Semi-automatic Building Acquisition

'System zur 3D-Objekterfassung für CAD und Virtual Reality Anwendungen'
(FKZ: 50-TT 9733)

Eberhard Gülch, Hardo Müller, Lemonia Ragia


The Institute for Photogrammetry of the University Bonn focuses part of the research efforts on the automation of the analysis of digital aerial-, satellite and close-range imagery. Single images, stereo as well as multiple image data can be handled.

Currently a semi-automatic system is being developed for the acquisition of complex 3D buildings in extended areas. The acquired volumetric building descriptions serve as input or for updating of 3D-city models. The system can be used as well for the modeling of building architecture, building interiors or industrial plants. The implementation of the CSG structure and the gluing of primitives has been performed by Roman Englert from the Institute of Computer Science III, University Bonn.

The system works in monoscopic mode and requires only short training times for an effective 3D acquisition. As automation tools an automatic height adjustment based on the adapted 3D model in one image can be performed. A final fine tuning step increases the precision. The creation of complex buildings is supported by a gluing or docking of volumetric primitives. A fully automatic texture extraction procedure from multiple images increases the animation capabilities.

Based on the 3D building data photorealistic views and animation can be generated as a basis for a variety of simulation and anlysis problems. A connection to the 3D visualization tools of the World Wide Web (WWW) has been implemented.

A variety of projects have been performed so far. The areas range from suburban areas to downtown FRANKFURT. Single images or stereo images were used. The integration of close range images for more realistic views of the façades are in preparation.

The system is applied to the semiautomatic building extraction from digital surface models, e.g. from laser scan data. The footprint is provided by the user, the roof heights are automatically derived by robust plane adjustment from the digital surface model.


3D Visualization in VRML 2.0

3D Visualization in VRML 1.0

Building acquisition in single images and given ground heights

Aerial image patch (by StadtVermA Frankfurt/Main)
Extracted building models
Building models with automatically extracted texture

Integration of close-range images

Close range image of a facade (with Kodak DC25)
Building model from aerial image with roof and wall textures from the aerial image. The main facade however is textured from the integrated close range image

Semi-automatic building acquisition in Digital Surface Models

Laserscan data Ravensburg (by Fa. TopoSys)
Semi-automatically extracted Buildings (Saddleback-roof and Box) with automatic computation of roof and ground heights for a given footprint.




  • Gülch, E., Müller, H.: Virtuelle Staedte aus digitalen Bildern. GeoBit
  • Gülch, E., Müller, H.: Virtuelle Staedte aus digitalen Bildern. In: Proceedings of Virtual GIS, Rostock, Sept.  28-29, 1998. (9/98, 9p.).
  • Ragia, L., Winter, S.: Contributions to a Quality Description of Areal Objects in Spatial Data Sets In:  Proceedings of ISPRS Commission IV Symposium, Stuttgart, Germany, September 7-10, 1998. (6/98, 8p.).
  • Müller, H.:  Object-oriented modeling for the extraction of geometry, texture and reflectance from digital images . In: Proceedings of ISPRS Commission IV Symposium, Stuttgart, Germany, September 7-10, 1998. (6/98, 8p.).
  • Läbe, T., Gülch, E.:  Robust Techniques for Estimating Parameters of 3D Building Primitives. In: Proceedings  of ISPRS Commission II Symposium, Cambridge, UK, July 13-17, 1998. (5/98, 8p.).
  • Gülch, E., Müller, H., Läbe, T., Ragia, L.:  On the performance of semi-automatic building extraction. In:  Proceedings of ISPRS Commission III Symposium, Columbus, Ohio, July 6-10, 1998. (5/98, 8p.).
  • Brunn, A., Lang, L., Gülch, E., Förstner, W.: A Hybrid concept for 3D Building Acquisition, in: Journal for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing, Vol.53, No.2, April 1998, pp.119-129 .
  • Hardo Müller: Designing an object-oriented matching tool (7/97, 8 p.).
  • Eberhard Gülch: Application of Semi-Automatic Building Acquisition (5/97, 10 p.).
  • Eberhard Gülch, Hardo Müller: Object-oriented software design in semiautomatic building extraction (4/97, 12 p.).
  • Eberhard Gülch: Extraction of 3D objects from aerial photographs (11/96, 18 p.).
  • Ansgar Brunn, Felicitas Lang, Eberhard Güch, Wolfgang Förstner: A Multi-Layer Strategy for 3D Building Acquisition (9/96, 28 p.).
  • Roman Englert, Eberhard Gülch: One-Eye Stereo System for the Acquisition of Complex 3D Building Descriptions (6/96, 8 p.).
  • Related Literature


    Dr.-Ing. Eberhard Gülch
    Institut für Photogrammetrie
    Nußallee 15, D-53115 Bonn
    Tel: +49 228 73 2904     Fax: +49 228 73 2712     e-mail:
    EG - 18 Dexember 1998