3D Hilbert Space Filling Curves in 3D City Modeling for Faster Spatial Queries

Uznir Ujang, Francesc/François Antón Castro, Suhaibah Azri, Alias Abdul Rahman, Darka Mioc

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The advantages of three dimensional (3D) city models can be seen in various applications including photogrammetry, urban and regional planning, computer games, etc. They expand the visualization and analysis capabilities of Geographic Information Systems on cities, and they can be developed using web standards. However, these 3D city models consume much more storage compared to two dimensional (2 D) spatial data. They involve extra geometrical and topological information together with semantic data. Without a proper spatial data clustering method and its corresponding spatial data access method, retrieving portions of and especially searching these 3D city models, will not be done optimally. Even though current developments are based on an open data model allotted by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) called CityGML, its XML-based structure makes it challenging to cluster the 3D urban objects. In this research, the authors propose an opponent data constellation technique of space-filling curves (3D Hilbert curves) for 3D city model data representation. Unlike previous methods, that try to project 3D or n-dimensional data down to 2D or 3D using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) or Hilbert mappings, in this research, they extend the Hilbert space-filling curve to one higher dimension for 3D city model data implementations. The query performance was tested for single object, nearest neighbor and range search queries using a CityGML dataset of 1,000 building blocks and the results are presented in this paper. The advantages of implementing space-filling curves in 3D city modeling will improve data retrieval time by means of optimized 3D adjacency, nearest neighbor information and 3D indexing. The Hilbert mapping, which maps a sub-interval of the ([0,1]) interval to the corresponding portion of the d-dimensional Hilbert's curve, preserves the Lebesgue measure and is Lipschitz continuous. Depending on the applications, several alternatives are possible in order to cluster spatial data together in the third dimension compared to its clustering in 2 D.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of 3-D Information Modeling
Issue number2
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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