ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume II-2/W1
13 Sep 2013
 | 13 Sep 2013


K.-H. Sharkawi and A. Abdul-Rahman

Keywords: 3D City Models, CityGML, Semantic Updating, 3D Model Segmentation

Abstract. Cities and urban areas entities such as building structures are becoming more complex as the modern human civilizations continue to evolve. The ability to plan and manage every territory especially the urban areas is very important to every government in the world. Planning and managing cities and urban areas based on printed maps and 2D data are getting insufficient and inefficient to cope with the complexity of the new developments in big cities. The emergence of 3D city models have boosted the efficiency in analysing and managing urban areas as the 3D data are proven to represent the real world object more accurately. It has since been adopted as the new trend in buildings and urban management and planning applications. Nowadays, many countries around the world have been generating virtual 3D representation of their major cities. The growing interest in improving the usability of 3D city models has resulted in the development of various tools for analysis based on the 3D city models. Today, 3D city models are generated for various purposes such as for tourism, location-based services, disaster management and urban planning. Meanwhile, modelling 3D objects are getting easier with the emergence of the user-friendly tools for 3D modelling available in the market. Generating 3D buildings with high accuracy also has become easier with the availability of airborne Lidar and terrestrial laser scanning equipments. The availability and accessibility to this technology makes it more sensible to analyse buildings in urban areas using 3D data as it accurately represent the real world objects. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has accepted CityGML specifications as one of the international standards for representing and exchanging spatial data, making it easier to visualize, store and manage 3D city models data efficiently. CityGML able to represents the semantics, geometry, topology and appearance of 3D city models in five well-defined Level-of-Details (LoD), namely LoD0 to LoD4. The accuracy and structural complexity of the 3D objects increases with the LoD level where LoD0 is the simplest LoD (2.5D; Digital Terrain Model (DTM) + building or roof print) while LoD4 is the most complex LoD (architectural details with interior structures). Semantic information is one of the main components in CityGML and 3D City Models, and provides important information for any analyses. However, more often than not, the semantic information is not available for the 3D city model due to the unstandardized modelling process. One of the examples is where a building is normally generated as one object (without specific feature layers such as Roof, Ground floor, Level 1, Level 2, Block A, Block B, etc). This research attempts to develop a method to improve the semantic data updating process by segmenting the 3D building into simpler parts which will make it easier for the users to select and update the semantic information. The methodology is implemented for 3D buildings in LoD2 where the buildings are generated without architectural details but with distinct roof structures. This paper also introduces hybrid semantic-geometric 3D segmentation method that deals with hierarchical segmentation of a 3D building based on its semantic value and surface characteristics, fitted by one of the predefined primitives. For future work, the segmentation method will be implemented as part of the change detection module that can detect any changes on the 3D buildings, store and retrieve semantic information of the changed structure, automatically updates the 3D models and visualize the results in a userfriendly graphical user interface (GUI).