, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 307–327 | Cite as

Generating seamless surfaces for transport and dispersion modeling in GIS

  • Fernando CamelliEmail author
  • Jyh-Ming Lien
  • Dayong Shen
  • David W. Wong
  • Matthew Rice
  • Rainald Löhner
  • Chaowei Yang


A standard use of triangulation in GIS is to model terrain surface using TIN. In many simulation models of physical phenomena, triangulation is often used to depict the entire spatial domain, which may include buildings, landmarks and other surface objects in addition to the terrain surface. Creating a seamless surface of complex building structures together with the terrain is challenging and existing approaches are laborious, time-consuming and error-prone. We propose an efficient and robust procedure using computational geometry techniques to derive triangulated building surfaces from 2D polygon data with a height attribute. We also propose a new method to merge the resultant building surfaces with the triangulated terrain surface to produce a seamless surface for the entire study area. Using Oklahoma City data, we demonstrate the proposed method. The resultant surface is used as the input data for a simulated transport and dispersion event in Oklahoma City. The proposed method can produce the seamless surface data to be used for various types of physical models in a fraction of the time required by previous methods.


GIS Computational geometry Computational fluid dynamics Transport and dispersion CAD Mesh generation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Camelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jyh-Ming Lien
    • 1
  • Dayong Shen
    • 1
  • David W. Wong
    • 1
  • Matthew Rice
    • 1
  • Rainald Löhner
    • 1
  • Chaowei Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.College of ScienceGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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