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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.
Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:17 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2011