developed for buildings simplification and typification (Sester 2000). The first approach relies on an least squares adjustment approach, whereas the typification follows an approach based on self-organising maps. However, in order to produce an MRDB of building and settlement structures, there is a need for more generalisation operators like amalgamation, aggregation, enhancement as well as collapsing, symbolisation etc. Beside the geometric generalisation also semantic generalisation is required.

In the presentation, a concept for the generalization operations needed for the different scale transitions will be given. Furthermore, first results of ongoing research using typification for the derivation of building representations for scales smaller than 1:50.000 will be presented.



William E. Cartwright
Department of Geospatial Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

KEYWORDS: Geographical Knowledge, Access Methods

ABSTRACT: The design of conventional mapping products (both paper and digital) has developed to a point whereby both developers and users feel comfortable with what is delivered and ‘consumed’. New Media artifacts can be incorporated to enhance these conventional products with products delivered through the Internet, and particularly the World Wide Web (Web). But how best to design and develop a conglomerate product that allows users to discover information serendipitously, but at the same time ensuring that certain, appropriate or important, information is not excluded from their explorative ‘meanderings. Hence the concept of ‘Engineered Serendipity’.

This paper explains what is meant by Engineered Serendipity and how it might be used to ensure that products that include both GeoViz tools and New Media artifacts are presented to users in such a manner that different information prospecting methods can be offered. It also addresses the design elements that should be considered if such a hybrid geoinformation product is to provide this information in such a way that serendipitous discovery is supported


4) Brodersen & Gartner Modelling the e-content of Mobile Small Display Maps: Experiences from the Projects ‘Lola’ and ‘Gimodig’

Dr. Lars Brodersen, Senior research scientist
National Survey and Cadastre Denmark
Rentemestervej 8
2400 København NV
e-mail: lrb@kms.dk

Ao. Univ.Prof. Dr. Georg Gartner
Vienna University of Technology
Karlsgasse 11
1040 Wien, Austria
e.mail: georg.gartner@tuwien.ac.at


In this paper it is argued, that the increasing availability of mobile devices and the development of related map-based services (in the context of mobile Internet and Location Based Services) can be seen as a major stage in the digital (r)evolution of cartography. Consequently the matter is of cartographic communication processes rather then of cartographic products. TeleCartography, as an enlargement of Internet Cartography, can therefore be used for setting the context for analyzing the changes and consequences in understanding “modern Cartography”. In order to analyze the “quality” and the “success” of a cartographic communication process via small display maps experiences of two different approaches are used.

What are the premises and conditions when introducing a new project for the creation of small display maps for mobile devices? First of all, it’s an understanding of value-increment in an infrastructure versus in the product-oriented environment. This leads to the necessity of value modelling preceding the data modelling. During the process of value modelling the project’s idea and identity are identified, which leads directly to the desired content that will be input to the data modelling. Not being conscious of value modelling means high risk of working on a content based on pure chance, which again leads to low user quality. The user quality is based on the following factors: user expectation, accessibility, relevance, user suitability (operation, cartography, technical quality), new knowledge and price.

It will be discussed to what extend the two projects Lol@ and Gimodig are compliant with the above systematic.

Lol@ is a recently finished project of the Institute of Cartography of TU Vienna in co-operation with a consortium of research institutes and telecommunication companies.


5) "Yunervis Ruiz" <YRuiz@geocuba.co.cu> INTERNET MAP SERVICE IMPLEMENTATION, BASED IN OPENGIS SPECIFICATIONS M.Sc. Eng. Rafael Cruz Iglesias, Eng. José Luis Capote Fernández, Grad. Guillermo González Suárez, Grad. Osmani Herrera González, Tech. Liset Becerra Lugones,
GEOCUBA Enterprise Group


Several investigation and development projects have been developed with the purpose of implementing the Interfaces of OpenGIS that define the treatment of the geometry, spatial reference systems, manipulation of geographical features and Web Map Service. The results of these projects are dedicated mainly to offer cartography services in vectorial format and they have been presented in several international events as the conventions GEOMATICA 2000 and 2002. 

Starting from study of the OpenGIS specifications for the service of maps in Internet a Maps Server and several client applications that allow to visualize and to consult the geographical information of this server was implemented.

As support of the information a Model of Geographical Information DataBase was implemented. The premise of the implemented model is based in the disposition by the system of a group of classes of objects with which the user can conform a personalised Geographical Information Database. The manipulation and the storage of the geographical features fulfills the specifications of: Feature Geometry, Simple Feature and  Spatial Reference System published by OpenGIS for this purpose.  

This Geographical Information Database uses the Component Objects Model and it will be the point of convergence of future applications that use the geographical information. A platform has been developed that allows the assembly and manipulation of this information  as well as a service of maps in Internet. 

The execution of these projects keeping in mind the international standards provided by OpenGIS has allowed us to achieve strategies chord to the global development of the information  technologies. At the present time the results obtained are considered in the programs for the development of the technologies of Information and communications in the Cuban Society.

Future works include developments for multiple platforms and the employment of Web services like essential technology to achieve interoperability.


6) Assoc. Prof. Dipl. Eng. Marian RYBANSKÝ, PhD. marian.rybansky@vabo.cz

Raster Synthesis Used In the Cross Country Movement Displaying
Assoc. Prof. Dipl. Eng. Marian RYBANSKÝ, PhD.

Military Land Information Department
Military Academy in Brno
Kounicova 65, 612 00 BRNO, Czech Republic
E-mail: marian.rybansky@vabo.cz

KEYWORDS: Raster Format, Cross Country Mobility; Terrain Analyses; GO, SLOW GO, NO GO Terrain.


The natural disaster such as floods, fires, ecological disasters and military transport operations require to consider the movement not only on the roads but also across the terrain.

This fact was confirmed especially during the devastating floods that afflicted Central Europe in 1997 and 2002. In a relatively short time number of bridges and many parts of roads were destroyed. Delay of the rescue activities resulted in damage amounting billions of crowns. Modelling of movement in terrain and determination of most rapid variant of themove eliminates economical damage and losses of human life. In the military, a modelling of the cross country movement is one of the principal analyses in planning and management of military operations.

In raster analysis of vehicle movement across terrain the following important factors should be taken into account:

- slopes of terrain relief and micro-relief forms;

- vegetation;

- hydrology (surface water features);

- soils conditions;

- road net and other lines of communication;

- urban/built-up areas;

- climate (meteorological) conditions;

- other natural and man-made features.

The above-mentioned factors are closely related and, as a result we can take their joint influence on the cross-country mobility as a time delay of movement of certain formation of troops expressed by a value 0 - 100 % against hypothetically established optimum conditions for movement or a speed decrease coefficient.

For above-mentioned features, which create separate terrain model coverages are counted the separated coefficients of vehicle movement decreasing. The resulting coefficient of the speed decrease for a specific raster cell can be expressed by the function:


7) Drs. Natalia and Gennady Andrienko
Fraunhofer Institut Autonome Intelligente Systeme (FhG AIS)
Spatial Decision Support Team, http://www.ais.fraunhofer.de/SPADE
Schloss Birlinghoven, Sankt-Augustin, D-53754 Germany
e-mail gennady.andrienko@ais.fraunhofer.de

"Tools for Visual Comparison of Spatial Development Scenarios"

We suggest a set of visualization-based exploratory tools to support analysis and comparison of different spatial development scenarios, such as results of simulation of various spatially related processes. We have applied a task-analytical approach to tool selection and design, that is, we have first considered what analytical tasks may potentially emerge in the course of investigating and comparing scenarios. We have revealed a set of multifarious tasks, which can be grouped into four categories: 1) analysis in the attribute dimension; 2) analysis in the spatial dimension; 3) analysis in the temporal dimension; 4) spatio-temporal analysis. Then we have evaluated the techniques typically used for visualization of spatial and temporal data, such as (animated) maps or time graphs, from the perspective of supporting different task types. We have extended these techniques, mostly in the direction of increasing interactivity, and combined them or providing a better coverage of the task space. Using examples fromt he domains of forest management and agriculture, we illustrate how the resulting software tools help in fulfilling various tasks in the course of exploring and comparing scenarios. At the end, we set an explicit correspondence between the task types and the appropriate tools.


8) Not a fixed cycle: GPRS and GPS

Real time position information using wireless solutions
Arend Ligtenberg1, Ron van Lammeren, Aldo Bergsma, Aresh Ghannad, Jandirk Bulens
Centre for Geo-information, Wageningen University and Research Centre
P.O. Box 3396700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands


GPS devices are more and more integrated with mobile communication devices like mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDA). This provides a possibility to implement relative inexpensive systems that enables a user of such a system to be tracked anytime any place. In combination with internet based mapping this location information can be made widely available.

In this paper we describe a number of experiments in which we real-time tracked a group of cyclists on a sponsor ride of about 1300 km from Grenoble in France to Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The ride was organized to support the research after cancer in the Netherlands. About 75 cyclists took part in this ride. One of them was a colleague of the Centre for Geo-Information (CGI). Because the statements that GPS-GPRS makes people more place and time independent and will take care for location based services we were curious how far this cutting-edge technology really is.

The goal of the experiments was therefore to explore the current possibilities of mobile devices to enable a real-time position tracking service without using dedicated tracking and tracing hard- and software. We focused on the aspects: reliability of the hardware, data connections, connections with GPS en real-time visualization of a map server. For that we developed a system that consist of the following components: 1) a PDA integrated with a mobile phone device able to maintain a GPRS data connection 2) a GPS device connected to this PDA, 3) PDA software, developed at the CGI, that reads the data captured by the GPS and transmits it real time to a database on a server, 4) a map server that generates the current route, projects it on a background map and serves it to the internet through a web server.

Tracking a race-biker was our test case, because of: moderate average speed (30 km/hour), the need for small devices and easy to carry devices, changes of networks, link to geo-information, and the need to have on-line visualization. The PDA, together with a connected GPS, was mounted on a race-bike. During a ride it collected GPS location information, and whenever a connection was available it tried to send the collected data to the database through the GPRS enabled device. The database used was an Access database. It stored the X, Y, Z positions, speed, and bearing it received from the PDA. We used the ActiveX connector of ArcIms 4.01 map server together with ASP based web pages to render a map with the latest position information, at every user request.

Although the idea was working properly during the initial testing at the CGI, during the ride many technical problems appeared. Most of these problems were related to the poor reliability of the GPRS connection. The pilot software we developed for sending the location information was not able to properly restore the data connection itself once it was lost. The cyclist could not restore it manually while on the bike. Missing position information was collected by a pda/gps device mounted in a car following the cyclists and was send manually by a GSM modem connection whenever possible (mostly at the evenings).

From our experiments we conclude that, considering the hardware, mainly the capacity of the batteries showed to be a bottleneck. The maximum capacity of a PDA connected to the network and a GPS was around 3 hours. Extra batteries could be a solution but makes the devices heavier. Considering the data connections the quality of the data network was a problem. GPRS connections did not appear to be very stable especially during a roaming situation. At the client site the pilot software at the PDA did not prove to be reliable enough. Feature like automatic (re)connecting to a data network, better status reporting etc. need to be implemented in order to cope with the dynamic conditions encounter when moving around. Also feature for managing the GPS would be beneficiary to reducing the power consumption of the PDA.

The experiment proved however that it is relatively easy to set-up a tracking and facility based upon standard PDA, GPS and mobile phone equipment at low costs, provided that high reliability is not a requirement.

1 Corresponding author. E-mail address: arend.ligtenberg@wur.nl



Social Events (more information to follow):

  • Joint Dinner
  • Joint Tour to the Wine Region of Stellenbosch


The meeting will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Stellenbosch is the oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town. It is one of the most scenic and historically well-preserved towns in Southern Africa, characterized by Cape Dutch, Victorian and Georgian architecture. The city is situated in a magnificent mountain valley and boasts a mild Mediterranean climate. Forty-five minutes from Cape Town, Stellenbosch is the center of the country's wine industry.

Situated in Stellenbosch, the Universiteit Stellenbosch offers well-known programs in Geography, Cartography and Geomatics. We can use meeting rooms at the Art Building (cp. the map below). The department of Geography and Environmental Sciences is located at the Natural Science Building.



Commission on Maps and the Internet:

Chair: Michael Peterson (mpeterson@mail.unomaha.edu)
Co-Chair: Georg Gartner (georg.gartner@tuwien.ac.at)