Among cartographic generalisation problems, the generalisation of sinuous bends in mountain roads has always been a popular one due to its difficulty. Recent research showed the potential of deep learning techniques to overcome some remaining research problems regarding the automation of cartographic generalisation. This paper explores this potential on the popular mountain road generalisation problem, which requires smoothing the road, enlarging the bend summits, and schematising the bend series by removing some of the bends. We modelled the mountain road generalisation as a deep learning problem by generating an image from input vector road data, and tried to generate it as an output of the model a new image of the generalised roads. Similarly to previous studies on building generalisation, we used a U-Net architecture to generate the generalised image from the ungeneralised image. The deep learning model was trained and evaluated on a dataset composed of roads in the Alps extracted from IGN (the French national mapping agency) maps at 1:250,000 (output) and 1:25,000 (input) scale. The results are encouraging as the output image looks like a generalised version of the roads and the accuracy of pixel segmentation is around 65%. The model learns how to smooth the output roads, and that it needs to displace and enlarge symbols but does not always correctly achieve these operations. This article shows the ability of deep learning to understand and manage the geographic information for generalisation, but also highlights challenges to come.
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