Framing guidelines for multi-scale map design using databases at multiple resolutions

Cynthia A. Brewer, Barbara P. Buttenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


This paper extends European research on generating cartographic base maps at multiple scales from a single detailed database. Similar to the European work, we emphasize reference maps. In contrast to the Europeans' focus on data generalization, we emphasize changes to the map display, including symbol design or symbol modification. We also work from databases compiled at multiple resolutions rather than constructing all representations from a single high-resolution database. We report results demonstrating how symbol change combined with selection and elimination of subsets of features can produce maps through almost the entire range of map scales spanning 1:10,000 to 1:5,000,000. We demonstrate a method of establishing specific map display scales at which symbol modification should be imposed. We present a prototype decision tool called ScaleMaster that can guide multi-scale map design across a small or large range of data resolutions, display scales, and map purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-15
Number of pages13
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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