The Ordnance Survey, the National Mapping Agency (NMA) for Great Britain, has recently begun to research the possible extension of its 2-dimensional geographic information into a multi-dimensional environment. Such a move creates a number of data creation and storage issues which the NMA must consider. Many of these issues are highly relevant to all NMA’s and their customers alike, and are presented and explored here. This paper offers a discussion of initial considerations which NMA’s face in the creation of multi-dimensional datasets. Such issues include assessing which objects should be mapped in 3 dimensions by a National Mapping Agency, what should be sensibly represented dynamically, and whether resolution of multi-dimensional models should change over space. This paper also offers some preliminary suggestions for the optimal creation method for any future enhanced national height model for the Ordnance Survey. This discussion includes examples of problem areas and issues in both the extraction of 3-D data and in the topological reconstruction of such. 3-D feature extraction is not a new problem. However, the degree of automation which may be achieved and the suitability of current techniques for NMA’s remains a largely unchartered research area, which this research aims to tackle. The issues presented in this paper require immediate research, and if solved adequately would mark a cartographic paradigm shift in the communication of geographic information – and could signify the beginning of the way in which NMA’s both present and interact with their customers in the future
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