Open Building Models: Towards a Platform for Crowdsourcing Virtual 3D Cities

  • Matthias UdenEmail author
  • Alexander Zipf
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


Within the last years, Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) has developed rapidly and influenced the world of GIscience significantly. Most prominently, the Open Street Map (OSM) project maps our world in a detail never seen before in user-generated maps. Particularly within urban areas, the focus recently shifts from only streets towards buildings and other objects of the environment such as parks or street furniture. However, this innovation is mostly restricted to 2D so far. In order to come closer to the Digital Earth, it needs to be discussed, how the 3D aspect can be integrated into such VGI-projects. This article has two objectives that are closely related: firstly, the current situation of 3D-VGI is reviewed and crucial issues for future development are pointed out. This leads to the concept of defining a free and open web repository for architectural 3D building models. Therefore secondly, the concept of such a new web platform called Open Building Models is presented. This is an important effort towards 3D-VGI. The models can be linked to OSM objects and displayed by a dedicated 3D viewer. This can extend the possibilities to crowdsource 3D city models in the future.


Volunteered geographic information Open street map 3D city models 3D spatial data infrastructures 3D building modelling 



The authors would like to thank all proofreaders who helped to improve this article and particularly all contributors to the OSM-3D project. This research has been partially funded by the Klaus-Tschira Foundation (KTS) Heidelberg.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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