Home Business Awards A SMART award from the DTI is helping geospatial experts Laser-Scan to...

A SMART award from the DTI is helping geospatial experts Laser-Scan to develop a new automatic text placement product.

By enabling automatic text placement Laser-Scan’s new product will offer benefits to the increasing array of applications which deliver maps on demand, for example within the field of e-government and e-commerce.

Textual labels (for example, town names or road names) form a significant element in many maps, charts, plans and other forms of visual representation of geographic information. The quality of the text placement is largely measured by the degree of overlapping with underlying and other graphics, the topology (the knowledge of spatial relationships) and the selection of features to be labelled.

For many types of map the effort expended in generating and placing text by hand is often greater than that of creating the lines, areas and symbols. In the production of paper maps there was often no alternative to this expensive method of placing text. However in the move towards new concepts of “on demand” information, tasks that previously took a human being several days are now expected to be completed by a server within a few seconds. Label positions must be calculated dynamically in order to reflect the user’s choice of representation and extents.

The new capability is to be developed within the company’s Gothic Object-Oriented (OO) Java Application Development environment.

SMART (Small Firms Merit Award for Research and Technology) Awards are
Government grants, given to establish the feasibility of innovations and inventions and to help the development of products through to the pre-production state.