Journal of Combinatorial Optimization

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 32–51

Minimum covering with travel cost

  • Sándor P. Fekete
  • Joseph S. B. Mitchell
  • Christiane Schmidt

DOI: 10.1007/s10878-010-9303-0

Cite this article as:
Fekete, S.P., Mitchell, J.S.B. & Schmidt, C. J Comb Optim (2012) 24: 32. doi:10.1007/s10878-010-9303-0


Given a polygon and a visibility range, the Myopic Watchman Problem with Discrete Vision (MWPDV) asks for a closed path P and a set of scan points \(\mathcal{S}\), such that (i) every point of the polygon is within visibility range of a scan point; and (ii) path length plus weighted sum of scan number along the tour is minimized. Alternatively, the bicriteria problem (ii′) aims at minimizing both scan number and tour length. We consider both lawn mowing (in which tour and scan points may leave P) and milling (in which tour, scan points and visibility must stay within P) variants for the MWPDV; even for simple special cases, these problems are NP-hard.

We show that this problem is NP-hard, even for the special cases of rectilinear polygons and L scan range 1, and negligible small travel cost or negligible travel cost. For rectilinear MWPDV milling in grid polygons we present a 2.5-approximation with unit scan range; this holds for the bicriteria version, thus for any linear combination of travel cost and scan cost. For grid polygons and circular unit scan range, we describe a bicriteria 4-approximation. These results serve as stepping stones for the general case of circular scans with scan radius r and arbitrary polygons of feature size a, for which we extend the underlying ideas to a \(\pi(\frac{r}{a}+\frac{r+1}{2})\) bicriteria approximation algorithm. Finally, we describe approximation schemes for MWPDV lawn mowing and milling of grid polygons, for fixed ratio between scan cost and travel cost.


Covering Minimum Watchman Problem Limited visibility Lawn mowing Bicriteria problems Approximation algorithm PTAS 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sándor P. Fekete
    • 2
  • Joseph S. B. Mitchell
    • 1
  • Christiane Schmidt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied Mathematics and StatisticsStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Algorithms GroupBraunschweig Institute of TechnologyBraunschweigGermany

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