National mapping agencies maintain topographic data sets at different scales. Keeping the data sets consistent, for example by means of automated update propagation, requires formal knowledge on how the different data sets relate to each other. This article presents a multi-scale information
model that, first, integrates the data states at the different scales and, second, formalises semantics on scale transitions. This is expressed using the Unified Modelling Language (UML) class diagrams, complemented with Object Constraint Language (OCL). Based on a requirement
analysis using the needs of the Netherlands' Kadaster as case study, this article examines several modelling alternatives and selects the optimal modelling approach for a multi-scale information model for topography. The model is evaluated through a prototype database implementation. The results
show that UML/OCL provides an appropriate formalism to model rich semantics on both multi-scale data content and scale transitions, which can be used for guarding consistency based on automated generalisation of updates. Further research is required to express generalisation specifications
that are currently not formalised and that are only available in software code or as cartographers' knowledge.
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