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Placing dots in dot maps

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Dot mapping is a cartographic representation method to visualise discrete absolute values and their spatial distribution. To achieve this, dots equal in size and represented value are used. According to the dot value, a certain number of dots are used to depict a data value. These dots usually form dot clusters. The data value needs to be rounded to a multiple of the dot value. It is possible to roughly determine the visualised data value by counting the dots and multiplying this number with the dot value. As there are many parameters – dot size, dot value, map scale – to consider when designing a dot map, the manual way is very complex and time consuming. This paper presents a method to automatically create a dot representation of a dot map from given statistical data that needs no cartographic expertise. The dot representation may be combined with other elements, such as a topographic background, to form a complete map. So the algorithm can easily be integrated into the map design process. The paper refines the basic approach of automated dot mapping published earlier. The dot placement and arrangement have been improved compared to the basic method.
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Keywords: automation; cartography; dot maps; visualisation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Chair of Geodesy and Geoinformatics, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany

Publication date: December 2, 2014

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