- Video length: 2:25
In this tutorial, you'll create 3D point features in a scene. In addition to x,y values that specify locations on a map or globe, 3D features have z-values that specify their elevation. Z-values define the position of a feature relative to mean sea level or another vertical benchmark. They are not a measure of the feature's bottom-to-top height.
There are many ways to create spatial data, including point features. The approach you'll take here is to locate places of interest on a basemap and draw features at those places with an editing tool.
Features are created on a map but are saved in a feature class. A feature class is a data structure for storing and managing a collection of similar features. Before creating the point features, you'll create a feature class in your project geodatabase.
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Data for all quick-start tutorials is included in one download. To download the data, follow these steps:
Open the project
Your study area will be Egmont National Park in the Taranaki region of New Zealand. You'll create 3D point features to represent road entrances to the park.
- Start ArcGIS Pro and sign in if necessary.
- On the start page, under your recent projects, click Open another project.
- On the Open page, under Open, click Computer and click Browse .
- On the Open Project dialog box, browse to Create_points_on_a_map.aprx and click OK.
The file will be in a tutorial data folder with the same name, such as C:\ArcGISProQuickstartData\Create_points_on_a_map.
The project opens to the Taranaki region on New Zealand's North Island. The boundary of Egmont National Park is drawn with an orange outline. Mount Taranaki, a strikingly symmetrical inactive volcano, is in the center of the park.
The active view is a 3D scene named Egmont 3D. There is also a 2D map view named Egmont.
- On the Map tab, in the Navigate group, click Bookmarks. Under Egmont 3D Bookmarks, click View from above to zoom to the park boundary.
- Have some fun navigating the scene using navigation controls and 3D bookmarks.
- When you're finished, zoom to the View from above bookmark.
Create a feature class
You'll create a feature class in your project geodatabase to store the park entrance features. When you create a feature class, you specify essential properties the features will have in common, such as geometry type, dimensionality (2D or 3D), and coordinate system.
- In the Project pane, expand Databases. Expand Create_points_on_a_map.gdb.
The project geodatabase already contains one feature class called ENP_Boundary. This feature class stores the data for the Egmont National Park layer.
- Right-click Create_points_on_a_map.gdb and click New > Feature Class.
The Geoprocessing pane opens to the Create Feature Class tool.
- For the Feature Class Name, type ENP_Entrances. ENP stands for Egmont National Park.
- Click the Geometry Type drop-down arrow and click Point.
Toward the bottom of the dialog box, the Has Z parameter is set to Yes by default. Point features added to this feature class will have z-values. This is another way of saying they will be 3D features.
- Click the Coordinate System drop-down arrow and click Current Map [Egmont 3D].
The coordinate system changes from the Web Mercator system to the New Zealand Transverse Mercator system used by the map (and by the Egmont National Park layer). This coordinate system is a common standard in New Zealand.
- Click Run to create the feature class.
- Make the Project pane active. If necessary, expand Databases and expand Create_points_on_a_map.gdb.
The ENP_Entrances feature class has been added to the geodatabase. Its icon indicates that it is a point feature class. Compare it to the icon for ENP_Boundary, a polygon feature class.
You'll add simple metadata—an item description—to the feature class. An item description includes a summary and description of the data and tags to make the data searchable. It may also include credits and use limitations that describe how the data may be shared or reused.
- In the Project pane, right-click the ENP_Entrances feature class and click View Metadata.
The Project view opens. It displays an empty item description for the ENP_Entrances feature class.
- On the ribbon, on the Home tab, in the Metadata group, click Edit .
The ENP_Entrances metadata view opens. The input boxes for tags and a summary are highlighted in pink. This information is required if the map is ever shared to ArcGIS Online.
- For Tags, type (or copy and paste) the following: parks, Egmont National Park, Taranaki, New Zealand.
- For Summary, type the following: Identify road entry points to Egmont National Park.
- For Description, type the following: Road entry points to Egmont National Park. The locations were identified with a park boundary layer and the Esri World Imagery basemap.
- On the ribbon, on the Metadata tab, in the Manage Metadata group, click Save .
- Close the ENP_Entrances metadata view and close the Project view.
Add fields to the layer attribute table
By default, a new feature class has only two attributes: ObjectID and Shape. You'll add fields for a feature name and description.
- Make the Contents pane active.
An ENP_Entrances layer has been added to the Contents pane. (Your symbol color may be different.) The layer appears under the 3D Layers heading because the feature class has z-values. Its visibility check mark is gray because there are no visible features in the scene. That's not surprising considering that the layer doesn't have any features at all.
- In the Contents pane, if necessary, click the ENP_Entrances layer to select it.
- On the ribbon, under Feature Layer, click the Data tab. In the Design group, click Fields.
The Fields view for the layer opens.
- On the ribbon, the Fields tab is active. In the Changes group, click New Field.
A new field is added to the table.
- In the Field Name column, replace the value with NAME. Press Enter.
- In the Data Type column, double-click the default value to display a list of data types. Click Text.
- In the Length column, replace the value with 35. Press Enter.
- Add another new field with the following properties:
- Field Name: DESCRIPTION
- Data Type: TEXT
- Length: 15
- On the Fields tab, in the Changes group, click Save to save your table changes.
- Close the Fields view.
Symbolize the layer
When you add features, the default symbol may be difficult to see against the basemap. You'll choose a more suitable symbol and rename the layer to something more readily understood.
- In the Contents pane, right-click the ENP_Entrances layer and click Symbology.
- In the Symbology pane, click the symbol.
The Symbology pane displays a gallery of point symbols.
- Scroll to the bottom of the gallery. Under ArcGIS 3D, click Sphere.
- Near the top of the Symbology pane, under Format Point Symbol, click Properties.
- On the Symbol tab, under Appearance, change the color to Mango. Change the Size to 6 pt.
- Click Apply.
- In the Contents pane, click ENP_Entrances to make the layer name editable. Change its name to Park Entrances and press Enter.
Changing the layer name does not change the feature class name.
- On the Quick Access Toolbar, click Save to save the project.
Configure the feature template
To create features, you'll first select and configure a feature template. A feature template specifies the default symbol for new features as well as default attribute values. It also specifies the editing tool used to create features.
Feature templates streamline data creation. This is especially true when features in the same layer fall into groups. For example, suppose you were creating hiking trail features and symbolizing them by difficulty. By configuring feature templates for each type of trail in advance, you could create features that were symbolized and attributed correctly as you created them.
Before configuring the feature template, you'll make Park Entrances the only editable layer in the scene. This will prevent you from accidentally editing the Egmont National Park layer.
- At the top of the Contents pane, click List By Editing .
- Under 2D Layers, uncheck the box next to Egmont National Park.
This layer can't be edited until the box is selected again.
- At the top of the Contents pane, click List By Drawing Order .
- On the ribbon, click the Edit tab. In the Features group, click Create .
The Create Features pane opens and displays the Park Entrances feature template. The Egmont National Park feature template isn't listed because the layer is not editable.
- Under the Park Entrances heading, click Park Entrances to expand the template.
The Point tool is selected as the default tool for creating new point features.
- Click the arrow on the right side of the template to access the feature attributes.
You want each feature to be described as a park entrance. Entering the value here means it will be added automatically to each feature you create.
- Next to the DESCRIPTION attribute, type Park Entrance and press Enter.
- Click Back .
Create a park entrance feature
There are three road-based entries to the park. In this section, you'll create a point feature to represent the Egmont Road entrance. The Point tool for creating features is currently active. To keep the tool active as you navigate the map, you'll use a keyboard shortcut.
- Hover over the scene.
The pointer icon is a crosshair with a point symbol attached to it. If you click on the scene, you'll create a point feature wherever you click.
- On the ribbon, click the Map tab and click Bookmarks. Under Egmont Bookmarks, click Egmont Road.
The map zooms in to the road.
- Click the Egmont 3D map view tab to make sure the view is active.
- Press and hold the C key on the keyboard.
The pointer icon changes to a pointing finger . As long as you hold the C key, you can click and drag to pan the map without placing a point. To zoom in and out, use the mouse wheel or hold the right mouse button and drag.
- Navigate to the area where the road enters the park.
The park entrance is where the cleared land ends and the forest begins.
- Release the C key. Click on the road at the entrance to the park. The exact location doesn't matter.
The feature is added to the map and is selected.
- On the Map tab, in the Selection group, click Attributes .
- In the Attributes pane, click the input box next to NAME. Type Egmont Road and press Enter.
The description has already been added, as specified in the feature template.
- Next to the Attributes tab, in the middle of the pane, click the Geometry tab.
Along with the x and y values, a z-value is part of the point feature's geometry. The z-value should be close to 471 meters.
- Click the Attributes tab to show the feature's attributes again.
Create features for the other park entrances
You'll follow the same process to create features for the other two park entrances.
- On the Map tab, click Bookmarks. Under Egmont Bookmarks, click Pembroke Road.
- If necessary, click the Egmont 3D map view tab to make the view active.
- Press and hold the C key. Navigate to the area where the road enters the park.
- Release the C key. Click to add a point on the road.
- In the Attributes pane, for NAME, type Pembroke Road and press Enter.
- Zoom to the Manaia Road bookmark.
- Zoom in and add a point on the road where it enters the park.
- In the Attributes pane, for NAME, type Manaia Road and press Enter.
- On the ribbon, click the Edit tab. In the Manage Edits group, click Save .
- On the Save Edits prompt, click Yes.
- On the Edit tab, in the Selection group, click Clear .
- In the Contents pane, right-click the Park Entrances layer and click Attribute Table.
The table has three records with the attribute values you entered. Notice that the Shape field values are Point Z, showing that the features have z-values.
- Close the table view.
- Click the Map tab and click Bookmarks. Under Egmont 3D Bookmarks, click View from above.
- Use the Explore tool and the other 3D bookmarks to navigate the scene and examine the park entrance symbols.
The symbols should display well. However, from certain perspectives they may appear partly submerged in the ground. You can avoid this effect with a cartographic offset.
- In the Contents pane, right-click the Park Entrances layer and click Properties.
- In the Layer Properties dialog box, on the left, click Elevation.
- On the right, set the Cartographic offset to 0.5 and click OK.
The points will be raised half a meter above the ground (the elevation units are in meters). This is a display effect only—the actual z-values of the features do not change.
- Continue navigating to see the effect of the cartographic offset.
View the layer in the map
You can display 2D layers in 3D scenes—for example, Egmont National Park is a 2D layer. You can also display 3D layers in maps. You'll copy the Park Entrances layer into the Egmont map so both views have the same layers.
- In the Contents pane, under 3D Layers, right-click Park Entrances and click Copy.
- Make the Egmont map view active.
- In the Contents pane, right-click the Egmont map name and click Paste.
- Optionally, change the Park Entrances symbol to a 2D symbol that you like.
- On the Quick Access Toolbar, click Save to save the project.
Map features—the points, lines, and polygons that represent geographic locations—are normally stored in a feature class. A feature class stores the geometry and attributes of features so they can be added to new maps, processed and analyzed with tools, and managed with related datasets.
In this tutorial, you created a feature class and its metadata, configured a feature template, and finally created a few map features. It may have seemed like a lot of preparation was needed, but the preparation is an important part of the process. Creating data in a GIS means creating it in such a way that it can be reused, managed, analyzed, and shared.
The park entrance features you created had accurate z-values assigned to them. At the Egmont Road park entrance, the elevation is about 471 meters. At the Pembroke Road entrance, it's about 577 meters. At the Manaia Road entrance, it's about 520 meters. These z-values were derived from the scene's elevation source, a map service called World Elevation3D/Terrain3D.
A scene's elevation source is specified in its properties. To see it, make the Egmont 3D view active. In the Contents pane, right-click Egmont 3D and click Properties. In the Map Properties dialog box, on the left, click Elevation Surface. On the right, expand Elevation sources.