On procedural urban digital twin generation and visualization of large scale data

by   Sanjay Somanath, et al.

The desired outcome for urban digital twins is an automatically generated detailed 3D model of a building from aerial imagery, footprints, LiDAR, or a fusion of these. Such 3D models have applications in architecture, civil engineering, urban planning, construction, real estate, GIS, and many others. Further, the visualization of large-scale data in conjunction with the generated 3D models is often a recurring and resource-intensive task. However, a completely automated end-to-end workflow is complex, requiring many steps to achieve a high-quality visualization. Methods for building reconstruction approaches have come a long way from previously manual approaches to semi-automatic or automatic approaches. The next step after reconstructing buildings is visualizing the buildings and their context. Advances in real-time rendering using game engines have enabled the extension of building reconstruction methods to procedurally generated context generation. This paper aims to complement existing methods of 3D building generation. First, we present a literature review covering different options for procedurally generated context generation and visualization methods in-depth, focusing on workflows and data pipelines. Next, we present a semi-automated workflow that extends the building reconstruction pipeline to include procedural context generation (terrain and vegetation) using Unreal Engine and, finally, the integration of various types of large-scale urban analysis data for visualization. We conclude with a series of challenges faced in achieving such pipelines and the limitations of the current approach. The steps for a complete, end-to-end solution involve developing robust systems for building detection, rooftop recognition, and geometry generation and importing and visualizing data in the same 3D environment.


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