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Home arrow News arrow Geospatial Data arrow OpenStreetMap 3D - a Web 3D Service (W3DS) based on user-generated free geodata     

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OpenStreetMap 3D - a Web 3D Service (W3DS) based on user-generated free geodata E-mail
Written by Department of Geography, University of Bonn   
19 March 2009

a first prototype is available for entire Germany  - Integration of OpenStreetMap and Digital Elevation Models and their use by means of interoperable GI-Web Services-http://www.osm-3d.org/

In the context of the research project 'Geodata Infrastructure 3D' the open geodata of OpenStreetMap (OSM) and the elevation data of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) were used for the development of a 3D Geodata Infrastructure (GDI-3D) based on open web service standards of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).
Entire Germany was used for a first test case.
A Web 3D Service (OGC W3DS) is providing the data as a 3D scene graph to the client. The first prototypical visualization of the OpenStreetMap data in 3D takes place in a W3DS client (XNavigator). In contrast to server side rendered maps (as in typical Web Map Services like www.osm-wms.de) a completely free client side interaction and navigation is possible. As all data is passed to the client computer a good internet connection and recent computer with its own graphic card are needed (cmp. system requirements). Therefore this method is also especially suitable for intranets.

The project "OSM-3D Germany" is accomplished by the Research group Cartography (Prof. A. Zipf), Department of Geography, University of Bonn

The project OSM-3D investigates the following research questions:

- Use potential and quality of user-generated geodata
- Scalability of concepts and services developed in GDI-3D.de
- Integration of user-generated data into interoperable geodata-/geoservice infrastructures based on open standards
- Development of statewide GDI-3D prototype
- Provide an interoperable platform for 3D city models
- Evaluation of cartographic visualisations in 3D, providing a platform for empirical studies

For the integrated elevation model eight different Level of details (LOD) were calculated. The number of the triangles and therefore of the data volume was reduced depending on the scale. The levels of detail are displayed in the 3D scene depending on the location of the observer.

The preprocessing is very computation-intensive and was accomplished on several computer clusters. For generating the integrated digital elevation model for Germany alone this lasted several weeks of CPU time. Simplified this contains the following steps:

1. Integration of the 2D data into the elevation model (Schilling et. al. 2007).

2. Simplification of the triangulation via edge contraction according to Garland & Heckbert (1997).

3. Leveling of the road and water network (Schillling et. al. 2008).

4. For some LODs a generalization of the 2D OSM data was applied.

As far as the OSM data contained building footprints they were transformed into 3D block models through extrusion. The heights were derived from height values or from the number of floors. If there was no information about the height of the buildings a random value was taken to construct the block models. In future versions additional information will be taken into account for differentiating the buildings further.

Additionally there are numerous descriptions that can be displayed in 3D as labels or symbols.

With XNavigator you can explore the virtual 3D model of Germany as a first prototype. The software contains functions which were developed in the context of the project GDI-3D.de. Among others you can query addresses, coordinates and further POI information via the OpenLS Geocoder and OpenLS Directory Services. Also one can adjust the illumination depending on date and time (solar settings). Later on further functions from GDI-3D.de will be adapted to OSM-3D.org, such as the 3D routing (adapted from www.OpenRouteService.org) or the integration of dynamic sensor data by appropriate Sensor Observation Services (OGC SOS).
XNavigator can be started over a Java Webstart Link.

Further screenshots and videos, which show the same technology, can be found at www.heidelberg-3d.de and www.nrw-3d.de. These do not show free or user generated geodata, but official data from surveying offices. In Heidelberg e.g. a 5-meter terrain model, as well as textured buildings (LOD2 and LOD3) are used. In NRW-3D.de all buildings in North Rhine-Westphalia have been integrated via CityGML - with more than 6 million LOD1 buildings the largest 3D city model known to us.

If you have feedback, suggestions, comments or further questions about the project or the technology, feel free to contact us ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ).
Please participate in our survey: http://data.giub.uni-bonn.de/limesurvey2/index.php?sid=62565&lang=en




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