A process for extracting the precise perimeter of buildings from down-looking terrain images. The process works for any rectilinear building shape, and no restrictions are placed on the orientation or scale of the buildings within an image. The process has the advantages of robustness and execution speed. The process is robust in that it can extract building perimeters from a digitized image in the presence of multiple noise sources. The execution speed is proportional to N+M, where the size of the image is N by M pixels.