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Issue No. 01 - January (2011 vol. 17)
ISSN: 1077-2626
pp: 101-114
Jonathan Stott , University of Kent, Canterbury
Peter Rodgers , University of Kent, Canterbury
Juan Carlos Martínez-Ovando , University of Kent, Canterbury
Stephen G. Walker , University of Kent, Canterbury
This paper describes an automatic mechanism for drawing metro maps. We apply multicriteria optimization to find effective placement of stations with a good line layout and to label the map unambiguously. A number of metrics are defined, which are used in a weighted sum to find a fitness value for a layout of the map. A hill climbing optimizer is used to reduce the fitness value, and find improved map layouts. To avoid local minima, we apply clustering techniques to the map—the hill climber moves both stations and clusters when finding improved layouts. We show the method applied to a number of metro maps, and describe an empirical study that provides some quantitative evidence that automatically-drawn metro maps can help users to find routes more efficiently than either published maps or undistorted maps. Moreover, we have found that, in these cases, study subjects indicate a preference for automatically-drawn maps over the alternatives.
Information visualization, diagram layout, graph drawing.

P. Rodgers, S. G. Walker, J. C. Martínez-Ovando and J. Stott, "Automatic Metro Map Layout Using Multicriteria Optimization," in IEEE Transactions on Visualization & Computer Graphics, vol. 17, no. , pp. 101-114, 2010.
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