Topographic maps, both paper and computerized, require specific qualifications in the end users - planners,
designers, geodesists, etc. These maps offer the user some simplified information about reality, described in
accordance with a meaningful set of cartographic conventions. Overlaid with an orthophoto, such cartographic
information becomes a photomap, representing the surface in a more realistic way. A non-expert, used to perceiving
environmental reality through landscape images taken from the Earth's surface, faces certain difficulties interpreting
images collected from an aircraft or satellite. In fact, modern technologies do not provide the mass user with fullvalue
visual information about the real environment.
The mass-user is not generally concerned about using maps for measurements, but rather uses them to search for
some semantic information. Thus, a new, mass-user-oriented branch of GIS should be based on a new concept - geo-information reality, i.e., mass-user-oriented modeling of the environment. The key to this concept is an object-graphic
basis for GIS, bringing to bear modern methods of acquiring, storing, and representing visual and textual
information in digital form. This paper presents the proposed concept in detail.