PhD: Semantic 3D City Models from 3D Textured Meshes

Department/faculty: Architecture & the Built Environment
Level: Master degree
Working hours: 38 hours per week
Contract: 4 years
Salary: €2191 to €2801 per month gross

Architecture & the Built Environment

Since its foundation 110 years ago, the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment has built up a solid international reputation for training architects, urban planners and designers, as well as for its research portfolio and coaching of PhD candidates. With around 2600 students and 500 staff members, with around 230 FTEs devoted to academic positions, our faculty is one of the largest of Delft University of Technology and one of the most prestigious architecture and the built environment faculties globally. Traditionally, the faculty has prioritised high-quality training in design and research in the field of the built environment. Over 40 chairs cover a wide range of academic areas in design, process and technology, which together cover the entire field of the built environment. The faculty has a budget of around €38 million, of which approximately €7 million is sourced indirectly and from contracts with third parties.

The Department of Urbanism in the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology was established in 1948 and since then has contributed to academic knowledge of the urban environment and design and planning interventions. The Urbanism research group’s core task is to mobilise its multidisciplinary knowledge, skills, and reputation towards the creation of more sustainable living environments. The priority is to contribute solutions to the urgent challenges of urbanisation in the context of climate change.

The 3D Geoinformation research group (in the Department of Urbanism) focuses on the 3D technologies underpinning geographic information systems (GIS), and aims at designing, developing, and implementing better systems to model 3D cities, buildings, and landscapes.
It is a multidisciplinary group of around 14 people, including computer scientists, geomatics engineers, and geographers with many ongoing projects in 3D subjects, all with close links to the field. The group has a history of successful collaborations with the industry and the government; its research has led to tools, standards, and patents for the management of 3D geographic information.

For more information:

Job description

With laser scanners and cameras mounted on cars and/or drones, it is possible to reconstruct automatically and quickly a 3D textured mesh of a city. While such models look great, in practice they cannot be used in several applications because the urban features (e.g. buildings, trees, bridges, etc.) are not available; we only have one gigantic mesh of triangles with textures.

The aim of this PhD project is to develop new algorithms to automatically identify urban features in the mesh, and to construct a representation of these that is useful for different applications. One requirement is the "straightening" of some man-made features (e.g. walls of buildings) so that they are less noisy/bumpy, and another is that these objects should be semantically enriched by taking attributes/semantics from other (2D) datasets of the area. The project includes a theoretical part (design of algorithms) and a development part where a prototype will be built and tested with real-world datasets of different countries.

The PhD position is funded by the Dutch company CycloMedia ( and by an EU research project ( involving several companies. The urban features will be used to support traffic, lighting, and safety applications. We expect the PhD student to collaborate with the staff at CycloMedia and other partners of the project.
For more information:

The project will take place in the 3D Geoinformation group at the TU Delft, and the PhD student will also have to work with the staff of CycloMedia (about 1-2 days/week, at their offices in Zaltbommel, the Netherlands).

The supervisor will be Prof. Jantien Stoter ( and Dr. Hugo Ledoux.
(, and one from CycloMedia.

The planned start date is during the summer of 2017.


Applicants should hold an MSc degree (or have almost completed one) in computer science, geoinformatics/geomatics, applied mathematics, or a related discipline. They are expected to have good programming skills (C++ will be used), a good command of English (spoken and written) and strong interest in 3D modelling and/or computational geometry.

Conditions of employment

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Information and application

For more information about this position, please contact Hugo Ledoux, e-mail:
To apply, please submit:
• a detailed CV and a letter of application
• the name of two references
• copies of BSc/MSc diplomas and grades obtained
• proof of English proficiency (if applicable)
• MSc thesis or any publications you have authored (a URL to a PDF is fine).
Please email your application by 15 May 2017 to Caro Coemans,
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number BK2017-07.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.


Architecture & the Built Environment
Master degree
Working hours
4 years
€2191 to €2801 per month gross

Closing date
May 15, 2017
Vacancy nr.


For more information about this job, please contact Hugo Ledoux, Associate Professor.


For more information about the application procedure, please contact Caro Coemans/HR.