, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 73-89

First online:

A Multi-parameter Approach to Automated Building Grouping and Generalization

  • Haowen YanAffiliated withSchool of Mathematics, Physics and Software Engineering, Lanzhou Jiaotong UniversityGIS Division, Department of Geography, University of Zurich Email author 
  • , Robert WeibelAffiliated withGIS Division, Department of Geography, University of Zurich
  • , Bisheng YangAffiliated withState Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing, Wuhan University

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This paper presents an approach to automated building grouping and generalization. Three principles of Gestalt theories, i.e. proximity, similarity, and common directions, are employed as guidelines, and six parameters, i.e. minimum distance, area of visible scope, area ratio, edge number ratio, smallest minimum bounding rectangle (SMBR), directional Voronoi diagram (DVD), are selected to describe spatial patterns, distributions and relations of buildings. Based on these principles and parameters, an approach to building grouping and generalization is developed. First, buildings are triangulated based on Delaunay triangulation rules, by which topological adjacency relations between buildings are obtained and the six parameters are calculated and recorded. Every two topologically adjacent buildings form a potential group. Three criteria from previous experience and Gestalt principles are employed to tell whether a 2-building group is ‘strong,’ ‘average’ or ‘weak.’ The ‘weak’ groups are deleted from the group array. Secondly, the retained groups with common buildings are organized to form intermediate groups according to their relations. After this step, the intermediate groups with common buildings are aggregated or separated and the final groups are formed. Finally, appropriate operators/algorithms are selected for each group and the generalized buildings are achieved. This approach is fully automatic. As our experiments show, it can be used primarily in the generalization of buildings arranged in blocks.


Gestalt principles building grouping directional relations map generalization