Ask A Cartographer

Extracting polygons from Lidar

January 21 2012 | 0 comments
Categories: Map Data

I am working on a product that requires several thousand buildings to be digitized and I've been told there is a way to use the Lidar to basically pull out the polygons of the buildings so I wont have to spend several days just digitizing all the building of the city.

Any help or recommendations would be great, thank you.

Mapping Center Answer:

We don't have any out of the box tools to do this, nor there is a direct way of doing it in ArcGIS. If you are ArcObjects savvy the there is a sample Add-In that does this in a semi-automated way (you click on a LAS point and all the nearby points that are likely to be on a rooftop are found). We could potentially provide as an undocumented / unsupported starting point on top of 10.1 (PreRelease), if you think you will be able to use this ArcObjects script.

The other option (if you have strong ArcObjects programming experience) is to write custom code using the LasDataset API (available from 10.1) to automate the building extraction process. Note that this is not a trivial task, though.

If you are not ArcObjects savvy, then we do have business partners who offer feature extraction products (for example, Overwatch - http://www.featureanalyst.com/lidar_analyst.htm). You could contact them to see if they could help you.

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