[Talk-GB] building shapes from OS Street View

TimSC mapping at sheerman-chase.org.uk
Sat Apr 10 13:33:42 BST 2010

Hi again, thanks for the comments.
> How well would this scale up to the whole country? (!! Not automatically importing the results of course !!) I'm thinking about tile/batch sizes, tile boundary issues, 
I was thinking about using a sliding window approach, by loading in an 
extra margin from surrounding tiles, selection pixels by colour, create 
edge fragments as before. But in this case, the step that creating 
polygons should only use the central region of the image for the 
starting point of the polygon. This should avoid any buildings getting 
cut in half at the tile edge.

> any necessity for porting parts to c++ for speed etc.
Converting edge fragments to polygons is the slow step at the moment - 
about 15 minutes a tile. I am using the approach describe in the link 
below. Fortunately, I know a bit of Boost.Python and C++ if we need the 
speed. I suspect a better algorithm in python could improve the speed 
issue rather than resorting to C++.


I am also seeing the limitations of my approach. Problems arise from the 
lack of image resolution and the anti-aliasing of the colours in the 
image. Since I am using a binary classification by colour for selecting 
pixels, it tends to result in rounded corners (due to the colour 
blending into the backgound). The polygon simplification then has to 
descriminate between a rounded corner due to anti-aliasing and corner 
which is real. Given the resolution, a straight edge might only be 2 or 
3 pixels long, and a rounded corner has a radius of about... 2 or 3 
pixels. But then, these building shapes are also a total nightmare to 
manually survey. Example attached (you will probably need to zoom in):


I have some ideas for a better algorithm (based on active contour 
models), but that is pretty complex. I will give that some thought. 
Basically, we need to segment the shape but not by simply binary 
selecting pixels inside or outside the shape (and it can try to be 
orthogonal, if possible). The code I have does provide a good 
initialisation of the model, so it is hardly wasted effort. If anyone 
has any better ideas, you can have a copy of my python code to try things.



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