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Open AccessArticle

A Representation Method for Complex Road Networks in Virtual Geographic Environments

1,2,3,4, 1,2,3, 1,2,3,*, 1,2,3, 1,2,3 and 5
Key Laboratory of Virtual Geographic Environment, Nanjing Normal University, Ministry of Education, Nanjing 210023, China
State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base of Geographical Environment Evolution (Jiangsu Province), Nanjing 210023, China
Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
Suzhou Industrial Park Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation Co., Ltd., Suzhou 215027, China
The 28th Research Institute of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, Nanjing 210023, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6(11), 372;
Received: 29 August 2017 / Revised: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 15 November 2017 / Published: 18 November 2017
PDF [14366 KB, uploaded 20 November 2017]


Road networks are important for modelling the urban geographic environment. It is necessary to determine the spatial relationships of road intersections when using maps to help researchers conduct virtual urban geographic experiments (because a road intersection might occur as a connected cross or as an unconnected bridge overpass). Based on the concept of using different map layers to organize the render order of each road segment, three methods (manual, semi-automatic and mask-based automatic) are available to help map designers arrange the rendering order. However, significant efforts are still needed, and rendering efficiency remains problematic with these methods. This paper considers the Discrete, Crossing, Overpass, Underpass, Conjunction, Up-overlap and Down-overlap spatial relationships of road intersections. An automatic method is proposed to represent these spatial relationships when drawing road networks on a map. The data-layer organization method (reflecting road grade and elevation-level information) and the symbol-layer decomposition method (reflecting road covering order in the vertical direction) are designed to determine the rendering order of each road element when rendering a map. In addition, an “auxiliary-drawing-action” (for drawing road segments belonging to different grades and elevations) is proposed to adjust the rendering sequences automatically. Two experiments are conducted to demonstrate the feasibility and efficiency of the method, and the results demonstrate that it can effectively handle spatial relationships of road networks in map representations. Using the proposed method, the difficulty of rendering complex road networks can be reduced. View Full-Text
Keywords: spatial relations; road networks; map symbol; map visualization spatial relations; road networks; map symbol; map visualization

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Zheng, P.; Tao, H.; Yue, S.; Wu, M.; Lv, G.; Zhou, C. A Representation Method for Complex Road Networks in Virtual Geographic Environments. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6, 372.

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