2.6.2. Implicit Geometry

The concept of implicit geometries is an enhancement of the GML3 geometry model.

An implicit geometry is a geometric object, where the shape is stored only once as a prototypical geometry, for example a tree or other vegetation objects, a traffic light or traffic sign. This prototypic geometry object is re-used or referenced many times, wherever the corresponding feature occurs in the 3D city model. Each occurrence is represented by a link to the prototypic shape geometry (in a local Cartesian coordinate system), by a transformation matrix that is multiplied with each 3D coordinate of the prototype, and by an anchor point denoting the base point of the object in the world coordinate reference system. The concept of implicit geometries is similar to the well-known concept of primitive instancing used for the representation of scene graphs in the field of computer graphics [FVFH1995].


Fig. 2.3 Implicit Geometry model

Implicit geometries may be applied to features from different thematic fields in order to geometrically represent the features within a specific level of detail (LOD). Thus, each CityGML thematic extension module (like Building, Bridge, and Tunnel etc.) may define spatial properties providing implicit geometries for its thematic classes.

The shape of an implicit geometry can be represented in an external file with a proprietary format, e.g. a VRML file, a DXF file, or a 3D Studio MAX file. The reference to the implicit geometry can be specified by an URI pointing to a local or remote file, or even to an appropriate web service. Alternatively, a GML3 geometry object can define the shape. This has the advantage that it can be stored or exchanged inline within the CityGML dataset. Typically, the shape of the geometry is defined in a local coordinate system where the origin lies within or near to the object’s extent. If the shape is referenced by an URI, also the MIME type of the denoted object has to be specified (e.g. “model/vrml” for VRML models or “model/x3d+xml” for X3D models).

The implicit representation of 3D object geometry has some advantages compared to the explicit modelling, which represents the objects using absolute world coordinates. It is more space-efficient, and thus more extensive scenes can be stored or handled by a system. The visualization is accelerated since 3D graphics hardware supports the scene graph concept. Furthermore, the usage of different shape versions of objects is facilitated, e.g. different seasons, since only the library objects have to be exchanged.