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Real time mapping and local information on the Web
By Ildiko Eniko BOGDANOVITS
Ph.D. student
Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
Email: bogdanovits@gmail.com

 

Real time mapping is rather new concept in cartography. The paper based analog maps permitted very limited transmission of temporal information, and information on paper-based maps were always related to certain moments in the past.
The necessity of the development of real time mapping correlates to the progress of the digital cartography.
The earlier analog ways of map construction are now obsolete and are used to show the great evolution in such a short time of a young but important new scientific discipline. Cartography was for a long period considered as a complementary tool of other sciences, such as geography. The birth of digital cartography led us to notice and serve new customer’s needs that can be no more satisfied by traditional map production.
Digital cartography led to new ways of map making and gave to cartographers more freedom in expressing and showing the world in maps.
In a thought, I would say, that the map specialist and common users of present digital cartographic products thinks of totally different things when they speak about correct maps. The GIS concept led to a new view of cartography, which is hardly understandable for common people, but very appropriate and useful for cartographers. Now it is the time for cartographers to produce from GIS usable environments for map users.
The spreading of digital technologies lends a new dimension to digital cartography. Meantime, the overestimated expectations regarding the new cartographical products became unrealistic, and, at the same time, there is a need for different ways of survey and data acquisition, the presentation of information and the view of the world. This is how the quick change of the world is starting to force digital technologies to solve the problems of the information and change in time.
The analog or paper maps would not allow cartographers to represent time as change on a static image. On printed maps the representation of changes or processes was, and still is, difficult problem, which can be solved by graphical tools, for example indicating movement by arrow systems.
The question is how do we understand the concept real time map?
In my opinion, real time map is the representation of scaled geospatial information in real time- related, structural model.
So, the main difference, which is going to define real time map from other maps, is the time factor. In an ideal situation, the goal of real time maps is the representation of changes in the real geo-space on a map at a certain moment.

This means, for example, that the construction of a road would result in the representation of the same road immediately, or at the same time on the digital map with no time differences.
The present technological environment makes me to believe that this kind of real time in mapping is going to remain theoretical in the near future. We are going to deal with some time intervals between the “birth“ of the information and its representation on any kind of digital product.

The diagram below shows the process of the display of the information on a map. 
COLLECTING THE DATA  ->  PROCESSING THE DATA  ->  EDITING THE DATA
In the technological context of our days this means that the time interval between the appearance of the information and representation of it in any ways is always measurable.
When a cartographer is talking about real time, one should think of the ontology of real time in cartographical representations. A part of my work is the definition of the meaning of real time in cartography. This is going to be the next step during my research work. In this paper, although this definition is far from being complete, under “real time” I understand the shortest interval of time which makes it possible to display the information on a map. Provided there is a special time period, meaning real time in cartography, I should reconsider the building of real time maps. Because real timing is supposed to be a short time interval approaching zero, I still think, that the construction of that kind of real time maps, where the representation of all objects is in real time, is not possible under the present technological possibilities.

I tried to find a field in cartographical representations, where real time expectances could be satisfied. I found, the best way of creating a real time map is to build a real time thematic content. I think in the near future, when we are going to talk about real time maps, cartographers mean that they are building real time thematic maps.
A preliminary research on the Web shows that there are lots of thematic real time maps, already in use. For example, some of the new navigation systems are using thematic, real time data to prevent the user from getting into traffic jams. Other applications are helping the user to follow trains on the Web, in this way saving waiting time at the station (example: there is such a train-following system in Dublin, Ireland).  The real time thematic can be used in many ways, from monitoring forest fires to navigational systems and weather forecasting and modeling.
How is this going to affect the applications on the web and the need of the common user is a question of future research. But real time mapping on the Web is going to provide a lot more information than we would ever imagine. For example, we can answer questions like ‘is the store at the corner still open’? Mapping and cartography will be forced to find the themes which are going to make the life of the Web users easier.
What we see now, is the big expansion of worldwide cartographical projects, providing map and satellite images to the world. I think the real future of these applications is to be used at local level and supply information to local interest. The future is going to provide a lot more local information on the web.
We already have a lot of real time applications on the Web, and they are going to be more and more in the near future, helping people’s everyday life by providing useful information.

 

I have MsC in cartography, obtained in 2004, my diploma work: “The first military survey in Transylvania”.
Currently I am PhD student at the Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Hungary, Earth Sciences Doctorate School, Cartographical Program, in the third year. My research topic is “Cartographic communication on the internet "Local info system map", opportunities of local information in the world of internet”. My consultant is Zsolt TOROK dr.
Studying the internet mapping I found that the future of the local information on the Web is going to be strongly connected to up to date information such as real time information. Real time mapping is rather new concept in cartography. The paper based analog maps permitted very limited transmission of temporal information, and information on paper-based maps were always related to certain moments in the past. The necessity of the development of real time mapping correlates to the progress of the digital cartography.
I work in the PannonCart Ltd. since 1999 since than I worked with a big variety of programs, like OCAD, CorelDraw, Microstation etc.
Conferences I took part:
Leopoldina meeting "Thematic Mapping in Geosciences - Applications using new technologies and media", Budapest, Hungary, 25-27 May 2006.
HUNGEO 2006, Pécs, Hungary, 21-25 August 2006. – Andras and Ildiko BOGDANOVITS: “Real-time mapping in the track of the energy sources”
"Cartography and History in Europe-Sociological, pedagogical, psychological and political aspects "International Seminar  o
rganized by Joseph Károlyi Foundation, 30-31 March, 2007 Chateau Károlyi, Fehérvárcsurgó, Hungary


The future of road maps
The transformation of navigation systems into maps
Andras BOGDANOVITS, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
Earth Sciences Doctorate School
Email: bogdanovits@gmail.com

 


Paradigm change in cartography


Cartographic paradigm is changing. A few years ago, when the computer-aided cartography started, nobody could imagine the future of the digital cartography. Many cartographers refused innovation and thought digital cartography had no future.
In a short time, in about fifteen years, it turned out that the cartography found its way with new technologies.
We remember the time when everybody thought, that computers are machines that assist in the production of the map, which would be always a paper based, analog product. On the other hand, as early as 1981 there was a project using a paper-based map with a gyroscope as navigation system. This foreshadowed the future needs of the accelerating way of life. At that time the role of computers’ in the map production wasn’t more than that of a pencil at drawing.
Later, with the spreading of the computing technologies, the expectations from the computer aided products exaggerated, and now common users expect mathematically impossible correctness and perfection from maps made with computers. But computers are made by man.
Computer aided technologies quickly found their way. Today, as we know, digital maps can be used in much more ways than it was thought before. The development of Web cartography and GIS helped the evolution of desktop digital cartography. But these technologies are mainly used indoor.
In the meantime, the growing number of cars and the rapid development of road network led to the necessity of a device, which would help people in the traffic. The spreading GPS usage helped in the invention of a device using a new type of cartographical product and this was the vehicle navigation system.
If we try to compare this digital approach to mapping products with the traditional mapping products, I would say, navigation systems are going to be the future road maps, city maps or tourist maps in one.
Lately the new navigation systems try to provide all the information requested from traditional maps. Digital technology gives much more possibilities in finding objects, points of interests (POI), landmarks or any self-marked geographical points. The technology is developing so fast, that the navigation systems are the first to integrate and connect more information systems, such as Web, GPS, mobile networks and other communication systems, in order to provide all sort of information to navigating user.


Dead end street for navigation systems


Mass produced devices for this purpose have serious disadvantages. The display screens are usually small and the visible information at a certain moment is limited.
In my opinion, the other problem of present navigation systems is that the maps used in the devices provide mainly a visual database, because the screens are so small that there isn’t enough space for cartographical designed information. On such a small display you can’t talk about spatial data’s, even if all the visualized information are georeferred, because the user can’t see any “neighborhood”, so can’t create a cognitive space from the information provided.
The presentation as a visual database would be no problem if the devices’ displays would be big enough to give the opportunity of seeing and analyzing a more extensive  geographical region.  Of course, in this case the user would be the “cartographer”, who would produce the useful information from the visual data’s.  As we can see this possibility leads to another problem, that is how can a user be a cartographer?
In short terms, the present form of navigation systems is working. But in the future we need other solutions, visualization of navigational information in the geographical space.


The solution: back to maps


The solution is now on its way. The new technologies like UMPC, Tablet PC, are still expensive, while other new innovations like the e-paper, two-three years ago an unimaginable device, are now in an exploding market development. These “screens”, I mark them like this, because these devices are too smart to be just screens, are going to give the solution for the visualization of data on the road.
If the future of the navigation system is going to expand in this way, the present usage of visual databases is going to change into cartographically designed information. This development leads back to what is the meaning of the map.
The navigation systems are like graphs, where the crossing points are the meeting points of roads and support additional information in some relational database. Basically, the main idea behind the function of the navigation systems is that every point has coordinates and some added information. To get along with a navigation system, we do not need any geographical knowledge because the device is turning back you the right direction, gives you “orders” what to do in order to get to your destination.
This is not a new invention. The ancient Romans had such databases’ called itineraries. These itineraries were basically descriptions of routes, which we would call today databases. Based on these itineraries the Romans tried to translate the information into a specific kind of map, which had only one purpose, to help the user navigating. In this way the user had a visualization of the cognitive map of the author. One famous transcription of such itineraries is the “Tabula Peutingeriana”. Studying it, I found, that its way of visualization is much like a graph, with straight lines and no real geographical reference, but giving correct distances from one settlement to the other, giving no “georeferred” coordinates.
The idea of modern navigation systems is not new, but information technologies give us more possibilities and the navigation systems provide various information in larger quantity to help their users. More than this, the users using Web2.0 technologies can adapt mapping and informational environment to their own needs and can share their information with others.

 

I have MsC in cartography, obtained in 2005, my diploma work: “The development of the roadmaps – The history of the Tabula Peutingeriana”.
Currently I am PhD student at the Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Hungary, Earth Sciences Doctorate School, Cartographical Program, in the second year. My research theme is “The future of the road maps”. My consultant is Zsolt TOROK dr.
During my research I want to study the future of the road maps. To understand and find answers for the future, first we must understand the present and the past, so I’m studying the evolution of road maps from the present and past, to find answers about how is going to change the future of road maps by using the modern informational technologies.

I work as cartographer since 1992 and I draw my first digital map in 1992 with AutoCad. With this map I had the privilege of taking part in the group of cartographers who made the first Hungarian computer aided mapping technology. Since 1996 I work in the PannonCart Ltd., using a big variety of programs, like OCAD, CorelDraw, Microstation etc.
Conferences I took part:
Leopoldina meeting "Thematic Mapping in Geosciences - Applications using new technologies and media", Budapest, Hungary, 25-27 May 2006.
HUNGEO 2006, Pécs, Hungary, 21-25 August 2006. – Andras and Ildiko BOGDANOVITS: “Real-time mapping in the track of the energy sources”
"Cartography and History in Europe-Sociological, pedagogical, psychological and political aspects"International Seminar  organized by Joseph Károlyi Foundation, 30-31 March, 2007 Chateau Károlyi, Fehérvárcsurgó, Hungary


 

 
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