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ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102

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ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

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Historic Building Information Modelling – Adding intelligence to laser

and image based surveys of European classical architecture
Maurice Murphy a,⇑, Eugene McGovern a, Sara Pavia b
Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street Campus, D1, Ireland
Trinity College, D2, Ireland

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Historic Building Information Modelling (HBIM) is a novel prototype library of parametric objects, based
Available online 9 January 2013 on historic architectural data and a system of cross platform programmes for mapping parametric objects
onto point cloud and image survey data. The HBIM process begins with remote collection of survey data
Keywords: using a terrestrial laser scanner combined with digital photo modelling. The next stage involves the
CAD design and construction of a parametric library of objects, which are based on the manuscripts ranging
Cultural heritage from Vitruvius to 18th century architectural pattern books. In building parametric objects, the problem
of file format and exchange of data has been overcome within the BIM ArchiCAD software platform by
using geometric descriptive language (GDL). The plotting of parametric objects onto the laser scan sur-
Software veys as building components to create or form the entire building is the final stage in the reverse engi-
neering process. The final HBIM product is the creation of full 3D models including detail behind the
object’s surface concerning its methods of construction and material make-up. The resultant HBIM can
automatically create cut sections, details and schedules in addition to the orthographic projections and
3D models (wire frame or textured) for both the analysis and conservation of historic objects, structures
and environments.
Ó 2012 International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Inc. (ISPRS) Published by Elsevier
B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction 1.1. Definition

In this paper Historic Building Information Modelling (HBIM) Historic Building Information Modelling (HBIM) is a novel
(Murphy et al., 2009) is described beginning with a short review solution whereby interactive parametric objects representing
of literature concerning parametric modelling and Building Infor- architectural elements are constructed from historic data, these
mation Modelling (BIM). The methodology for constructing a elements (including detail behind the scan surface) are accurately
library of interactive parametric objects based on historic archi- mapped onto a point cloud or image based survey. The architec-
tectural data is presented illustrating the sourcing and analysis tural elements are scripted using a geometric descriptive lan-
of historic architectural data and how the parametric architec- guage (GDL). The design and detail for the parametric objects
tural elements are coded using geometric descriptive language are based on architectural manuscripts ranging from Vitruvius
GDL. The building of the library is followed by an example of to Palladio to the architectural pattern books of the 18th century.
mapping the interactive parametric objects onto the laser scan The architecture of the renaissance introduced and documented
and image survey data, resulting in the automation of survey advanced scientific rules for the production of architectural ele-
engineering drawings and schedules, demonstrating the complete ments, which support the design of parametric models. The use
HBIM process. In conclusion, the evaluation process, which is, of historic data introduces the opportunity to develop detail be-
now under-way is outlined; initial results indicate the potential hind the object’s surface concerning its methods of construction
for HBIM for the conservation of historic structures and and material makeup In the final stage of the HBIM process, the
environments. prototype libraries of parametric objects (see sample of library
in Fig. 11) are mapped onto the point cloud and image survey
data using a system of cross software platform management. Full
engineering drawings orthographic, sectional and 3D models can
⇑ Corresponding author.
then be automatically produced from the Historic Building Infor-
E-mail addresses: (M. Murphy), Eugene.McGovern@DI- (E. McGovern), (S. Pavia).
mation Model.

0924-2716/$ - see front matter Ó 2012 International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Inc. (ISPRS) Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
90 M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102

Fig. 1. Pattern book details.

1.2. An additional and new approach be more easily adapted from the architectural pattern books
which emerged after the renaissance and beginning of the
Historic Building Information Modelling has been described in enlightenment period of the 17th and 18th centuries, these pat-
previous work (Murphy et al., 2009) which concentrated on the terns are interpreted for both geometric shapes and non uni-
identification of data collection using laser scanning and the pro- form shapes.
cessing of the scans in order to isolate and test the most suitable  The development of parametric and shape rules to re-produce
survey products for further modelling in HBIM. These were identi- the classical elements detailed in the pattern books using GDL
fied as segmented point cloud sections and ortho-images, used as is presented, these are illustrated in Figs. 2 and 3, and described
frameworks for plotting parametric. The concept for designing li- in a sample code. The shape commands and new library of
brary objects in GDL was introduced in addition to the design of primitives allow for all configurations of the classical orders in
a plotting procedure. The motivation for this work has evolved relation to uniform geometry. Non-uniform and organic shapes
from attempts to automate conservation documentation in the are developed in GDL through a series of procedures attempting
form of engineering drawing and schedules from laser scan and to maximise parametric content of the objects (see Figs. 4 and
image based surveys of historic structures. In the field of practice, 5). These shapes are stored as individual parametric objects or
particularly our work with historic structures in Ireland, it combined to make larger objects in a library and when used
emerged that conservation experts found it difficult to use point in the HBIM platform can be varied and deformed to match
cloud survey data as a basis for developing conservation documen- their requirements. The library range and size is best illustrated
tation. With the result that much of the valuable research in the by their use in models, this range is illustrated in Figs. 6 and
areas of remote sensing for architectural heritage was limited as 9–11.
a visualisation tool whereas its potential to automate documenta-  The problems of plotting onto point cloud and image survey
tion for the whole conservation cycle for historic structures is not data is addressed and solutions are proposed and tested, the
yet realised. In this paper the following new and additional aspects fact that Building Information Modelling generates its 3D mod-
are developed for modelling architectural heritage: els through plotting in 2D onto different planes, requires that
survey data be segmented and processed in 2D in the BIM envi-
 A historic framework for building a parametric library of archi- ronment. This has been solved through a series of procedures,
tectural elements is proposed, through assessing the evolution see Fig. 7. Secondly objects are re-generated and deformed
of architectural manuscripts in order to map and identify signif- through changing parameters and this is based on numeric data.
icant rules that represent a wide range of classical buildings, To facilitate this, a photo scaling application, which is
and can be applied to computer modelling. Secondly the inter- web-based, has been developed and is used for plotting and
pretation and understanding of these rules is essential and can measuring distances and angular values using two-dimen-
M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102 91

Fig. 2. Parametric and shape rules.

Fig. 3. Doric column.

sional segmented data. This automates the production of  Finally a design for end user scenario testing is proposed to
numeric parametric data for revising and plotting the library assess the suitability of HBIM as a tool for the automation of
objects onto the laser survey data. engineering drawings for the conservation process.
92 M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102

Fig. 4. Ionic capital.

Fig. 5. Corinthian column.

The HBIM approach is new as most applications of Building scan survey data. Their work, concentrated on the problems asso-
Information Modelling are applied to designing new buildings ciated with combining laser scanning and BIM through plotting
and new innovations that are concentrated around plug-ins for en- generic library objects onto the laser scan-based survey in a BIM
ergy, structural, economic analysis and scheduling of components environment. This approach did not include the creation of para-
as an addition to new architectural design. With the exception of metric libraries or improved plotting of objects onto the scan sur-
(Fai et al., 2011), very little work has been done in relation to mod- veys. The advantages of HBIM over other modelling approaches is
elling historic buildings and also generating BIM models from laser that the end result provides automated documentation in the form
M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102 93

Fig. 6. Example of architectural rules in façade plot.

Fig. 7. Point cloud interrogation.

94 M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102

Fig. 8. Plotting objects.

of engineering drawings for precise conservation of architectural tion and combination of parts, resulted in a grammar of ornament
heritage. This is in contrast to highly sophisticated visualisation and composition. The elements (mouldings, profiles, symbols, etc.)
products developed from procedural and other parametric model- become the architectural vocabulary; the whole composition
ling approaches whereby the main product is a visualisation tool. relates to a linguistic structure, this linguistic analogy offers archi-
HBIM differs from these approaches, as the product is the creation tecture a basis for analysis and understanding (Clarke and Crossley,
of full 3D models including detail behind the object’s surface con- 2000). More recently, linguistics is used for representation and
cerning its methods of construction and material makeup. In addi- semantics in the field of computing for procedural modelling of
tion 3D documentation is produced which includes orthographic buildings and virtual environments. Shape grammars (Stiny and
projections, sections, details and schedules (energy, cost decay Gips, 1972), introduced in the 1970s is now commonly used for
etc.), adding intelligence to point cloud data. conceptualising and analysing architectural design for computer
Using historic data to re-create the past or to restore or con- modelling. Buildings are based on different architectural styles
serve historic artefacts and buildings is common in the wider area and can be divided and represented by sets of basic shapes, these
of conservation (ICOMOS, 2011) and is a wide area of research. shapes are governed by replacement rules where a shape can be
Within both research areas of procedural and parametric model- changed or replaced by transformations. Shape grammar therefore
ling of architectural heritage the use of architectural knowledge can recognise architectural styles and urban planning configura-
to inform the creation of models is now becoming a common part tions. The introduction of procedural modelling, which is based
of a design approach (Chevrier et al., 2010, 2009; De Luca et al., on shape grammars, can automatically reconstruct and generate
2011; Muller et al., 2006; Wonka et al., 2003). While these works these styles and configurations in a virtual environment. In the
inform the HBIM approach they differ in their analysis of historic case of the generation of 3D city models, maps and land water
architectural data. HBIM focuses on the emergence of architectural boundaries are used to generate roadways and streets and the
pattern books to define architectural rules and detail. In addition a geometry of buildings and their position (Parish and Müller,
narrative is presented, which defines the evolution and form of 2001). Procedural modelling can automatically generate virtual
European classical architecture for computer-based modelling. models of single buildings based on shape grammars. In the case
The aim of producing conservation documentation as opposed to of applying grammars to architectural styles new rules were de-
sophisticated visualisation models requires different levels of accu- vised to improve the automation of the virtual models, for example
racy especially in the specification of construction detail behind split rules, divide up architectural structures and elements into
the scan surface. Wider and deeper historic sources in addition components, for example facades can be divided vertically into
to different software tools are therefore required. floors and horizontally into windows and their accompanying pan-
els (Aliaga et al., 2007; Muller et al., 2006; Wonka et al., 2003). In
2. Architectural 3D modelling – previous work the case of architectural heritage and archaeology the ‘‘Plastico di
Roma antica’’, a large plaster-of-Paris model of imperial Rome
2.1. Architectural modelling using shape grammars (16  17 m) created in the last century was scanned and modelled
as a mesh model. The model was then incorporated with other his-
In documenting the classical orders, renaissance architects for- toric and specialist information and with rule-based generation the
mulated a language whereby the rules, which govern the distribu- reconstruction of the ancient Rome was modelled, entitled ‘‘Rome
M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102 95

Fig. 9. HBIM including automated documentation.

Reborn 1.0’’ (Guidi et al., 2007, 2008) and extended to the whole metric primitives and generalised cylinders. When these models
city in the following project ‘‘Rome Reborn 2.0’’ (Frischer et al., do not fit with the surface, triangulation is performed similar to la-
2008). Shape grammar modelling contrasts with using an architec- ser data editing software (Deveau et al., 2005). A classical column
tural language to build parametric objects, whereby these objects is made up of a cylindrical shaft to one third of its height and a
are then plotted onto laser/image surveys to build a model, the for- tapering shaft for the remainder of the shaft; this subtlety may
mer is automatic and the later depends on human interaction com- not usually be detected by automatic or semi-automatic recogni-
bined with automation. tion of primitives. Parametric libraries of architectural elements
or objects can be built with precision for mapping onto different
2.2. Parametric modelling onto point clouds survey data sets if they are based on architectural language and
vocabularies. In their work (Chevrier et al., 2009), state, ‘‘only sim-
The process of mapping vectors onto a 3D point cloud can be ple geometrical shapes are automatically adjusted to cloud points’’
improved by automatically placing primitive 2D or 3D shapes onto and only visible parts of the objects can be modelled and rebuilt.
the point cloud by locating/defining shapes on the point cloud as Hidden parts are often predictable and can be created as paramet-
primitives. For example a primitive shape of a cylinder can be ric objects based on historic architectural data. In more recent
mapped onto the point cloud to represent a column, which is then work Chevrier et al., 2010, develop parametric components for
textured from the associated image data (Abmayr et al., 2005). An 3D modelling of architectural elements, in a Maya Environment
improvement in mapping can be achieved by recognising that combined with a Graphical User Interface (GUI), they automati-
buildings are a set of elements, organised by spatial relationships cally construct 3D models of the objects based on point cloud
determined by an architectural style or language. The architectural and image survey data. In this study they concentrate on window
elements can be represented in libraries as parametric objects and openings, which they automatically generate as parametric models
mapped onto point cloud or image-based surveys (De Luca et al., of walls and their openings, further parameters can be added based
2007). In similar work (Deveau et al., 2005), primitive objects are on historic and other survey data sources. Historic architectural
mapped onto the scan and image data; these are detected through and geometrical knowledge is essential in order to create architec-
semi-automatic extraction of the objects where the object localisa- tural parametric objects or elements.
tion is initialised by user interaction. This is then followed by fully De Luca et al. (2011, 2006, 2007) have developed a system for
automatic segmentation of both the image and 3D data where each modelling and representing architectural heritage through a soft-
object needs to be reconstructed from planar surfaces, general geo- ware platform, called NUBES. They propose a methodology for
96 M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102

Fig. 10. From scan to HBIM to automated documentation.

Fig. 11. Samples of object library.

the semantic description of architectural elements based on his- tify the dominant surface as the internal and external fabric or
toric architectural knowledge, which is used to construct a shape envelope of a structure, which is separated in the modelling pipe-
library and is organised spatially as completed structures within line from other parts of the artifact or structure. They describe
the NUBES framework. They establish their analysis of the classical architectural mouldings as the key building atoms of classical
language of architecture on historic architectural manuscripts, in architecture, which make up and add complexity to the geometry
their work they refer to three renaissance manuscripts; Alberti, of larger elements such as walls, columns and beams, windows
Serlio and Palladio. They identify a number of concepts for analys- doors. Their library of shapes is based on sets of geometric primi-
ing the geometrical character and make-up of classical buildings tives, which form the architectural mouldings, which are described
and for the reinstatement of the buildings’ shape within a virtual as basic elements (atoms). The fact that objects in classical archi-
environment. As a first step in their modelling pipeline they iden- tecture can be linked by intermediate shapes, which allow for tran-
M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102 97

sition between the atoms is essential in describing the behaviour of visualisation of objects is achieved through viewing 2D and 3D
architectural elements within their spatial framework. In addition features, plans, sections, elevations and 3D views. BIM can
they identify the use of repetition of architectural elements (colon- automatically create cut sections, details and schedules in addition
nades, façade symmetry and proportion) that make up the whole. to orthographic projections and 3D models (wire frame or textured
They state that orthographic plans, elevations and surveys can also and animated). BIM uses building semantics to represent buildings
inform the creation of objects (De Luca et al., 2006, 2007) and com- and their components in a virtual environment (Boeykens et al.,
pliment the knowledge taken from architectural manuscripts. In 2008). The evolutionary stages of architectural CAD have moved
their most recent publications they outline a WEB based system from 2D graphic computer representation to parametric modelling
for describing, analysing, documenting and sharing digital repre- to nD modelling (Tse et al., 2005) and onto feature extraction and
sentations of heritage buildings using their improved methodolo- finally more recently to Building Information Modelling.
gies (De Luca et al., 2011). The leading BIM software platforms are Autodesk Revitt (Auto-
desk, 2011), GraphiSoft ArchiCAD (Graphisoft, 2011) and Bentley
2.3. Parametric modelling – Building Information Modelling Architecture (Bentley, 2011). ArchiCAD is an architectural design
application, built around the BIM concept as a standalone applica-
The basic parameters, which describe vector objects, are shape tion. In ArchiCAD the modelling of objects can be achieved through
and volume and can be simply expressed as coordinate points using standard parametric construction elements. These elements
and their orientation as an angular value within a 3D space. The are embedded in the software (such as walls, columns, beams,
specification for the materials and texture can accompany the slabs, roofs, etc.) or created as new objects using the embedded
numerical data. The 3D object as a parametric model can be edited scripting language geometric descriptive language GDL. The use
to revise any or all of its parameters of construction, texture and of GDL allows for the creation of any number of rich parametric
orientation. Parametric CAD differs from generic 3D CAD, as BIM objects and for their storage in internal libraries or data bases
parameters are assigned to an object prior to its use. For example, for further reuse or modification (Tse et al., 2005). Revit is also a
AutoCAD is an a C++ written object-oriented program, the objects BIM modelling platform, where the user constructs a mass model
which are used to create the lines, arcs, and dimensions that in with a combination of solid forms and void forms. The faces of
turn create architectural elements are not parametric. These ob- the mass volume can be turned into building elements and floors
jects exist as graphic entities but they do not have intelligence and other architectural elements can be generated inside the mass
(Ibrahim and Krawczyk, 2004; Ibrahim et al., 2003). Parametric model (Boeykens et al., 2008). Bentley differs from Archi-CAD and
modelling can be described as systems which solve object con- Revit in that it exists as a plug-in for other Bentley platforms.
straints by applying sequential commands to model variables such
as geometry, shape, surface texture or feature (Shah and Mäntylä,
3. Building a library of parametric objects
1995). Architectural elements are represented as real world enti-
ties by capturing their characteristics, function and performance
3.1. Historic framework for building a parametric library of
under different conditions. The parametric objects can be adaptive
architectural elements
to wider architectural scenarios reducing their level of detail or
alternatively capture specific knowledge reducing their wider use
Data concerning historic construction techniques and architec-
(Garba and Hassanain, 2004). Other strategic evolutionary stages
tural details can be found in architectural manuscripts, which have
of 3D CAD are Boundary Representation (B-rep) and Constructive
evolved from Vitruvius to the 17th and 18th century Architectural
Solid Geometry (CSG) these were both developed in the 1970s
Pattern Books. It is essential to identify the correct sources for
and 1980s; Boundary Representation (B-rep) provides details of
describing the rules and cannons of classical architecture. Initially
an object’s shape by describing the object’s faces, edges and verti-
in this section, the evolution of these manuscripts is summarised
ces and their relationships. Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) rep-
chronologically in order to map and identify significant rules,
resents objects using primitive shapes and subsequently combines
which represent a wide range of classical buildings and can be ap-
these in 3D spaces using Boolean operations to create additional
plied to computer modelling. Secondly the interpretation and
objects. These are low-level operations and intangible in terms of
understanding of these rules is essential and can be more easily
a designer’s requirements, a further evolutionary stage introduced
adapted from the architectural pattern books which emerged after
the concept of describing the features and characteristics of an ob-
the renaissance and beginning in the enlightenment period of the
ject. Feature based CAD can refer to geometry, specification of
17th and 18th centuries. The analysis for modelling of architecture
materials etc., in addition to function which describes the objects
is confined to the classical period in the 17th and 18th centuries in
role (e.g. wall, door, window, etc.) and performance which indi-
Ireland and Europe. The classical architecture of this period is
cates how elements relate to each other; the window can cut an
based on ordered components, geometric proportion and a limited
opening in a wall (Gross, 2001; Van Leeuwen, 1999). Feature based
range of material and texture and is an ideal subject for the build-
CAD enables the modification and variation of parameters by the
ing of parametric components for virtual models.
user, the incorporation of object features (such as openings in ele-
ments) and interactions between elements within a spatial envi-
ronment (Van Leeuwen et al., 1996). 3.2. Evolution of manuscripts and rules for classical architecture
This is now described as Building Information Modelling (BIM)
and differentiates itself as an object intelligent architectural CAD The most important classical source for architecture is the trea-
tool rather than a drafting tool. BIM can be described as the assem- tise ‘‘De architectura’’ by Vitruvius, his treatise was possibly written
bling of parametric objects within a virtual environment, these ob- before 27 BC, and during the first century AD. The text survived in
jects which represent building components are then used to create various manuscripts during the middle ages. Marcus Vitruvius Pol-
or form an entire building. The parametric building objects are not lio was a Roman architect working in the reign of the Emperor
defined singularly but as systems using interaction with other Augustus. Vitruvius observed design and geometry in ancient
objects and their own values (shape, texture, etc.) within a BIM. architecture of Rome and Greece and documented the classical or-
Objects are described according to parameters some of which are ders, proportions, methods of construction and materials. Classical
user defined and others, which relate to position in a 3D architecture was revived during the renaissance, introducing new
environment relative to other shape objects (Eastman, 2007). The and more scientific rules for the interpretation of Roman and Greek
98 M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102

buildings and also for the production of drawings and surveys. Al- out the five orders are interpreted from a more recent manuscript
berti, published his work ‘‘De re aedificatoria’’ (On the Art of Build- (Ware, 1903), the proportions for the component parts are
ing) in 1452. This was as an attempt to interpret the work of expressed as fractions of the diameter of the base of the column
Vitruvius and to improve on its philosophical and intellectual con- (as opposed to minutes). The choice to establish the design of the
tent. There were no illustrations included in the original and it was parametric columns on Vignola’s proportions relates to the fact
written in Latin. At the same time, Marini, published his interpre- that his illustrations focused on the five orders introducing a
tations of Vitruvius, unlike Alberti it contained illustrations, pre- clearer method for setting up the proportions (Evers and Thoenes,
senting the laws of classical proportion. In 1537, Sebastiano 2003; Vignola, 1596; Ware, 1903).
Serlio published ‘‘Regole generali d’architettura’’ (General Rules of Fig. 1, detail 1 is an illustration from Pain’s 18th century which
Architecture). In 1562 Vignola published his ‘‘Regola Delli Cinque gives a description of the geometry of the Doric column capital and
Ordini D’architettura’’ (The Five Orders of Architecture) which was the modular arrangement of the base of the column, dividing it
mainly illustration and lacked text, resulting in a more practical into 60 units (Pain, 1788). In detail 2, from the 19th century; frac-
aid for building (Chitham, 2005; Evers and Thoenes, 2003; Jok- tions are introduced as minutes (60 divisions); this approach is
ilehto, 1986). While Andrea Palladio’s 1570 work ‘‘Quattro Libri much simpler for calculations (Ware, 1903). In the 20th century
dell’Architettura’’ (The Four Books of Architecture) also documented publication, (Chitham, 2005) metric divisions were introduced for
a succinct account of the rules of classical architecture, his treatise, the main elements, using four scales A, B, C and D. Scale A repre-
set out full design for buildings (in plan, elevation and section), and sents the main elements (pedestal, column and entablature etc.)
influenced greatly architecture in Europe and later its colonies, ascending and descending from the underside of the column
(Pain, 1788; Palladio, 2000). plinth, but further subdivided into tenths of the column diameter.
Scale B shows the proportions of the principal divisions and subdi-
3.3. Adapting design rules from architectural pattern books visions of the order. Scale C shows the proportions of the minor
subdivisions, and scale D repeats these in running or cumulative
In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, architectural pattern figures.
books were written and devised by both architects, builders and
theoreticians and were widely available in Europe and its colonies. 3.5. Building architectural elements using geometric descriptive
The rules of the Renaissance Architects were more comprehen- language
sively documented in the Vernacular Pattern books which are spe-
cific to European and colonial regions. Architectural pattern books Geometric descriptive language (GDL) is an open script based
are a record of local design. These books contained the historic con- language embedded in Graphisoft ArchiCAD. ArchiCAD software
struction techniques used in the 18th century such as geometry divides parametric objects into built construction elements (walls,
and principles of the external and internal structure and fabric con- columns, beams, etc.) and GDL objects. GDL provides access to
struction; positioning of openings; proportional relationship of the modelling of objects through a BASIC like language; these objects
building’s elements; and classical detailing (Langley, 1756; Pain, are specifically constructed for one or many uses and carry the re-
1788). quired parametric information for the object’s function. All GDL
objects are created within a three dimensional space, this space
3.4. Building a library part – classical orders is measured by the x, y, and z-axes, the origin of which is called
the global origin (0, 0, 0). The global origin and local coordinate sys-
Classical proportioning consists of a series of modular relation- tem prepares the position, orientation and scale of objects, marking
ships, which are based on the diameter of the base of the column, positions of objects or shapes, which can be moved on the x, y, and
which represents a single module. Vignola’s manuscripts, which z-axis. The local coordinate system can be moved and provides a
concentrated on the five orders, introduced additional and more reference to the current point of an object with reference to the
precise methods for setting up classical proportions. He did this global origin. Shapes are scripted, based on primitives that repre-
by dividing the order into a ratio of the pedestal, column and sent the simplest solid objects; these are the building blocks of
entablature, see column one in Table 1. Using these ratios for the GDL and culminate to create the more complex parts, which are
larger elements reduced the complexity of calculations that arose stored in libraries. The primitives are stored in the computer mem-
if the whole building was related to the diameter of the base of a ory in binary format, and the 3D engine generates them within 3D
column. The sub-relationships between the column and details space. The primitives are made up of all the vertices of the object’s
such as mouldings were usually devised using 60 divisions of min- components, all the edges linking the vertices and all the surface
utes, which represented the diameter of the base of the column as polygons within the edges. The primitives are formed together in
a single module in Table 1, the measurements and rules for laying groups known as bodies; these bodies make up the 3D model.

Table 1
Elements according to vignola.

Type of order Tuscan Doric Ionic Corinthian Composite

Entablature Height of cornice 3/4D 3/4D 7/8D 3/4D 3/4D
Height of frieze 1/2D 3/4D 6/8D 1/2D 1/2D
Height of architrave 1/2D 1/2D 5/8D 1/2D 1/2D
Capital Height of abacus 1/6D 1/6D 1/3D 7/6D 7/6D
Height of echinus 1/6D 1/6D
Height of necking 1/6D 1/6D
Shaft Astragal 6D 7D 8D 8 1/3 8 1/3
Height of shaft
Upper diameter of shaft 5/6D 5/6D 5/6D 5/6D 5/6D
Lower diameter of shaft 5/6D 5/6D 5/6D 5/6D 5/6D
Base Height of torrus 1/2D 1/2D 1/2D 1/2D 1/2D
Height of plinth
M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102 99

For shapes that become more complicated and for transformations, The Doric Entablature (see Fig. 3a) consisting of decorated cor-
which are more abstract, additional values are required in their nices, friezes and architraves are developed using similar moul-
definition, which may not be found in simple primitives. GDL also dings and their profiles are achieved using 2D prism shapes,
includes Boolean operations, Meshing, NURBS and shape com- which are given depth or sent on linear paths. Mouldings whether
mands for creating organic and non-uniform 3D shapes (Watson, used in columns or architraves are based on 2D profiles repre-
2009). sented by the width and height, all of which can be expressed as
variables in terms of the diameter of the base of the column (see
3.6. Developing parametric and shape rules using GDL Fig. 3c).
Both primitives and mouldings are combined into a compound
Although mouldings can be represented through the combina- object (Fig. 3a), in this case a Doric column and entablature, addi-
tion of cylinders and deformed ellipses and spheres, it is better tional transformations can re-scale the subsequent whole or parts
to combine these with lathed prisms and revolved poly-lines in or- of shapes or rotate the object around any of its axis. Non-geometric
der to represent mouldings more accurately. The 2D profile of the parameters such as texture, pen and fill are introduced to replace
objects are represented on the z and x-axis and then revolved to re- fixed values, making the object more flexible. These variables are
quired value. An example of shape and parametric rules are illus- accessible from the library parts settings dialog box within the
trated in Fig. 2, these shapes represent classical mouldings and software platform. When the object is placed, the variables and
are designed to exploit and maximise the full range of parameters, parameters can be changed to match the object it represents in real
deformation of shapes and abstract transformations. The sample world terms; other common parameters are formation level and
script below is designed to create a series of parametric shapes, rotational transformations. The component or objects are placed
which represent the classical mouldings and their deformations. in libraries or databases; the use of flow control, macros, subrou-
The diameter of the base of the column is represented by the cyl- tines and loops can re-introduce these objects in repetition or re-
inder radius (r1) allowing the moulding to deform in proportion vised state.
to the column and other elements. The radius of the moulding pro-
file (r2) can vary depending on the profile geometry also negative
3.7. Decoration and non-uniform shapes
values can be inserted to change from convex to concave profiles.
Numeric masking values are attached in the code to establish the
Organic shapes such as the Corinthian and Ionic capitol require
construction of the curve in the profile, these can be radius, tangent
more complex design based on NURBS, meshing and Boolean oper-
or point and angle based syntax (Capo, 2006).
ations. The scroll in Fig. 4 was formed using NURBS and depth was
added using slab commands, the scroll is based on the pattern book
!!! MOULDING GEOMETRY (see Fig. 4a) (Chitham, 2005; Pain, 1788), which lays out a compli-
MATERIAL ‘‘Paint 02’’ cated geometry for establishing the scroll radii.
HOTSPOT 0,0,0 The Acanthus leaf (from pattern book) in Fig. 5a (Langley, 1756;
variables Ware, 1903), was formed using NURBS to build a 2D profile and
r1= 1 !!!Cylind_rad meshing was then used to add the irregular depth of the leaf.
r2 = .25 !!!curve profile Group and solid operations were used to create the bend in the leaf
a = 180 deg !!! profile angle around the column and the bend at the top of the leaf (see Fig. 5c);
the object is bent in two in two directions. The range of parameters
attributed to the Acanthus leaf is limited to its bounding box i.e.
!!! Transformations height, width and depth and the radius of the bend around the col-
ROTy-90 umn. Finally the leaf is repeated to match the columns diameter
REVOLVE 3, 360, 3, through a looping procedure (see Fig. 5d).
Finally in Fig. 6, the rules of classical architecture are illustrated
X coordinate Y coordinate Masking values in an ensemble of the classical orders combined with the structural
0 0 1 elements of walls, roofs, windows, domes and entrance doorways.
0 r1 1 This plot was developed in a HBIM environment using the devel-
r2 a 2001 oped library and based on reconstruction from original historic
drawings. The plotting process is detailed in the next section of this
!!! Masking values define visibility of edges and appropriate
shape status for curves

A Doric column is represented in Fig. 3, using coordinate transfor- 4. Plotting parametric objects onto laser and image-based
mations the primitives are stacked on the Z-axis or alternatively survey
moved on the x and y-axis to form the column. The block represents
the base of the column a cylinder and a cone, are added on the z- 4.1. Plotting vectors onto point cloud surveys
axis to represent the column shaft (the cone represents the tapering
of the column one third up the shaft). The height and width of each The majority of current software platforms for creating engi-
element is represented by a variable expressed in terms of the ob- neering drawings from laser scan surveys are created by mapping
jects height, width or diameter, for example cone_ht = the height vectors onto the point cloud or textured point cloud. This is a com-
of the cone and cone_rad1 = the first radius of the cone, which rep- plex process as the data size of the point cloud is large and map-
resents the upper shaft of the column, these primitives are com- ping in 3D space onto a point cloud is difficult because of point
bined with the mouldings in Fig. 2. The variables used to and edge detection and location. Segmentation of the point cloud
represent each value for the primitives are expressed in terms of is necessary in order to identify the correct surfaces for plotting
the base diameter of the column, for example the cone_rad1 is of vectors. Vectors can then be plotted onto both the point cloud
equal to the half the diameter of the column base. A series of conical and the ortho-image; this process is largely manual, although addi-
shapes can be used to represent further deformations in the column tions to software platforms to automate the mapping process in-
shaft. clude profiling and the creation of paths.
100 M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102

4.2. Plotting parametric objects onto point cloud surveys tort the width or the height. Once the image is uploaded and dis-
played the user is asked to begin selecting two points. These
Mapping parametric objects as opposed to vectors onto the initial are true coordinate values for these points based on survey
point cloud can overcome the slow task of plotting and locating data. Using javascript the position of the mouse is located in the
every vector onto the cloud surface. The use of parametric objects window, and using JQuerys offset method the position of the image
can also introduce the opportunity to develop detail behind the ob- element is determined. To locate the point in the image the user is
ject’s surface concerning its methods of construction and material selecting, a HTML div which is over-layed on that particular point
make-up. Within Historic Building Information Modelling, the li- with the size of 1 pixel. Using Javascript in this manner, means that
brary of parametric objects is designed as a plug-in for existing correct values will be determined regardless of the users screen
software platforms with the addition of a set of procedures and a resolution or for example if the browser is set a certain zoom level.
framework for mapping these objects onto point clouds and image The code sample below locates the current x and y position when
surveys. Before the parametric objects are plotted a range of soft- the image is clicked at any point or location.
ware is required for processing the laser survey data prior to devel-
$(‘img’).click(function(e) {
oping the data as a HBIM. The point cloud survey requires a series
var offset = $(this).offset();
of pre and post processing stages, involving cleaning, sorting and
alert(e.clientX – offset.left);
combining of different sets of point cloud data, which is followed
alert(e.clientY –;
by surfacing and texturing. The initial processing stage, involves
cleaning and removing erroneous data or artefacts followed by
re-sampling and reducing the density of the data for overly dense
point clouds. Registration is the combination of several point The ortho-images and segmented point clouds are interrogated
clouds taken from different observation points or the referencing to automate linear and angular measurements which are contained
of the scanned object in a global or project coordinate system. in data sheets and used to establish the require parameters of li-
Polygonal surface meshing creates a surface on a point cloud; the brary objects. These parameters are all numerical values and range
created surface is made up of triangles connecting the data points from length, breath, height, formation level, diameters, radii and
into a consistent polygonal model. Following the creation of a tri- angular displacement position for the objects.
angular mesh the results are then textured from associated image
information. The point cloud data can be considered as a skeletal 4.5. Adjusting parameters and plotting objects
framework, which is then mapped using parametric architectural
elements to form the HBIM. Ortho-images and segmented point Before placing a construction element, or GDL object, in a HBIM,
cloud sections and elevations are the initial data imported as image the default parameters can be edited, changing the parameters of
and geometric data for further processing within the HBIM plat- shape, size or other properties to correspond with the survey data,
form. Ortho-images are photo realistic models containing width, the parameters for objects are calculated from data sheets. The ob-
breath and height of an object. The point cloud is segmented to jects are then positioned onto the segmented plan and ortho-
supply floor plans, elevations and sectional cuts as a map for loca- graphic image in elevation and adjusted in side elevation and
tion of library objects. Further interrogation of the point cloud sup- section using segmented data for angular displacement (see
plies numeric values for formation values (for z-axis location) and Fig. 7b). All of these data sets represent the information for a par-
parametric values for the library objects themselves, these are re- ticular plane on the x, y, and z-axis; this can therefore represent
corded in data sheets. The dimensions and co-ordinates of open- elevation, plan, or section of an object. The position of elements
ings and elements are calculated from the point cloud and ortho- in the co-ordinate system relative to other objects is located by
image survey and transferred onto data sheets. A specialised mapping directly onto segmented point cloud plan and section
WEB based ortho-photo scaling application has been developed and into position in elevation onto the ortho-image. When a library
as integral part HBIM to automatically supply the numeric and part or parametric object is placed into the HBIM, it is placed as an
measurement data for adjusting the parameters and plotting the icon in 2D in the floor plan position (separated by height or forma-
objects to establish the model, this is summarised in the following tion levels) and determined along the x, y-axis and in section and in
section. elevation, on the z-axis (see Fig. 8a). The library objects are not
plotted directly in 3D environments, with the result that the ob-
4.3. Overview of photo scaling application for creating data sheets jects are not placed within the 3D point cloud. Upon completion
of the mapping of objects in 2D the completed 3D model auto-
The photo scaling application is a web-based application used mates a full set of drawings and documentation and virtual nD
for plotting and measuring distances between two point and angu- models. In Fig. 8b, the sequence and process for mapping objects
lar values using two-dimensional images (see Fig. 7a). The applica- onto point clouds and image-based surveys of a façade is
tion is developed using Ruby on Rails and Javascript and is illustrated.
designed to be scalable allowing for further improvements in the
future. The objective is to create an application that is easy to ac- 5. Creating engineering drawings from laser scan surveys
cess and portable for use on any operating system and browser. Fu-
ture work will include for working with three-dimensional data Where conservation or restoration work is to be carried out
also extending the application to work on mobile devices. on an object or structure, conventional orthographic or 3D sur-
vey engineering drawings are required. To a large extent current
4.4. Implementation and design research concerning automated surveying systems for cultural
heritage objects has concentrated on the identification of suit-
Ruby on Rails is used on the server side for creating users, data- able hardware and software systems for the collection and pro-
base storage and using special libraries called gems for uploading cessing of data, as a result, the output is the accurate 3D model
the images, for the image manipulation HTML, Javascript and JQue- mainly suitable for visualisation of a historic structure or arte-
ry are used. When a user uploads an ortho-image or segmented fact. The laser scan survey of the Cathedral of Saint Pierre de
point cloud, it is displayed on screen with the same dimensions as Beauvais carried out by the University of Columbia Robotics
the original image, this is important to maintain so as not to dis- Lab (Allen et al., 2003) is an example of an accurate 3D record
M. Murphy et al. / ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 76 (2013) 89–102 101

of a historic structure. As part of the scan results elevation, plan and integrated models (El-Hakim et al., 2007). The accuracy of
and section are based on the point cloud colour intensity. If the mapped detail behind the surface of the structure, which is based
scan results are used to represent conservation or re-construc- on historic detail, can be compared for accuracy with existing sur-
tion detail, there are then two significant limitations with this vey data of the surveyed structure where detail is available from
data. Firstly, upon close inspection of the point cloud, edges previously carried out surveys and openings of building elements.
and planes, which define the construction elements that make In addition to testing for geometric accuracy, the prototype is now
up the structure, are not easily identified. Secondly, the survey being evaluated through a number of end user conservation sce-
data details the outer fabric or the surface of the structure and narios identified by an expert group working within conservation.
does not contain detail behind the surface. Part of the laser scan The user group will evaluate the new methodology using simu-
results for Beauvais are available on CyArc digital archive (CyArc, lated conservation scenarios. From this, a series of historic building
2007) which is a cultural heritage archive providing access to case studies have been identified; a sample of these studies is illus-
data created by laser scanning, digital modelling, and other 3D trated in Fig. 10.
technologies. The production of engineering drawings from laser
and image survey data can be described as a reverse engineering 6.3. Historic Building Information Model HBIM
process; whereby an object’s physical dimensions, geometry, and
material properties are captured to produce orthographic plans, In conclusion, the evaluation process, which is now under-way
elevations, sections and 3D models (Cheng and Jin, 2006). The indicate the potential for HBIM for use in the conservation of his-
objects in this case are historic structures brought through the toric structures and environments. Initial results from conducting
design process in the opposite direction, revealing information the conservation scenarios and end user groups have established
about the original design and construction. In the final stage of its relevance for producing engineering survey drawings for archi-
the HBIM process full engineering drawings orthographic, sec- tectural heritage conservation and its ease and speed in use in
tional and 3D models can then be automatically produced from comparison to plotting vectors onto laser surveys for the creation
the Historic Building Information Model, this is illustrated in of engineering drawings. The main improvements identified relate
Fig. 9. to the accuracy and content of the library of parametric objects,
which represent the architectural elements and also in coding
non-uniform geometric shapes. There is a need to introduce
6. Conclusion
improvements into the plotting and mapping stage through further
improving the automation process for creating data sheets from
6.1. Incorporating international standards for recording architectural
point cloud data in order to define the parameters of the architec-
tural objects prior to their mapping onto the laser scan survey. The
range of library objects need to be expanded and existing objects
Early research concerning accuracy of laser scanning and digital
improved in their parameters, a sample of library parts is detailed
photo modelling concentrated on smaller cultural objects, which
in Fig. 11.
require very high scan resolution. This is best illustrated by Stan-
A new methodology for the HBIM for historic structures and
ford University and the University of Washington (Levoy et al.,
environments is proposed, this process involves the following
2000) in the digitising of the sculpting of the Renaissance artist
stages: collection and processing of laser/image survey data; iden-
Michelangelo. The triangulation scanner at a resolution of
tifying historic detail from architectural pattern books; building of
1/4 mm captured detail of the geometry of the artist’s chisel marks.
parametric historic components/objects; correlation and mapping
The current commercial recording systems which combine laser
of parametric objects onto scan data and the final production of
scanning with digital photo-modelling have been proven to meet
engineering survey drawings and documentation. The product is
with accuracy requirements for recording and surveying and mod-
the creation of full 3D models including detail behind the object’s
elling historic structures and artefacts (Beraldin et al., 1997; Ber-
surface concerning its methods of construction and material make-
nardini and Rushmeier, 2002; Jacobs, 2000).
up. The HBIM automatically produces full engineering drawings for
the conservation of historic structure and environments; this in-
6.2. Evaluation of HBIM as a conservation documentation and cludes 3D documentation, orthographic projections, sections, de-
recording tool tails and schedules (energy, cost decay, etc.), adding intelligence
to point cloud data.
International and national standards for producing conservation
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