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Label placement Rules, techniques. Labels on a map Text, name of map features No fixed geographical position Labels of point features (0-dim), line features.

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Presentation on theme: "Label placement Rules, techniques. Labels on a map Text, name of map features No fixed geographical position Labels of point features (0-dim), line features."— Presentation transcript:

1 Label placement Rules, techniques

2 Labels on a map Text, name of map features No fixed geographical position Labels of point features (0-dim), line features (1-dim), areal features (2-dim)

3 Labels of point features Cities on a small-scale map Heights of peaks Measured values at measurement points


5 Labels of point features Touristic sights, campgrounds

6 Labels of line features Rivers Heights on contour lines Streets

7 Labels of areal features Countries, oceans, forests, lakes

8 Three kinds of labels Utrecht Nieuwegein Houten Culemborg Straight, horizontal name Curved nameCurved name with spacing between characters

9 Label placement Where should the text be placed? Which shape? 20% - 50% of the map production time; can be automated Which rules do cartographers use? - No overlap  readability - Clear for which feature  association - Aesthetical guidelines

10 Rules according to Imhof (1962)

11 Problematic cases Problem visibility highway 20 Problem association Thunder Bay and point Problem readability name

12 Another problematic case University Ave. is interrupted 4 times

13 Specific rules point labels Label must be close to point, preferably to the right and above No overlap with other labels, except perhaps in the spacing of the areal label Label may intersect line feature; then line must be interrupted Points close to large body of water must have their label in the water. In other cases there may be no line between a point and its label If it cannot be avoided, a name may be split over two lines of text

14 Specific rules line labels Label must follow shape of river Label should not bend upwards and downwards consecutively At long line features the label must be repeated No extra spacing between characters, spacing between words of the label is allowed For vertical line features: upward reading direction left on the map and downward right on the map Contour lines: labels must interrupt contour line; top label points to higher regions

15 Specific rules areal labels Horizontal labeling is good unless this conflicts with the dominant shape of the region Monotonous curving; no inflection points Label must be spread over whole region Non-horizontal labels must be curved Adjacent regions preferably have same shape of label (both horizontal, e.g.) Sometimes an areal label may be outside its region, but not in another labeled region

16 Strategies for automatic label placement Compute for each feature various candidate positions according to the rules Choose for each feature one candidate position, such that the chosen positions don’t have overlap Sometimes a feature cannot be labeled, and sometimes the label of a feature must be repeated

17 Candidate positions points Point labels 4-position model 8-position model slider model More general model  more labels can be placed, but more complex/ expensive to compute

18 Candidate positions lines Compute strip with character height above the river which follows the shape approximately, but doesn’t have too high curvature (e.g. with opening, closure) Determine suitable segments in the strip as candidates

19 Candidate positions regions Determine skeleton (medial axis) of region (polygon) Determine longest path on skeleton as dominant shape Choose middle with suitable character spacing Vary a little for more candidates

20 Candidate positions regions, horizontal Choose spacing and determine length : height of label Compute largest scaled copy of the label (rectangle) that just fits inside the polygon Put the label in the correct font size in the middle of the scaled copy B e l g i ë

21 Removal part of the candidates Compute those candidate positions that intersect map features significantly, or would give unclear association, and remove them Nieuwegein

22 Reasons for removal Utrecht Zeist Readability text Visibility features Association Utrecht

23 Choosing from the candidates Translate to a graph problem (graph G): - each candidate position of each feature is a node in G - two nodes have an edge in G if their candidate positions intersect - two nodes have an edge in G if their candidate positions are of the same feature

24 Example Utrecht Bunnik

25 Computing intersecting candidates Each candidate is (approximately) a simple geometric shape Determine all pairs of intersecting candidates using a plane sweep algorithm O((n+k) log n) time, with k the number of intersecting pairs Typically: k = O(n)

26 Graph problem: maximum independent set Also called maximum stable set NP-hard problem: solving optimally is very time consuming Cannot be approximated with performance guarantees Many heuristics

27 Heuristics for maximum independent set Select each candidate that is adjacent to a clique, and remove the candidate and clique from the graph Repeat as long as possible (optimal selections) Select candidate that intersects few other candidates Select candidate if a feature has only one (or a few) candidates left Eliminate candidates that intersect many candidates

28 Refinements Features and labels have different importances  translate problem to maximum weight independent set First place areal labels, then determine candidate point labels and select, then determine line labels and place them (order of decreasing freedom of placement)

29 Labels in GIS Can label positions be pre-computed and stored, for better efficiency? No, because –Which themes are shown is not known beforehand; –Which scale and size of the map is needed is not known beforehand

30 Labels on interactive maps Pop-up labels, or labels only after click During zooming in, remove labels when their feature goes outside the frame During zooming in, allow more and more labels; during zooming out, remove labels of less important features Size of labels does not change!

31 Commercial packages Maplex for ESRI’s ArcInfo and ArcGIS EverName for MapInfo MapText for ArcInfo, ArcGIS, MapInfo, GeoMedia, …

32 User Interface of EverName


34 Output of EverName

35 Output of MapText


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