Spatial database generalization deals not only with geometrical simplification, but also with changes in database schema and content. The purpose of this research is to suggest methods for database generalization through the abstraction of a detailed spatial database. To accomplish this goal, this study suggests a framework for database generalization, and then defines operators that reflect the changes in database schema and content within the generalization process. A set of operator sequences (workflows) is used to specify and arrange the operators required to abstract a given feature. In order to assess the validity of the suggested method, a prototype system is developed. The results show that the efficiency of generalization can be improved, and data loss or distortion reduced as well. ？ 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation ？ 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.