Vectorize Buildings Parameters

The Vectorize Buildings tool located within TerraScan is used to generate 3D building models based upon the loaded LIDAR data. The tool will generate MicroStation cell elements, which contain shapes for each roof plane, possibly roof sides, which determine the roof’s thickness and wall shapes for each outer roof edge.

TerraScan Vectorize Buildings

TerraScan Vectorize Buildings


Roof Class

The roof class specifies the class that contains points that are located on the building roofs

User Roof Class

User roof class is how one would keep small details, such as a chimney in the vector model. A user would classify the feature into the user roof class and then even if it is smaller than the minimum detail then it will still be vectorized into the model. This is one way to create very detailed models, but would be very time consuming.

Lower Classes

The point class(es) that contain points next to building roof edges, for example, ground or low vegetation. The points are used to determine the base elevation of building walls and help to place outer roof edges more accurately


This specifies the area to be processed:

  • All points – all loaded points are processed. This may include points from neighbour blocks.
  • Active block – points of the active block are processed.
  • Inside fence – points inside a fence or selected polygon are processed. This is only active if a MicroStation fence is drawn or a polygon is selected.

Use Polygons

Defines how polygons are used in addition to laser data:

  • Do not use – no polygons are used.
  • As bounding polygons – polygons define boundaries that divide large building blocks into separate models. Example: land property polygons.
  • As roof edges – polygons define the XY shape of outer edges of buildings. Examle: footprint polygons.


Design file level on which the polygons are located that are used in the vectorization process. This is only active if Use polygons is set to As bounding polygons or As roof edges.

Maximum gap

Maximum distance between building parts belonging to the same model. If the distance is larger, separate building models are created.

Planarity tolerance

Defines how closely a point must match a plane equation to belong to that roof plane.

Increase tolerance

Additional tolerance for merging close to horizontal planes together.

Minimum area

Minimum size of a building footprint.

Minimum detail

Minimum size of a building part footprint.

Max roof slope

Maximum gradient of a roof plane.

Adjust edges using active images

If on, building edges are adjusted based on images. The images must be referenced by an image list loaded into TerraPhoto.

Random wall color

If on, wall shapes are colored randomly by using a selection of colors from the active color table of MicroStation. If off, the color defined in Building vectorization / Model category of TerraScan Settings is used for all wall shapes.


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