Does a Finer Level of Detail of a 3D City Model Bring an Improvement for Estimating Shadows?
3D city models are characterised by the level of detail (LOD), which indicates their spatio-semantic complexity. Modelling data in finer LODs results in visually appealing models and opens the door for more applications, but that is at the expense of increased costs of acquisition, and larger storage footprint. In this paper we investigate whether the improvement in the LOD of a 3D building model brings more accurate shadow predictions. The result is that in most cases the improvement is negligible. Hence, the higher cost of acquiring 3D models in finer LODs is not always justified. However, the exact performance is influenced by the architecture of a building. The paper also describes challenges in experiments such as this one. For instance, defining error metrics may not always be simple, and the big picture of errors should be considered, as the impact of errors ultimately depends on the intended use case. For example, an error of a certain magnitude in estimating the shadow may not significantly affect visualisation purposes, but the same error may considerably influence the estimation of the photovoltaic potential.
The detailed observations raised during the peer-review are gratefully acknowledged. We are thankful to the developers of the open-source software that was used in the realisation of this work, and to Ken Arroyo Ohori for suggestions which have accelerated the development of the method. This research is supported by the Dutch Technology Foundation STW, which is part of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and which is partly funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (project code: 11300).
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