# From Raw Data to Meaningful Information: A Representational Approach to Cadastral Databases in Relation to Urban Planning

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## Abstract

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## 1. Introduction

#### 1.1. Representational Approach

#### 1.2. Case of Study

- Semantic correction of height information of cadastral and planning databases (Section 2.3)
- 3D representation of height information on a 2D surface, compared to traditional 2D representation (Section 3.1 and Section 4.3)
- Occlusion of the built volumes from the street (Section 3.2 and Section 4.5) and onto neighboring volumes (Section 3.3 and Section 4.6)
- Visualization of the temporal evolution of the building stock (Section 4.8)
- Representation main of uses on the ground floor (Section 3.4 and Section 4.7)

## 2. Materials

#### 2.1. Cadastral Data Import and Normalization

#### 2.1.1. Cadastral Data Import

#### 2.1.2. Cadastral Data Normalization

#### 2.2. Parcel Level Aggregation

#### 2.2.1. Year of Construction

#### 2.2.2. Dominant Use

#### 2.2.3. Overbuilt and Underbuilt Area Measurement

- HB: Real height of the building, measured in number of floors above street level.
- HP: Maximum height according to the plan, measured in number of floors above street level.
- A: Area of a polygon entity (surface of land occupied).
- Parc: Set of parcels inside the area of study.
- Subp: Set of sub-parcels.
- FragZ: Set of fragments from the spatial intersection between parcel and planning layers (in zones).
- FragS: Set of fragments from the spatial difference between parcel and planning layers (in systems).

#### 2.3. Cadastral Cartography

#### 2.3.1. Height Information Correction

#### 2.3.2. Semantically Adjusting Cartographic Data to Planning Regulations

- (a)
- The volumes of balconies over the streets were disregarded because the Metropolitan regulations do not directly regulate the maximum height of these volumes but instead the buildings they are attached to. Therefore, a balcony would not be allowed only as a consequence of the floor it was attached to not being allowed.
- (b)
- Ventilation courtyards are a typological device that allows placing uses like kitchens and bedrooms in the core of the building and still be able to get ventilation and natural light. Although these courtyards are geometrically voids, from the planning regulations point of view, they are a design decision of the architect of the building and should not be considered as such but instead built up to the lowest volume they serve in its own parcel.
- (c)
- Staircase towers are not assigned a height value but are considered built volume. Since they have to give access to the adjacent volumes, its assumed height should be at least the height of the highest volume it serves in its own parcel.

#### 2.4. Planning Data

**Figure 3.**Diagram of the process to obtain the staircase towers (top) and ventilation courtyards (bottom) heights from neighboring geometry.

Fragment | Plan Entity | Condition | Operation | Symbology |
---|---|---|---|---|

Underbuilt | Zones | HB − HP < 0 | Intersection | Blue hues |

Conformant | Zones | HB = HP | Intersection | Grey |

Overbuilt | Zones | HB − HP > 0 | Intersection | Pink hues |

Overbuilt | Systems | HB > 0 | Difference | Dark green |

Conformant | Systems | HB = 0 | Difference | Light green |

## 3. Methods

#### 3.1. Representation of Overlapping Information in 3D

#### 3.2. Pedestrian-centric Representation of Height in 2D

**Code 1.**Python function to calculate occlusion projection.

def segment(floors, dist, eye): # All numbers are assumed positive if floors == 0: return 0 else: alpha = math.atan((floors * 3 - eye) / dist) beta = math.pi / 2 - alpha seg = dist * math.cos(beta) return seg

- For e = 0 is the apparent surface as seen from the pavement
- When d approaches infinity and e = 0, d is the projection of the height on the horizontal plane (d = h)
- As d increases, it has the oblique asymptote y = h·x − e

#### 3.3. View Occlusion by Neighboring Volumes

#### 3.4. Dominant Use in Ground Floor from Pedestrian Point of View

## 4. Results

#### 4.1. Representation of Aggregate Data

#### 4.2. Representation of Fragments in 2D

Dissolve | Moran’s I | Expected | z-score | p-value |
---|---|---|---|---|

None (a) | 0.515340 | −0.000060 | 95.380891 | <10^{−6} |

Inside Parcel (b) | 0.136500 | −0.000183 | 14.635925 | <10^{−6} |

All (c) | 0.108415 | −0.000142 | 12.782081 | <10^{−6} |

#### 4.3. Representation of Fragments in 3D

#### 4.4. Map of the Projection of the Apparent Surface

#### 4.5. Façade Height Projection onto the Horizontal Plane

#### 4.6. Occlusion by Higher Neighboring Volumes

#### 4.7. Activities on Ground Floor

**Figure 19.**Built area per floor and use (

**left**) and temporal evolution relative to street level (

**right**).

#### 4.8. Historic Perspective

#### 4.8.1. Building Age and Planning Regulations

#### 4.8.2. Built Area per Year of Construction and Use

#### 4.8.3. Built Area per Year of Construction and Floor

## 5. Conclusions

- The 3D visualization techniques allowed the discovery of patterns not obvious even for trained professionals, using the third dimension to convey information not possible in 2D, with the third dimension helping understand conceptual data.
- The 2D representation of height and use information onto the horizontal plan resulted in a very compact and synthetic visualization of the relation between the streets skyline, the planning regulations and the built environment from a pedestrian point of view.
- For data without associated cartography, multiple visualization techniques were used to extract meaningful data, in the form of charts or through aggregation operations into higher order geometric entities.
- To represent temporal information, a visualization similar to population pyramids was used for the age of buildings.

#### Future Work

## Acknowledgments

## Author Contributions

## Conflicts of Interest

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**MDPI and ACS Style**

Dalmau, F.V.; Garcia-Almirall, P.; Domínguez, E.R.; Escudero, D.F.
From Raw Data to Meaningful Information: A Representational Approach to Cadastral Databases in Relation to Urban Planning. *Future Internet* **2014**, *6*, 612-639.
https://doi.org/10.3390/fi6040612

**AMA Style**

Dalmau FV, Garcia-Almirall P, Domínguez ER, Escudero DF.
From Raw Data to Meaningful Information: A Representational Approach to Cadastral Databases in Relation to Urban Planning. *Future Internet*. 2014; 6(4):612-639.
https://doi.org/10.3390/fi6040612

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Dalmau, Francesc Valls, Pilar Garcia-Almirall, Ernest Redondo Domínguez, and David Fonseca Escudero.
2014. "From Raw Data to Meaningful Information: A Representational Approach to Cadastral Databases in Relation to Urban Planning" *Future Internet* 6, no. 4: 612-639.
https://doi.org/10.3390/fi6040612