Optimizing active ranges for consistent dynamic map labeling

Ken Been, Martin Nöllenburg, Sheung Hung Poon, Alexander Wolff

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Map labeling encounters unique issues in the context of dynamic maps with continuous zooming and panning - an application with increasing practical importance. In consistent dynamic map labeling, distracting behavior such as popping and jumping is avoided. We use a model for consistent dynamic labeling in which a label is represented by a 3d-solid, with scale as the third dimension. Each solid can be truncated to a single scale interval, called its active range, corresponding to the scales at which the label will be selected. The active range optimization (ARO) problem is to select active ranges so that no two truncated solids intersect and the sum of the heights of the active ranges is maximized. Simple ARO is a variant in which the active ranges are restricted so that a label is never deselected when zooming in. We investigate both the general and simple variants, for 1d- as well as 2d-maps. Different label shapes define different ARO variants. We show that 2d-ARO and general 1d-ARO are NP-complete, even for quite simple shapes. We solve simple 1d-ARO optimally with dynamic programming, and present a toolbox of algorithms that yield constant-factor approximations for a number of 1d- and 2d-variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-328
Number of pages17
JournalComputational Geometry: Theory and Applications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Active range optimization
  • Approximation algorithms
  • Consistent dynamic map labeling
  • NP-hardness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Geometry and Topology
  • Control and Optimization
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


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