I have ArcGIS 10.1 and am working on a project involving extraction of vegetation and building classes from LIDAR (unclassified) data and aerial imagery (resolution 30x30cm).

I have managed to extract each class after following many LIDAR processing and Spatial Analysis steps; however, I could not find an automated way of correcting building footprints according to possible orthogonal boundaries. I have applied Simplify algorithms (in Cartography toolbox) in ArcGIS 10.1 and the best result as far as I can get is given in the first image. My question is:

Is there any free/open source library/script (preferably in Python) to correct polygon edges to (almost) true building boundaries? More specifically, I am looking for a method similar to the one given in the second image below:

Resulting building footprint

enter image description here

from Zhang etal (2006). Automatic Construction of Building Footprints from Airborne LIDAR Data.

  • Zhang may be credited with this but I can remember Michael Knight (at FUGRO at the time) was using this method in Microstation before then (2002-3).. try using Simplify Buildings or Aggregate Polygons. Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 5:33
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    Thanks @MichaelMiles-Stimson, in fact this is the best result that I got after Simplify feature tool varities and Aggregate Polygons seems irrelevant here. The result is (process-wise) pretty similar to the step (b) of Zhang/Knight methodology.
    – fatih_dur
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 5:56
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    @fatih_dur I think that you should extract your UPDATE about ArcGIS Pro and post it as a self-answer instead.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 6:45
  • Can you describe at all your process on how you collected the building footprints either here or somewhere else. I am very interested in extracting building footprints from lidar.
    – Malcolm
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 16:48
  • @malcolm the method I used is not different than what you can find in the Internet, find vegetation via LIDAR and NDVI(or other indices), remove those from overall above-ground features coming from LIDAR and optionally check those building patches with aerial imagery to at least correctly extract lighter rooftop. At one stage I remember looking at the average rate and variety of height change to make sure I am dealing with consistently changing features, presuming tree branches portray almost a random picture.
    – fatih_dur
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


In ArcGIS Pro, there is a new tool within 3D Analyst toolset called Regularize Building Footprint, which looks like what I want to achieve but this is not available in ArcGIS Desktop.

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