In the Create Features pane, multipatch feature templates and feature templates with z-enabled data sources can create 3D features in a map or a scene. You can create multipatch features from scratch or import 3D models as multipatch features. 2D features cannot store z-values, but they can derive them from an elevation surface, or from an attribute field in a table.
As you create 3D features, you can enter z-values using tools on the Edit tab, in the Elevation group. In scenes, on the Appearance tab, in the Extrusion group, you can extrude 2D features so they appear three dimensional by referencing an attribute field. To create 3D features using point, polyline, and polygon features, z-enable them when you initially define the feature class.
This is a basic workflow for setting up a map or a scene for creating 3D features. For steps to create multipatch features from scratch, see Create multipatch features.
Scenes allow you to tilt up your 2D map and view spatial relationships when the vertical axis is important to your workflow. You can open maps and scenes at the same time and switch between them as you work. You can also link maps and scenes to display synchronously at the same center and scale of your extents as you pan and zoom in the active view.
On the View tab, click Global View to display your data on a globe. Click Local View when the curvature of the earth is not needed, and you need to display your 2D and 3D layers at a local scale in a projected coordinate system. You can change a scene between these two viewing modes anytime.
Scenes organize data into 2D and 3D group layers. Layers in the 2D Layers group layer can be set to display features on the ground surface, on a custom surface, or at an absolute height. Drag layers to the 3D Layers group layer if you need to display features relative to the ground, on a custom surface, or at an offset from a surface. The elevation at which features are displayed in 3D space relative to an elevation surface is determined by a set of properties you configure for each layer.
In the Map Properties dialog box, on the Elevation Surface page you can add elevation surfaces to a map or a scene. Elevation surfaces determine the height at which layers in 3D space are displayed across the extent of your data. By default, scenes contain a 3D elevation terrain surface called Ground that represents the surface of the earth. If a map or a scene is missing this surface, you can add it from ArcGIS Online if your organization permits searching for public content on the Internet.
Layer elevation properties
In the Layer Properties dialog box, on the Elevation tab, you can define how features are displayed in 3D space relative to the specified elevation surface. This is commonly referred to as the layer base height setting. In addition to the base height setting, you can specify an offset value that shifts the features vertically, relative to the base height. You can set a layer to derive elevation z-values from the feature geometry, by referencing an attribute field in a table, or by creating an expression.
Create a scene
To create a scene for an existing map, in the Project pane, expand Maps, right-click the map, and click Convert To Scene . This copies the feature data in the map to the new scene.
- If the Project pane is not open, on the View tab, in the Windows group, click the Project drop-down arrow and click Project pane .
- On the Project pane, expand Maps, right-click an existing 2D map, and click Convert To Scene .
- To create a new scene containing no data, right-click Maps and click New Scene. When the view opens, drag your data into the scene from the Project pane.
Link a map and a scene
To link a map or a scene to the active view, on the View tab, in the Link group, click Link Views and select Link Center or Link Center and Scale .
- Click the map you want to be the active map.
- On the View tab, in the Link group, click the Link Views drop-down arrow and choose one of the following:
- Link Center .
- Link Center and Scale .
As you pan or zoom in the active view, all maps and scenes update and display the same center of your extents.
Add an elevation surface
To add an elevation surface to a map, such as one for water tables or geological structures, in the Map Properties dialog box, on the Elevation Surface tab, click Add New Surface, and navigate to the surface.
- On the Edit tab, in the Elevation group, click the Map Properties dialog box launcher .
- In the Contents pane, you can also right-click the map and click Properties .
- In the Map Properties dialog box, click the Elevation Surface tab.
- On the Elevation Surface tab, click Add New Surface.
A placeholder for the new surface appears. It is given a default name similar to Surface 1. To rename it, click in the box and type a new name.
- On the new surface placeholder, click Add Elevation Source .
- In the Add elevation source dialog box, browse to the image service, raster file, or TIN Dataset and click Select.
- To add the default ground elevation surface, click All Portal and type terrain3D in the search box.
- For each new surface you add to the map or scene, you can customize settings for vertical exaggeration and surface color, and toggle shaded relief on or off.
- Click OK.
Your settings are saved and the dialog box closes.
Set layer elevation properties
To configure layer base height settings, in the Layer Properties dialog box, on the Elevation tab, specify an elevation surface and configure how the features derive z-values. To specify z-values, select Geometry z-values or A field and select the attribute field, or click Expression and type the expression.
- On the View tab, in the Windows group, click Contents.
The Contents pane opens.
- Click and expand 3D layers.
- Right-click the layer and click Properties .
The Layer Properties dialog box opens.
- Click Elevation.
- On the Elevation tab, click the Features are arrow and select one of the following:
- On the ground places features on the ground surface. The elevation of a feature is derived from the ground surface upon which it is placed. Examples include light poles, trees, and cars.
- Relative to the ground places features above or below the ground. The elevation of a feature is derived from the ground surface and feature-driven z-values. Examples include security cameras, well base points, and subway stations.
- At an absolute height places features at a specified elevation. The elevation of a feature is derived from z-values stored with the feature, such as z-enabled geometry, or in an attribute field. Examples include airplanes, earthquake epicenters, and satellites.
- On custom elevation surface places new features onto the selected surface. The elevation of a feature is derived from the custom elevation surface upon which it is placed. Examples include intersection points for subsurface faults, site pollution levels, and ozone readings.
- Relative to custom elevation surface places features above or below the selected surface.
- Click OK.
Your settings are saved and the dialog box closes.