Rendering map data at scales smaller than their source can give rise to map displays exhibiting graphic conflict, such that objects are either too small to be seen or too close to each other to be distinguishable. Furthermore, scale reduction will often require important features to be exaggerated in size, sometimes leading to overlapping features. Cartographic map generalisation is the process by which any graphic conflict that arises during scaling is resolved. In this paper, we show how a Genetic Algorithm (GA) approach was used to resolve spatial conflict between objects after scaling, achieving near optimal solutions within practical time constraints. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.