Automatic building outline extraction from ALS point clouds by ordered points aided hough transform

Elyta Widyaningrum*, Ben Gorte, Roderik Lindenbergh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
86 Downloads (Pure)


Many urban applications require building polygons as input. However, manual extraction from point cloud data is time- and labor-intensive. Hough transform is a well-known procedure to extract line features. Unfortunately, current Hough-based approaches lack flexibility to effectively extract outlines from arbitrary buildings. We found that available point order information is actually never used. Using ordered building edge points allows us to present a novel ordered points-aided Hough Transform (OHT) for extracting high quality building outlines from an airborne LiDAR point cloud. First, a Hough accumulator matrix is constructed based on a voting scheme in parametric line space (θ, r). The variance of angles in each column is used to determine dominant building directions. We propose a hierarchical filtering and clustering approach to obtain accurate line based on detected hotspots and ordered points. An Ordered Point List matrix consisting of ordered building edge points enables the detection of line segments of arbitrary direction, resulting in high-quality building roof polygons. We tested our method on three different datasets of different characteristics: one new dataset in Makassar, Indonesia, and two benchmark datasets in Vaihingen, Germany. To the best of our knowledge, our algorithm is the first Hough method that is highly adaptable since it works for buildings with edges of different lengths and arbitrary relative orientations. The results prove that our method delivers high completeness (between 90.1% and 96.4%) and correctness percentages (all over 96%). The positional accuracy of the building corners is between 0.2-0.57 m RMSE. The quality rate (89.6%) for the Vaihingen-B benchmark outperforms all existing state of the art methods. Other solutions for the challenging Vaihingen-A dataset are not yet available, while we achieve a quality score of 93.2%. Results with arbitrary directions are demonstrated on the complex buildings around the EYE museum in Amsterdam.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1727
Number of pages29
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Building outline
  • Hough transform
  • Ordered points
  • Point cloud
  • Regularization


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