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Drawing and Labeling High-Quality Metro Maps by Mixed-Integer Programming

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2 Author(s)
Nollenburg, M. ; Inst. of Theor. Inf., Karlsruhe Inst. of Technol. (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany ; Wolff, A.

Metro maps are schematic diagrams of public transport networks that serve as visual aids for route planning and navigation tasks. It is a challenging problem in network visualization to automatically draw appealing metro maps. There are two aspects to this problem that depend on each other: the layout problem of finding station and link coordinates and the labeling problem of placing nonoverlapping station labels. In this paper, we present a new integral approach that solves the combined layout and labeling problem (each of which, independently, is known to be NP-hard) using mixed-integer programming (MIP). We identify seven design rules used in most real-world metro maps. We split these rules into hard and soft constraints and translate them into an MIP model. Our MIP formulation finds a metro map that satisfies all hard constraints (if such a drawing exists) and minimizes a weighted sum of costs that correspond to the soft constraints. We have implemented the MIP model and present a case study and the results of an expert assessment to evaluate the performance of our approach in comparison to both manually designed official maps and results of previous layout methods.

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Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 5 )