# Simplifying Complex Shapes: Understanding the Simplification Tolerance

Simplification is an essential tool in geospatial analysis, particularly for optimizing shapes and reducing complexity without losing critical details. This technique is used in Eligible Area Analysis jobs on Maya, where users can set their own simplification tolerance.

Maya uses the Ramer–Douglas–Peucker algorithm, a method used to simplify the shape of a line or a polygon by reducing the number of points that define it. Imagine you have a complex, wavy line with lots of little details, and you want to create a simpler version that keeps the overall shape but without all the twists and turns.

**Here’s how it works:**

- The algorithm starts with the first and last points of the line.
- It checks all the points in between to find the one that is the farthest away from the straight line connecting the first and last points.
- If this farthest point is too far from the straight line (based on a tolerance level you set), it keeps this point and splits the line into two sections.
- It repeats this process for each section, simplifying it more and more until the remaining points are close enough to the original line.

The result is a simplified version of the line or shape that keeps the important parts but removes small, unnecessary details. This is useful in mapping because it helps reduce file size and complexity and makes the shape easier to work with without losing its key features.

Written by Delphine-Marie Zacharias 🧡