Computing Voronoi skeletons of a 3-D polyhedron by space subdivision

Michal Etzion*, Ari Rappoport

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We tackle the problem of computing the Voronoi diagram of a 3-D polyhedron whose faces are planar. The main difficulty with the computation is that the diagram's edges and vertices are of relatively high algebraic degrees. As a result, previous approaches to the problem have been non-robust, difficult to implement, or not provenly correct. We introduce three new proximity skeletons related to the Voronoi diagram: (1) the Voronoi graph (VG), which contains the complete symbolic information of the Voronoi diagram without containing any geometry; (2) the approximate Voronoi graph (AVG), which deals with degenerate diagrams by collapsing sub-graphs of the VG into single nodes; and (3) the proximity structure diagram (PSD), which enhances the VG with a geometric approximation of Voronoi elements to any desired accuracy. The new skeletons are important for both theoretical and practical reasons. Many applications that extract the proximity information of the object from its Voronoi diagram can use the Voronoi graphs or the proximity structure diagram instead. In addition, the skeletons can be used as initial structures for a robust and efficient global or local computation of the Voronoi diagram. We present a space subdivision algorithm to construct the new skeletons, having three main advantages. First, it solves at most uni-variate quartic polynomials. This stands in sharp contrast to previous approaches, which require the solution of a non-linear tri-variate system of equations. Second, the algorithm enables purely local computation of the skeletons in any limited region of interest. Third, the algorithm is simple to implement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-120
Number of pages34
JournalComputational Geometry: Theory and Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank John Woodwark for a useful correspondence. Fluent provided the Gambit software used for generating the figures showing our algorithm’s output. This research was supported by the Israeli Ministry of Science, the program for development of scientific and technological infrastructures and the Israel Science Foundation.


  • Medial axis of a polyhedron
  • Voronoi diagram
  • Voronoi diagram of a polyhedron
  • Voronoi graph


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