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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2012, 1(2), 120-145;

A Unified Building Model for 3D Urban GIS

Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV), Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, University of Gävle, SE-801 76 Gävle, Sweden
Department of Urban and Regional Planning Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 May 2012 / Revised: 15 June 2012 / Accepted: 2 July 2012 / Published: 17 July 2012
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Several tasks in urban and architectural design are today undertaken in a geospatial context. Building Information Models (BIM) and geospatial technologies offer 3D data models that provide information about buildings and the surrounding environment. The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and CityGML are today the two most prominent semantic models for representation of BIM and geospatial models respectively. CityGML has emerged as a standard for modeling city models while IFC has been developed as a reference model for building objects and sites. Current CAD and geospatial software provide tools that allow the conversion of information from one format to the other. These tools are however fairly limited in their capabilities, often resulting in data and information losses in the transformations. This paper describes a new approach for data integration based on a unified building model (UBM) which encapsulates both the CityGML and IFC models, thus avoiding translations between the models and loss of information. To build the UBM, all classes and related concepts were initially collected from both models, overlapping concepts were merged, new objects were created to ensure the capturing of both indoor and outdoor objects, and finally, spatial relationships between the objects were redefined. Unified Modeling Language (UML) notations were used for representing its objects and relationships between them. There are two use-case scenarios, both set in a hospital: “evacuation” and “allocating spaces for patient wards” were developed to validate and test the proposed UBM data model. Based on these two scenarios, four validation queries were defined in order to validate the appropriateness of the proposed unified building model. It has been validated, through the case scenarios and four queries, that the UBM being developed is able to integrate CityGML data as well as IFC data in an apparently seamless way. Constraints and enrichment functions are used for populating empty database tables and fields. The motivation scenarios also show the needs and benefits of having an integrated approach to the modeling of indoor and outdoor spatial features. View Full-Text
Keywords: IFC; CityGML; UBM; unified building model; 3D city modeling IFC; CityGML; UBM; unified building model; 3D city modeling

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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El-Mekawy, M.; Östman, A.; Hijazi, I. A Unified Building Model for 3D Urban GIS. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2012, 1, 120-145.

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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. EISSN 2220-9964 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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