ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume I-2
13 Jul 2012
 | 13 Jul 2012


P. Boguslawski, C. M. Gold, and A. A. Rahman

Keywords: 3D modelling, data structures, GIS, CAD, building management

Abstract. Buildings are often modelled as two-dimensional (2D) footprints which are extruded to simple cubes. Buildings are also represented as more complex objects with roofs, facades, etc. – in this case they are polyhedra, sometimes of a complex shape. These allow for visualisation and analysis of a wide area like a city, but micro-scale analysis of interiors is not possible. An example can be rescue operation simulation where information about the internal structure of a building and the external terrain is crucial to improve the response time. It demands a three-dimensional (3D) model where each room is represented as a separate element; there are also doors, windows, walls and other objects that have to be included. Even complex geometrical models can be easily constructed using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems. However, lack of semantic information and topological relations makes such models poor choices for GIS analysis. With the new dual half-edge (DHE) data structure and a set of Euler operators a 3D model can be built as in CAD systems, and represented as a cell complex. Construction of non-manifold objects is also possible. An advantage of the DHE is simplicity – only edges and nodes are used. Because of the 3D duality implemented in the structure volumes (cells) and faces are also present in the model. The geometry of a model is constructed explicitly by using Euler operators: connections between elements are created automatically, and semantic information is represented with attributes which can be assigned to any element of the model.