Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to take a network of roads and lanes and reduce them to a schematic that shows their relationships but not their geographic shape.

A similar concept has been used for the London Underground map where the distances between stations are not too scale, it simply shows their relationships by vertices.

In my ideal world the roads would snap to a horizontal/vertical grid and the distances between them normalised. I am a Postgis/QuantumGIS user and want to know which tools or capabilities I should use to (for example) create a grid from Openstreetmap way data?

I also have access to ArcGis but no experience in using it.

share|improve this question
Since you have access to ArcGIS for Desktop you may want to check out its Schematics extension. – PolyGeo Sep 9 '13 at 6:45
I am looking into Schematics, but I need to set this up as a web service so am not sure if that is feasible. – user1331131 Sep 10 '13 at 7:56
There seems to be a Schematics extension to ArcGIS for Server. – PolyGeo Sep 10 '13 at 8:42

You might have a look at this paper: W. Meulemans, A. van Renssen, and B. Speckmann. Area-Preserving Subdivision Schematization. In Proceedings of GIScience 2010, LNCS 6292, pages 160–174, 2010.

The method presented is used for area subdivisions, but the "rectilinearization" algorithm could be reused for network data. It should be more simple since for your case there is no constrain on the preservation of the areas - only the topology has to be preserved.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, but I was hoping there were tools out there that might apply such an algorithm? – user1331131 Sep 3 '13 at 19:08
I am not aware of any tool doing that, sorry... – julien Sep 3 '13 at 19:11

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.