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3D and height

With the exception of our DTM products, our current product portfolio is largely 2D-centric. However, we increasingly observe that many of our customers are using 2D data to help make decisions that are inherently three-dimensional in nature; for instance, planning and consulting on urban change, asset management, civil contingency planning and risk assessment. Consequently, our research is working to anticipate our customers’ 3D needs in order to help make these decisions.

As an organisation we are intent on 3D-enabling our core databases and our product and service portfolio. This simply means our existing 2D-centric view could be supplemented with the addition of 3D content stored and maintained within a 3D geospatial database. This leads us to a concentration of effort in the following 3 areas:

  • Creating a new generation of elevation models.
  • Adding ground height values to 2D vertices and features in our existing 2D datasets, spanning topographic features, routing networks and address points.
  • Generating elevations for features that extrude from the ground surface, including buildings, structures and vegetation.

On-going research includes data capture of Digital Terrain Models (DTM), Digital Surface Models (DSMs), simple extruded building models and full 3D building models with complex roof geometries. The examples shown are of some prototype data that has been captured for Newcastle and Sheffield city centres. Where possible, automation has been employed. However, complex roof geometries offer challenges that require semi-automated and at times manual approaches. Minimising manual data capture is a key area that will reduce cost and time.

Data storage and maintenance of 3D data is another key area of current and future research. Questions to be answered include – what data model could be employed that would enable Ordnance Survey to efficiently store and maintain our potentially complex 3D datasets? How do we generate products from our 3D database? How do we maintain these products?

This research supports the Geography, GeoData Engineering and Data Capture and Analysis research themes.

Contact us

For more information:

Contact: Anne Patrick, Research Project Coordinator

Email: universityenquiries@os.uk

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