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https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2024-217
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2024-217
24 Jun 2024
 | 24 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

3D-GloBFP: the first global three-dimensional building footprint dataset

Yangzi Che, Xuecao Li, Xiaoping Liu, Yuhao Wang, Weilin Liao, Xianwei Zheng, Xucai Zhang, Xiaocong Xu, Qian Shi, Jiajun Zhu, Hua Yuan, and Yongjiu Dai

Abstract. Understanding urban vertical structures, particularly building heights, is essential for examining the intricate interaction between humans and their environment. Such datasets are indispensable for a variety of applications, including climate modeling, energy consumption analysis, and socioeconomic activities. Despite the importance of this information, previous studies have primarily focused on estimating building heights regionally on a grid scale, often resulting in datasets with limited coverage or spatial resolution. This limitation hampers comprehensive global analyses and the ability to generate actionable insights on finer scales. In this study, we developed a global building height map (3D-GloBFP) at a building footprint scale by leveraging Earth Observation (EO) datasets and advanced machine learning techniques. Our approach integrated multisource remote sensing features and building morphology features to develop height estimation models using the eXtreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost) regression method across diverse global regions. This methodology allowed us to estimate the heights of individual buildings worldwide, culminating in the creation of the first global three-dimensional (3-D) building footprints (3D-GloBFP). Our evaluation results show that the height estimation models perform exceptionally well on a worldwide scale, with R2 ranging from 0.66 to 0.96 and root mean square errors (RMSEs) ranging from 1.9 m to 14.6 m across 33 subregions. Comparisons with other datasets demonstrate that our 3D-GloBFP closely matches the distribution and spatial pattern of reference heights. Our derived 3-D global building footprint map shows a distinct spatial pattern of building heights across regions, countries, and cities, with building heights gradually decreasing from the city center to the surrounding rural areas. Furthermore, our findings indicate the disparities in built-up infrastructure (i.e., building volume) across different countries and cities. China is the country with the most intensive total built-up infrastructure (5.28×1011 m3, accounting for 23.9 % of the global total), followed by the United States (3.90×1011 m3, accounting for 17.6 % of the global total). Shanghai has the largest volume of built-up infrastructure (2.1×1010 m3) of all representative cities. The derived building-footprint scale height map (3D-GloBFP) reveals the significant heterogeneity of urban built-up environments, providing valuable insights for studies in urban socioeconomic dynamics and climatology. The 3D-GloBFP dataset is available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11319913 (Building height of the Americas, Africa, and Oceania in 3D-GloBFP) (Che et al., 2024a), https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11397015 (Building height of Asia in 3D-GloBFP) (Che et al., 2024b), and https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11391077 (Building height of Europe in 3D-GloBFP) (Che et al., 2024c).

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Yangzi Che, Xuecao Li, Xiaoping Liu, Yuhao Wang, Weilin Liao, Xianwei Zheng, Xucai Zhang, Xiaocong Xu, Qian Shi, Jiajun Zhu, Hua Yuan, and Yongjiu Dai

Status: open (until 02 Aug 2024)

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Yangzi Che, Xuecao Li, Xiaoping Liu, Yuhao Wang, Weilin Liao, Xianwei Zheng, Xucai Zhang, Xiaocong Xu, Qian Shi, Jiajun Zhu, Hua Yuan, and Yongjiu Dai

Data sets

Building height of the Americas, Africa, and Oceania in 3D-GloBFP Yangzi Che et al. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11319913

Building height of Asia in 3D-GloBFP Yangzi Che et al. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11397015

Building height of Europe in 3D-GloBFP Yangzi Che et al. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11391077

Yangzi Che, Xuecao Li, Xiaoping Liu, Yuhao Wang, Weilin Liao, Xianwei Zheng, Xucai Zhang, Xiaocong Xu, Qian Shi, Jiajun Zhu, Hua Yuan, and Yongjiu Dai

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Short summary
Given the limited coverage or spatial resolution of existing datasets, we develop the first global building height map (3D-GloBFP) at the building footprint scale using Earth observation datasets and advanced machine learning techniques. Our map reveals the complex 3-D morphology of the world's building heights at a finer scale and provides reliable results (i.e., R2: 0.66–0.96, RMSEs: 1.9 m–14.6 m) over global regions 3D-GloBFP has great potential to support both macro- and micro-urban analysis
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