The national mapping agency of Belgium has joined the project to advance the development of automated generalisation.

The national mapping agency of Belgium has joined those of Great Britain and Denmark in a project to advance the development of automated generalisation.

IGN Belgium (Institut G¿raphique National - Nationaal Geografisch Instituut) is the new member of the Mapping Agencies Generalisation NETwork (MAGNET) project which already includes Ordnance Survey Great Britain (OSGB) and Kort & Matrikelstyrelsen (KMS, Denmark).

MAGNET aims to consolidate and extend current generalisation capabilities in line with the business requirements of its members. The organisations involved in MAGNET will drive the development of Laser-Scan's newest automatic generalisation product: Clarity. While Laser-Scan provides the expertise and knowledge to build the technology behind Clarity, the company is relying on input and feedback from the members to make Clarity a truly useful customer-focussed product. The functionality of Clarity is based on the highly successful AGENT project.

Laser-Scan's Senior Sales Executive Richard Heap said:

"We are delighted to welcome IGN Belgium to MAGNET. The Clarity project is already underway and we're looking forward to making further progress with IGN's input."

The first phase of the MAGNET project is due for completion in July 2003 when the new Clarity framework will become available to MAGNET members. Future phases of MAGNET will extend the scope of its intelligent generalisation, and also make Clarity available within a mainstream IT environment.

Generalisation is the task of deriving maps or geodata products at a smaller scale, starting with more detailed existing mapping or source data. It involves exaggerating those aspects that are important for this particular purpose and scale, and removing irrelevant detail that would clutter the map and confuse the user. Generalisation allows a series of products to be produced from a single database.