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Using KML for Thematic Mapping Awarded with Distinction

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MSc in Geographical Information Science 2008

Using KML for Thematic Mapping
Awarded with Distinction

Bjørn Sandvik

Institute of Geography
School of GeoSciences
University of Edinburgh

Primary supervisor:
Bruce Gittings,
Institute for Geography, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh
External supervisor:
James Reid,
EDINA, University of Edinburgh

Copyright of this dissertation is retained by the author and The University of
Edinburgh. Ideas contained in this dissertation remain the intellectual property of the
author and their supervisors, except where explicitly otherwise referenced.
Part 1: Research Paper
All rights reserved. The use of any part of this paper reproduced, transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise
or stored in a retrieval system without the prior written consent of the author and The
University of Edinburgh (Institute of Geography) is not permitted.
Part 2: Supporting Document
The Supporting Document is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share
Alike License Version 3.0. The Thematic Mapping Engine (TME) and the
thematicmapping.org website solely remain the intellectual property of the author.
The TME source code is available under a GNU General Public License Version 3.

Statement of originality and length
“I declare that this dissertation represents my own work, and that where the work of
others has been used it has been duly accredited. I further declare that the length of
the components of this dissertation is 5050 words for the Research Paper and 8807
words for the Supporting Document.”

13 August 2008

Part 1: Research Paper

Using KML for Thematic Mapping
Bjørn Sandvik
Institute of Geography
School of GeoSciences
University of Edinburgh

Abstract
The use of geobrowsers has increased considerably over the last few years. Thematic
mapping has a long history in cartography, but the new geobrowsers (like Google
Maps and Earth) tend not to focus on this aspect of geographical information
representation. This paper examines how Keyhole Markup Language (KML) can be
used for thematic mapping. KML is not targeted towards thematic mapping, but it is
possible to use KML elements in ways that were probably not intended. Current
possibilities for making proportional symbol maps, chart maps, choropleth maps and
animated maps with KML will be presented. These experiments show that KML and
geobrowsers offer great potential for thematic mapping, but that there are ...
MSc in Geographical Information Science 2008
Using KML for Thematic Mapping
Awarded with Distinction
Bjørn Sandvik
Institute of Geography
School of GeoSciences
University of Edinburgh
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