Remote sensing can be used to produce maps of land-cover, but to be of use to the GIS community these maps must first be vectorized in an intelligent manner. Existing algorithms suffer from the defects of being slow, memory intensive and producing vast quantities of very short vectors. Furthermore if these vectors are thinned via standard algorithms, errors are introduced. The process of vectorizing raster maps is subject to major ambiguities. Thus an infinite family of vector maps corresponds to each raster map. This dissertation presents an algorithm for converting raster maps in a rapid manner to accurate vector maps with a minimum of vectors. The algorithm converts raster maps to vector maps using local information only, (a two by two neighbourhood). The method is ‘exact’ in the sense that rasterizing the resulting polygons would produce exactly the same raster map, pixel for pixel. The method is ‘near optimal’ in that it produces, in a local sense, that ‘exact’ vector map having the least number of vectors. The program is built around a home-grown Object Oriented Programming System (OOPS) for the C programming language. The main features of the OOPS system, (called OopCdaisy), are virtual and static methods, polymorphism, generalized containers, container indices and thorough error checking. The following general purpose objects are implemented with a large number of sophisticated methods :- Stacks, LIFO lists, scannable containers with indices, trees and 2D objects like points, lines etc. To Rachel, without whom, Life, The Universe, and Everything would have become just plain too much. I.e. >, 42 The project to create a program to perform raster to vector conversion arose for a number of reasons :- This work was made possible by the forbearance of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, the requirements of the Catchment Studies section of the Hydrological Research Institute, the support / nagging / useful discussions of my colleagues and the gentle amusement of God. My thanks also to my proofreaders who revealed curious aspects of their characters by the nature of the errors they found. 4.2 How does one find an exact, near-optimal vector representation of a raster image? – an overview. Source.