First country to be fully mapped in 3D

My former employer just announced that they have mapped all of Denmark's buildings and terrain in 3D. Denmark is small, but it’s still an amazing feat, considering its roughly 2.5 million buildings!

The modeling is mostly based on LIDAR data. I’ve seen several attempts to do this, but they have always resulted in either ugly or oversimplified buildings with flat roofs, or even worse made up of so many redundant points that no PC were able to show more than a few buildings at a time. This is the first fully automated attempt I’ve seen that comes out with a convincing result, and the scale of this is breathtaking. Considering they also have full terrain and surface model coverage, full high resolution ortho imagery coverage and lots of Pictometry (Birds Eye) imagery they can drape onto the facades, this makes for an impressive 3D model.

Hopefully there will soon be some more detailed images to share after the unvailing next week at the Danish geodata convention, but below are a few images I was able to find from a danish news site and an ad.

You can also find more details at Asger's blog.

Comments (5) -

  • I think the problem with a lot of LIDAR-based building models is that the algorithms we currently employ to simplify the point cloud or TIN aren't intelligent enough to handle roof structures. A more aesthetically pleasing model might not include HVAC, antennas or other equipment. Removing those features with current simplification tools might also remove the roof pitch or other features we'd want to include.

    This is great news for Denmark. I live in New Jersey and we're struggling to get our entire state imaged.
  • @John
    Yes, the hard part isn't making models from LIDAR. The really hard part is making good looking models from LIDAR. The algorithms used in the Danish models are specially developed to be robust to antennas, HVACs, trees etc in our Danish LIDAR dataset. And I think (in all modesty) that we have done a pretty good job. But even so, we of course have some cases where it is not possible to make a visually appealing model from LIDAR data with 1.6m point spacing.
  • Ludvig: The sensation is not about who does it better, but about who does it on this scale and at that low cost.
    As I also noted they have found a good balance between quality/detail and data/processing requirements. Too much detail requires too much of CPU/GPU, network, software and so on. BlomInfo also does highly detailed models as well, and this is only a supplement to that. In addition they have perfect correspondence between buildings and existing technical maps which makes it highly usable in GIS.
    Noone until now in their right mind have used LIDAR to make good looking models. BlomInfo have solved the problem, and this is the other part of the sensation.
  • having 3D map especially for urban area really help the town planner to plan the urban development. That one of the reason why i like 3D GIS very much.

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