Automated building generalization based on urban morphology and Gestalt theory

Zhilin Li, H. Yan, T. Ai, J. Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

174 Citations (Scopus)


Building generalization is a difficult operation due to the complexity of the spatial distribution of buildings and for reasons of spatial recognition. In this study, building generalization is decomposed into two steps, i.e. building grouping and generalization execution. The neighbourhood model in urban morphology provides global constraints for guiding the global partitioning of building sets on the whole map by means of roads and rivers, by which enclaves, blocks, superblocks or neighbourhoods are formed; whereas the local constraints from Gestalt principles provide criteria for the further grouping of enclaves, blocks, superblocks and/or neighbourhoods. In the grouping process, graph theory, Delaunay triangulation and the Voronoi diagram are employed as supporting techniques. After grouping, some useful information, such as the sum of the building's area, the mean separation and the standard deviation of the separation of buildings, is attached to each group. By means of the attached information, an appropriate operation is selected to generalize the corresponding groups. Indeed, the methodology described brings together a number of well-developed theories/techniques, including graph theory, Delaunay triangulation, the Voronoi diagram, urban morphology and Gestalt theory, in such a way that multiscale products can be derived.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-534
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


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