ArcGIS 3D Analyst

What's New

What's New in ArcGIS 10.1
See how ArcGIS 10.1 helps you put mapping and GIS into the hands of more people.

Training Available for ArcGIS 10.1
Check out the new instructor-led curriculum for the ArcGIS 10.1 release.

Common Questions

Show/Hide All Answers
Do I need 3D data to use ArcGIS 3D Analyst?
No, ArcGIS 3D Analyst can use all the datasets supported by ArcGIS. If your data does not have explicit three-dimensional coordinates, you can drape it on other surface data, such as a digital elevation model (DEM), or you can extrude the features in a 3D thematic representation (e.g., sales districts extruded by sales with the height representing the amount of sales).
What is a digital elevation model?

A digital elevation model (DEM) is a representation of the earth's surface for a geographic area stored in a digital file containing regularly spaced point locations with an elevation attribute. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) DEM is a specific data product that adheres to standards defined by the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). USGS DEMs can be downloaded for use with ArcGIS 3D Analyst.

Can I display TINs by slope, aspect, or other terrain analysis methods?

Yes, you can display TINs by slope, aspect, node elevation, and similar edges, as well as many other analysis methods, through the TIN symbology options.

What are the system requirements for ArcGlobe?

You can verify if your system meets requirements to run ArcGlobe by clicking here.

What are ArcScene and ArcGlobe and when should I use them?

ArcScene and ArcGlobe are specialized viewing applications within ArcGIS 3D Analyst, yet they operate differently. ArcScene is optimized for viewing and analysis of smaller datasets, such as a specific local area. ArcGlobe is designed to be used with very large datasets. It has a sophisticated caching mechanism that indexes and organizes all your data into tiles and levels of detail. Once all the data is loaded, this allows for fast display and visualization as you zoom in and out, pan around, and navigate to different places in your ArcGlobe scene.

How can I share and distribute my work in 3D?

ESRI has three products to view 3D data: ArcScene, ArcGlobe, and ArcGIS Explorer.

ArcGIS Explorer is a free, downloadable GIS viewer that gives you an easy way to share GIS information. After downloading ArcGIS Explorer, stakeholders can view your work created in ArcGlobe.

ArcScene is ideal if you're sharing work with others who also have ArcGIS for Desktop with the 3D Analyst extension.

If you're sharing work that requires large datasets, ArcGlobe would be best. It also requires ArcGIS for Desktop with the 3D Analyst extension. ArcGlobe also uses the ArcGIS Publisher extension to create a 3D scenario that can be read in ArcReader.

How is processing speed when draping data on a 3D surface?

Improved rendering capabilities at ArcGIS 10 supports fast draping of both 2D and 3D datasets on top of terrain models. This includes vector data as well as 2D Web maps from ArcGIS for Server.

Does the ArcGIS 3D Analyst extension support creating 3D virtual city databases?

Yes. A virtual city template is included with the 3D Analyst extension at ArcGIS 10.

Fundamentally, a city is composed of four components: (1) a detailed cartographic basemap as a primary reference to place and location; (2) high resolution imagery showing actual features on the ground to provide visual realism; (3) detailed terrain information, generated from airborne LIDAR, Digital Elevation Models, or contours; (4) and building models in 3D with attributes relating to their name, address, and type.

These features all live in the geodatabase as feature classes, or as cells in raster data sets, and can be shared with others, either locally for editing and maintenance or through the Web for use in project planning and visualization.

Does 3D Analyst support 3D editing?

Yes, with the release of ArcGIS 10, ArcGIS 3D Analyst fully supports 3D editing. You can interactively edit GIS features using the same editing framework as ArcMap and place 3D objects (e.g., buildings, street lamps, trees, etc.) within landscapes and virtual cities, as well as digitize lines and polygon features.

What is the recommended workflow between SketchUp and ArcGIS?

The ArcGIS SketchUp plug-in is no longer supported at ArcGIS 10. The recommended workflow is now as follows:

  • Digitize in your polygon.
  • Extrude it by an attribute in 3D.
  • Convert it to a multipatch using Layer 3D to Feature Class.
  • Export it to COLLADA using MPatch to COLLADA.
  • Import/Edit in SketchUp (e.g., textures, pitched roof, etc.).
  • Then use the edit environment to replace the mpatch feature with the new SKP model.