A computationally cheap trick to determine shadow in a voxel model

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Representation of scenes on the Earth surface by using voxels is gaining attention because of its suitability for integrating heterogeneous data sources in simulations and quantitative models. Computation of shadows in such models is needed, for example, to obtain crop suitability of agricultural fields in the presence of trees and buildings, or to analyze urban heat island causes and effects. We present an efficient algorithm to compute which of the voxels in a dataset receive direct sunlight, given the solar azimuth and elevation angles. The algorithm can work with multiple (sparse and dense) voxel storage strategies.