URAN: A Unified Data Structure for Rendering and Navigation
Current route planning services like Google Maps exhibit a clear-cut separation between the map rendering component and the route planning engine. While both rely on respective road network data, the route planning task is typically performed using state-of-the art data structures for speeding-up shortest/quickest path queries like Hub Labels, Arc Flags, or Transit Nodes, whereas the map rendering task usually involves a rendering framework like Mapnik or Kartograph. In this paper we show how to augment Contraction Hierarchies – another popular data structure for speeding-up shortest path queries – to also cater for the map rendering task. As a result we get a unified data structure (URAN) which lays the algorithmic foundation for novel map rendering and navigation systems. It also allows for customization of the map rendering, e.g. to accommodate different display devices (with varying resolution and hardware capabilities) or routing scenarios. At the heart of our approach lies a generalized graph simplification scheme derived from Contraction Hierarchies with a very lightweight augmentation for extracting (simplified) subgraphs. In a client-server scenario it additionally has the potential to shift the actual route computation to the client side, both relieving the server infrastructure as well as providing some degree of privacy when planning a route.
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