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CGAL - Halfedge Data Structures
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HalfedgeDS Concept Reference

Definition

The concept of a halfedge data structure (abbreviated as HalfedgeDS, or HDS for template parameters) defines an edge-centered data structure capable of maintaining incidence information of vertices, edges, and faces, for example for planar maps or polyhedral surfaces. It is a combinatorial data structure, geometric interpretation is added by classes built on top of the halfedge data structure.

The data structure defined here is known as the FE-structure [9], as halfedges [6], [2] or as the doubly connected edge list (DCEL) [3], although the original reference for the DCEL [7] describes a different data structure. The halfedge data structure can also be seen as one of the variants of the quad-edge data structure [4]. In general, the quad-edge data can represent non-orientable 2-manifolds, but the variant here is restricted to orientable 2-manifolds only. An overview and comparison of these different data structures together with a thorough description of the design implemented here can be found in [5].

Each edge is represented by two halfedges with opposite orientations. Each halfedge can store a reference to an incident face and an incident vertex. For each face and each vertex an incident halfedge is stored. Reduced variants of the halfedge data structure can omit some of these incidences, for example the reference to halfedges in vertices or the storage of vertices at all. See Figure figureOptionalMethods for the incidences, the mandatory and optional member functions possible for vertices, halfedges, and faces.

hds_optional_small.png
The three classes Vertex, Halfedge, and Face of the halfedge data structure. Member functions with shaded background are mandatory. The others are optionally supported.
A HalfedgeDS organizes the internal storage of its items. Examples are a list-based or a vector-based storage. The HalfedgeDS exhibits most of the characteristics of the container class used internally, for example the iterator category. A vector resizes automatically when a new item exceeds the reserved space. Since resizing is an expensive operation for a HalfedgeDS in general and only possible in a well defined state of the data structure (no dangling handles), it must be called explicitly in advance for a HalfedgeDS before inserting new items beyond the current capacity. Classes built on top of a HalfedgeDS are advised to call the reserve() member function before creating new items.

Parameters

A HalfedgeDS is a class template and will be used as argument for other class templates, for example CGAL::Polyhedron_3. The template parameters to instantiate the HalfedgeDS will be provided by this other class template. Therefore, the three template parameters and their meaning are mandatory. We distinguish between the template HalfedgeDS and an instantiation of it.

Traits is a traits class that will be passed to the item types in Items. It will not be used in HalfedgeDS itself. Items is a model of the HalfedgeDSItems concept. Alloc is an allocator that fulfills all requirements of allocators for STL container classes. The rebind mechanism from Alloc will be used to create appropriate allocators internally. A default argument is mandatory for Alloc, for example, the macro CGAL_ALLOCATOR(int) from the <CGAL/memory.h> header file can be used as default allocator.

Has Models:

CGAL::HalfedgeDS_default

CGAL::HalfedgeDS_list

CGAL::HalfedgeDS_vector

See Also
HalfedgeDSItems
CGAL::Polyhedron_3<Traits>
CGAL::HalfedgeDS_vertex_base<Refs>
CGAL::HalfedgeDS_halfedge_base<Refs>
CGAL::HalfedgeDS_face_base<Refs>
CGAL::HalfedgeDS_items_decorator<HDS>
CGAL::HalfedgeDS_decorator<HDS>
CGAL::HalfedgeDS_const_decorator<HDS>

Types

typedef unspecified_type Items
 model of HalfedgeDSItems concept.
 
typedef unspecified_type size_type
 size type.
 
typedef unspecified_type difference_type
 difference type.
 
typedef unspecified_type iterator_category
 iterator category for all iterators.
 
typedef unspecified_type allocator_type
 allocator type Alloc.
 
typedef unspecified_type Vertex
 model of HalfedgeDSVertex concept.
 
typedef unspecified_type Halfedge
 model of HalfedgeDSHalfedge concept.
 
typedef unspecified_type Face
 model of HalfedgeDSFace concept.
 

Handles and Iterators

The following handles and iterators have appropriate non-mutable counterparts, i.e., const_handle and const_iterator.

The mutable types are assignable to their non-mutable counterparts. The iterators are assignable to the respective handle types. Wherever the handles appear in function parameter lists, the corresponding iterators can be used as well.

Note
The handle types must have a default constructor that creates a unique and always the same handle value. It will be used in analogy to NULL for pointers.
typedef unspecified_type Vertex_handle
 handle to vertex.
 
typedef unspecified_type Halfedge_handle
 handle to halfedge.
 
typedef unspecified_type Face_handle
 handle to face.
 
typedef unspecified_type Vertex_iterator
 iterator over all vertices.
 
typedef unspecified_type Halfedge_iterator
 iterator over all halfedges.
 
typedef unspecified_type Face_iterator
 iterator over all faces.
 
typedef unspecified_type Supports_vertex_halfedge
 Vertex::halfedge().
 
typedef unspecified_type Supports_halfedge_prev
 Halfedge::prev().
 
typedef unspecified_type Supports_halfedge_vertex
 Halfedge::vertex().
 
typedef unspecified_type Supports_halfedge_face
 Halfedge::face().
 
typedef unspecified_type Supports_face_halfedge
 Face::halfedge().
 
typedef unspecified_type Supports_removal
 removal of individual elements.
 

Static Member Functions

Advanced

When writing an items type, such as a user defined vertex, certain functions need to create a handle but knowing only a pointer, for example, the this-pointer.

The following static member functions of HalfedgeDS create such a corresponding handle for an item type from a pointer. This conversion encapsulates possible adjustments for hidden data members in the true item type, such as linked-list pointers. Note that the user provides item types with the Items template argument, which may differ from the Vertex, Halfedge, and Face types defined in HalfedgeDS. If they differ, they are derived from the user provided item types. We denote the user item types with Vertex_base, Halfedge_base, and Face_base in the following. The fully qualified name for Vertex_base would be for example - assuming that the type Self refers to the instantiated HalfedgeDS -

typedef typename Items::template Vertex_wrapper<Self,Traits> Vertex_wrapper;
typedef typename Vertex_wrapper::Vertex Vertex_base;

Implementing these functions relies on the fundamental assumption that an iterator (or handle) of the internally used container class can be constructed from a pointer of a contained item only. This is true and controlled by us for CGAL::In_place_list. It is true for the std::vector of major STL distributions, but not necessarily guaranteed. We might switch to an internal implementation if need arises.

static Vertex_handle vertex_handle (Vertex_base *v)
 
static Vertex_const_handle vertex_handle (const Vertex_base *v)
 
static Halfedge_handle halfedge_handle (Halfedge_base *h)
 
static Halfedge_const_handle halfedge_handle (const Halfedge_base *h)
 
static Face_handle face_handle (Face_base *f)
 
static Face_const_handle face_handle (const Face_items *f)
 

Creation

 HalfedgeDS ()
 empty halfedge data structure.
 
 HalfedgeDS (size_type v, size_type h, size_type f)
 storage reserved for v vertices, h halfedges, and f faces.
 
 HalfedgeDS (const HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc > &hds2)
 copy constructor. More...
 
HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items,
Alloc > & 
operator= (const HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc > &hds2)
 assignment operator. More...
 
void reserve (size_type v, size_type h, size_type f)
 reserves storage for v vertices, h halfedges, and f faces. More...
 

Access Member Functions

Size size_of_vertices () const
 number of vertices.
 
Size size_of_halfedges () const
 number of halfedges.
 
Size size_of_faces () const
 number of faces.
 
Size capacity_of_vertices () const
 space reserved for vertices.
 
Size capacity_of_halfedges () const
 space reserved for halfedges.
 
Size capacity_of_faces () const
 space reserved for faces.
 
size_t bytes () const
 bytes used for the halfedge data structure.
 
size_t bytes_reserved () const
 bytes reserved for the halfedge data structure.
 
allocator_type get_allocator () const
 allocator object.
 
Vertex_iterator vertices_begin ()
 iterator over all vertices.
 
Vertex_iterator vertices_end ()
 
Halfedge_iterator halfedges_begin ()
 iterator over all halfedges
 
Halfedge_iterator halfedges_end ()
 
Face_iterator faces_begin ()
 iterator over all faces.
 
Face_iterator faces_end ()
 

Insertion

Note that the vertex-related and the face-related member functions may not be provided for a HalfedgeDS that does not support vertices or faces respectively.

Vertex_handle vertices_push_back (const Vertex &v)
 appends a copy of v to the halfedge data structure. More...
 
Halfedge_handle edges_push_back (const Halfedge &h, const Halfedge &g)
 appends a copy of h and a copy of g to the halfedge data structure and makes them opposite to each other. More...
 
Halfedge_handle edges_push_back (const Halfedge &h)
 appends a copy of h and a copy of h->opposite() to the halfedge data structure and makes them opposite to each other. More...
 
Face_handle faces_push_back (const Face &f)
 appends a copy of f to the halfedge data structure. More...
 

Removal

Erasing single elements is optional and indicated with the type tag Supports_removal.

The three pop_back() and the clear() member functions are mandatory. If vertices or faces are not supported for a HalfedgeDS the three pop_back() and the clear() member functions must be provided as null operations.

void vertices_pop_front ()
 removes the first vertex if vertices are supported and Supports_removal \( \equiv\) CGAL::Tag_true.
 
void vertices_pop_back ()
 removes the last vertex.
 
void vertices_erase (Vertex_handle v)
 removes the vertex v if vertices are supported and Supports_removal \( \equiv\) CGAL::Tag_true.
 
void vertices_erase (Vertex_handle first, Vertex_handle last)
 removes the range of vertices [first,last) if vertices are supported and Supports_removal \( \equiv\) CGAL::Tag_true.
 
void edges_pop_front ()
 removes the first two halfedges if Supports_removal \( \equiv\) CGAL::Tag_true.
 
void edges_pop_back ()
 removes the last two halfedges.
 
void edges_erase (Halfedge_handle h)
 removes the pair of halfedges h and h->opposite() if Supports_removal \( \equiv\) CGAL::Tag_true.
 
void edges_erase (Halfedge_handle first, Halfedge_handle last)
 removes the range of edges [first},last) if Supports_removal \( \equiv\) CGAL::Tag_true.
 
void faces_pop_front ()
 removes the first face if faces are supported and Supports_removal \( \equiv\) CGAL::Tag_true.
 
void faces_pop_back ()
 removes the last face.
 
void faces_erase (Face_handle f)
 removes the face f if faces are supported and Supports_removal \( \equiv\) CGAL::Tag_true.
 
void faces_erase (Face_handle first, Face_handle last)
 removes the range of faces [first,last) if faces are supported and Supports_removal \( \equiv\) CGAL::Tag_true.
 
void vertices_clear ()
 removes all vertices.
 
void edges_clear ()
 removes all halfedges.
 
void faces_clear ()
 removes all faces.
 
void clear ()
 removes all elements.
 

Operations with Border Halfedges

Advanced

The following notion of border halfedges is particular useful where the halfedge data structure is used to model surfaces with boundary, i.e., surfaces with missing faces or open regions.

Halfedges incident to an open region are called border halfedges. A halfedge is a border edge if the halfedge itself or its opposite halfedge is a border halfedge. The only requirement to work with border halfedges is that the Halfedge class provides a member function HalfedgeDSHalfedge::is_border() returning a bool. Usually, the halfedge data structure supports faces and the value of the default constructor of the face handle will indicate a border halfedge, but this may not be the only possibility. The HalfedgeDSHalfedge::is_border() predicate divides the edges into two classes, the border edges and the non-border edges. The following normalization reorganizes the sequential storage of the edges such that the non-border edges precede the border edges, and that for each border edge the latter of the two halfedges is a border halfedge (the first one might be a border halfedge too). The normalization stores the number of border halfedges, as well as the halfedge iterator where the border edges start at, within the halfedge data structure. These values will be invalid after further halfedge insertions or removals and changes in the border status of a halfedge. There is no automatic update required.

void normalize_border ()
 sorts halfedges such that the non-border edges precede the border edges. More...
 
Size size_of_border_halfedges () const
 number of border halfedges. More...
 
Size size_of_border_edges () const
 number of border edges. More...
 
Halfedge_iterator border_halfedges_begin ()
 halfedge iterator starting with the border edges. More...
 

Constructor & Destructor Documentation

template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::HalfedgeDS ( const HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc > &  hds2)

copy constructor.

Precondition
hds2 contains no dangling handles.

Member Function Documentation

template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
Halfedge_iterator HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::border_halfedges_begin ( )

halfedge iterator starting with the border edges.

The range [halfedges_begin(), border_halfedges_begin()) denotes all non-border edges. The range [border_halfedges_begin(), halfedges_end()) denotes all border edges.

Precondition
normalize_border() has been called and no halfedge insertion or removal and no change in border status of the halfedges have occurred since then.
template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
Halfedge_handle HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::edges_push_back ( const Halfedge h,
const Halfedge g 
)

appends a copy of h and a copy of g to the halfedge data structure and makes them opposite to each other.

Returns a handle of the copy of h.

template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
Halfedge_handle HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::edges_push_back ( const Halfedge h)

appends a copy of h and a copy of h->opposite() to the halfedge data structure and makes them opposite to each other.

Returns a handle of the copy of h.

Precondition
h->opposite() denotes a halfedge.
template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
Face_handle HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::faces_push_back ( const Face f)

appends a copy of f to the halfedge data structure.

Returns a handle of the new face.

template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
void HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::normalize_border ( )

sorts halfedges such that the non-border edges precede the border edges.

For each border edge that is incident to a face, the halfedge iterator will reference the halfedge incident to the face right before the halfedge incident to the open region.

template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
HalfedgeDS<Traits,Items,Alloc>& HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::operator= ( const HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc > &  hds2)

assignment operator.

Precondition
hds2 contains no dangling handles.
template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
void HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::reserve ( size_type  v,
size_type  h,
size_type  f 
)

reserves storage for v vertices, h halfedges, and f faces.

If all capacities are already greater or equal than the requested sizes nothing happens. Otherwise, the halfedge data structure will be resized and all handles, iterators and circulators are invalid.

Precondition
If resizing is necessary the halfedge data structure contains no dangling handles.
template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
Size HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::size_of_border_edges ( ) const

number of border edges.

If size_of_border_edges() is equal to size_of_border_halfedges() all border edges are incident to a face on one side and to an open region on the other side.

Precondition
normalize_border() has been called and no halfedge insertion or removal and no change in border status of the halfedges have occurred since then.
template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
Size HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::size_of_border_halfedges ( ) const

number of border halfedges.

An edge with no incident face counts as two border halfedges.

Precondition
normalize_border() has been called and no halfedge insertion or removal and no change in border status of the halfedges have occurred since then.
template<typename Traits , typename Items , typename Alloc >
Vertex_handle HalfedgeDS< Traits, Items, Alloc >::vertices_push_back ( const Vertex v)

appends a copy of v to the halfedge data structure.

Returns a handle of the new vertex.