Publication Date


Committee Chair

Karen K. Kemp, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Douglas M. Flewelling, Ph.D.


As the world's population moves from rural areas to urban centers, managing information in the built environment effectively and efficiently will become critical to sound decision making. The ability to represent, visualize and analyze these urban centers will be at the heart of city and regional planning processes. GIS has traditionally been used as a tool for supporting these processes, but has focused on the exterior two dimensional features of the environment. Increasingly planners are being asked to consider all aspects of the built environment, such as air traffic corridors above the ground, utilities networks below, and the interior and exterior of buildings on the ground , in a comprehensive decision making system. New data models, analysis methods, and visualization techniques will need to be developed to meet these emerging needs.

The purpose of this Major Individual Project (MIP) was to develop a GIS-based building data model for the United States Coast Guard and Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. This data model represents not only the exterior of a building, but also its interior features. The features in the data model are designed in such a way as to support spatial analysis, and the project will demonstrate how such analysis can be conducted on building information. This analysis includes both vector and raster methods, and is scalable to work not only within in one building, but between buildings in a site, campus, or city. The data model also supports the simple management, modification, and maintenance of building features, while still providing the complex geometries necessary to visualize the building information in both two and three dimensions.