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Navigate maps and scenes

Tutorial summary

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  • Video length: 0:58
  • This video was created with ArcGIS Pro 2.0.

The Explore tool Explore Tool is the default mouse navigation and feature identification tool for both maps and scenes. It incorporates most 2D and 3D navigation functionality and can be coupled with keyboard shortcuts. An on-screen navigator Navigator (available at ArcGIS Pro 2.0) can also be used to pan, zoom, rotate, and tilt the view.

In this tutorial, you'll navigate a map and a scene using the Explore tool and the navigator. You'll also learn how to link views so your map and scene pan, zoom, and rotate together.

  • Estimated time: 15 minutes
  • Software requirements: ArcGIS Pro

The tutorial steps in the online help reflect the look and capabilities of the current software release. If you have an earlier software version, use the offline help system to open the tutorial. To switch from the online to the offline help system, see About ArcGIS Pro Help. If you don't have ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Online, you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial .

Open the project

You'll navigate 2D and 3D views of Aoraki/Mount Cook on the South Island of New Zealand. Approximately 3,700 meters high, Aoraki/Mount Cook is New Zealand's tallest mountain.

Photo of Aoraki/Mount Cook
Aoraki/Mount Cook with kea (alpine parrots) in the foreground. Image by awiemuc. Downloaded from Wikimedia Commons and used under the Creative Commons 2.0 license.

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro and sign in if necessary.
  2. On the start page, under your recent projects, click Open another project.

    If you already have a project open, click the Project tab on the ribbon. In the list of tabs on the left, click Open.

  3. On the Open project page, click Portal and click Browse Browse.
  4. On the Open Project dialog box, under Portal Portal, click All Portal All Portal.
  5. At the top of the dialog box, in the Search box, type Navigate maps and scenes tutorial and press Enter.
  6. In the list of search results, click Navigate maps and scenes to select the project package.

    If there is more than one project package with this name, make sure to select the correct one. In the upper right corner of the Open Project dialog box, click the Show/hide details panel button Show/hide details panel. The owner should be ArcGISProTutorials.

  7. Click OK.

    The project opens with a topographic basemap zoomed to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park on the South Island of New Zealand. The project also contains a 3D scene named Mount Cook 3D.

    Map of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

    The project is stored in your <user documents>\ArcGIS\Packages folder.

  8. In the Contents pane, turn on the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park layer to see the park boundary.

Navigate a 2D map

You'll navigate to Aoraki/Mount Cook using the Explore tool Explore Tool. You'll also zoom to a specified map scale and create a bookmark.

  1. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Navigate group, hover over the Explore tool Explore Tool.
    Explore tool pop-up help

    A pop-up image shows the mouse button navigation functions and a few common keyboard shortcuts.

  2. Hover over the map view. Use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
  3. In the lower left corner of the map view, click the scale drop-down menu and click 1:100,000.
  4. Drag the map to pan around the area of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.
  5. Hover over the map.

    The latitude-longitude coordinates of the mouse pointer's map location are displayed at the bottom of the map view.

  6. Using the coordinates to guide you, navigate to Aoraki/Mount Cook at 170.14E longitude and 43.60S latitude.

    The peak is marked with the label 3724 m. It lies near the edge of the park boundary.

    Aoraki/Mount Cook

    You can also click Locate Locate in the Inquiry group on the Map tab and enter coordinates in the search box in the Locate pane. If you have trouble finding the mountain, turn on the Aoraki/Mount Cook layer in the Contents pane.

  7. Pan the map to put the mountain in the center of the view.

    Press Ctrl and click a location on the map to center the location in the view.

    To save this view as a place you can return to easily, you'll add a bookmark.

  8. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Navigate group, click Bookmarks Bookmarks and click New Bookmark New Bookmark.
  9. On the Create Bookmark dialog box, in the Name box, type Aoraki/Mount Cook. Click OK.

Navigate a 3D scene

Now you'll look at the mountain in a 3D scene. You'll navigate with the Explore tool and the on-screen navigator.

  1. Click the Mount Cook 3D view tab to make the scene active.
    3D view of Mount Cook National Park

    The view shows the area around the mountain in 3D. Your current height above ground level is displayed in the lower left corner of the view, in the same place as the map scale in a 2D map.

  2. On the Map tab, in the Navigate group, click Bookmarks Bookmarks. Under Mount Cook Bookmarks, click Aoraki/Mount Cook.

    The scene zooms in to the mountain. The view faces north and the perspective is perpendicular (straight down).

  3. In the Contents pane, under 3D Layers, turn on the Aoraki/Mount Cook layer.

    The peak is symbolized by a purple triangle.

  4. On the Map tab, confirm that the Explore tool Explore Tool is selected.
  5. Drag the map to pan the scene.
  6. Use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
  7. Tilt the scene by clicking the scroll wheel on the mouse while moving the mouse forward and backward. Don't turn the scroll wheel or you will zoom instead of tilting.

    To return to a familiar viewpoint, click a bookmark or click the Previous Extent button Previous Extent.

  8. Rotate the scene by clicking the scroll wheel on the mouse while moving the mouse from side to side.

    As you rotate, the north indicator on the navigator shows you which direction you are facing.

  9. Press N on the keyboard to rotate the view to face north.
  10. Press P on the keyboard to tilt the view to perpendicular.

    See Keyboard shortcuts for navigation for more shortcuts.

  11. Go to the Aoraki/Mount Cook bookmark.

    The same navigation movements (and more) that you make with the Explore tool can be made with the navigator.

  12. On the navigator, click the Show Full Control button.
    Show Full Control button

    The navigator expands to show its full functionality.

    Full Control navigator for 3D navigation
  13. Pan the scene by clicking the outer ring of the navigator and dragging in any direction.

    As you drag, a faint arrow extends from the navigator to indicate the direction.

  14. Tilt the view by clicking the inner ring of the navigator and dragging forward and backward.

    By default, you are not able to tilt the view to the underside of the surface. If you want to navigate below the surface, in the Contents pane, right-click the Mount Cook 3D scene name and click Properties Properties. On the Map Properties dialog box, click the Elevation Surface tab and check the Allow navigation below ground check box.

  15. Look around from a fixed position by clicking the inner sphere of the navigator and dragging in any direction.

    The camera remains stationary, as if you are looking around from the top of the mountain.

  16. Hover over one of the points on the outer ring—they represent cardinal directions—and click the arrow.

    The view rotates to face in the corresponding direction. Note that the big arrow on the outer ring, the North arrow, always points to the north.

  17. Experiment with the other navigator controls.

    The navigator can be turned on or off in any scene or map view. To turn the navigator on or off, click the View tab and click Navigator Navigator in the Navigation group. Alternatively, right-click the map or scene and click Navigator.

    To change the default navigator display, click the Project tab and click Options. Under Application, click Navigation. Expand On Screen Navigator and choose the settings you want.

    On Screen Navigator settings

Link views

You can display your map and scene side by side. You can also link them to synchronize navigation.

  1. Drag the active Mount Cook 3D view tab and drop it on the right-hand docking target that appears.
    Mount Cook 3D scene hovering over docking target

    When the view is docked, the map and scene display side by side.

    Map and scene displayed side by side
  2. On the ribbon, click the View tab. In the Link group, click the Link Views drop-down menu, and click Center and Scale Link Center and Scale.

    The map zooms to an extent and a scale that match the 3D scene. The view tabs for the map and scene are marked with icons to show that they are linked.

  3. Navigate the scene using the Explore tool Explore Tool or the navigator.

    The map and scene pan, zoom, and even rotate together.


    You can also navigate in the map view. The map and scene continue to navigate together.

  4. On the View tab, in the Link group, click the selected Center and Scale button Link Center and Scale to unlink the views.
  5. Pan or zoom in either view to confirm that the views are unlinked.
  6. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Save button Save to save the project.

Now that you know how to navigate maps and scenes, try the quick-start tutorial Add data to a project.

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