4D City - Space-time Urban Infrastructure Mapping by Multi-sensor Fusion and Visualization on the SuperMuc Supercomputer

uelich city area: Optical image ©Google (left), the standard 12m TanDEM-X DEM (middle) and improved nonlocal TanDEM-X DEM with 6m resolution (right) [7]. Copyright: Signal Processing in Earth Observation, TUM23 Aug 2017 Munich - With the support of Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS), the 4D City project has successfully delivered the world's first city-scale 4-D model derived from spaceborne SAR sensor in 2012. In addition, in total six million CPU-hours have been dedicated to the generation of 4-D city models of various cities in the duration of the project, including Las Vegas, Berlin, Shanghai, Beijing, Washington D.C., and Paris.

Static 3-D city models are well established for many applications such as architecture, urban planning, navigation, tourism, and disaster management. However, they do not represent the dynamic behaviour of the buildings and other infrastructure (e.g. dams, bridges, railway lines). Such temporal change, i.e. 4-D, information is demanded in various aspect of urban administration, especially for the long-term monitoring of building deformation. Very high resolution spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Earth observation satellites, like the German TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X provide for the first time the possibility to derive both shape and deformation parameters of urban infrastructure on a continuous basis.

Therefore, this project aims to generate 4-D city models and their user specific visualizations to reveal not only the 3-D shape of urban infrastructures but also their deformation patterns and motion. The research envisioned in this project will lead to a new kind of city models for monitoring and visualization of the dynamics of urban infrastructure in a very high level of detail. The deformation of different parts of individual buildings will be accessible for different users (geologists, civil engineers, decision makers, etc.) to support city monitoring and management and risk assessment.

Ad Emmen