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Author and share a local scene

Many 3D scenes are viewed at a global scale and are projected on the globe using Web Mercator. However, there are many cases such as in the field of engineering, or in state and local government scenes where retaining accuracy of distance, direction, scale, and area is critical. For these cases, using a local projection will minimize distortion that can be a result of global projections.

This tutorial walks you through the process of creating a locally projected 3D scene from readily accessible base data and sharing it as a web scene in a local projection. All the content in the scene must be in the same projected coordinate system with matching XYZ units, because Scene Viewer does not support projection on the fly.

For this tutorial, you'll use a set of data from the city of Portland, Oregon. The base data consists of building footprints, tree locations, aerial, and topographic imagery from the city's open data portal, and a set of lidar derived elevation data from NOAA's Digital Cost data access viewer (DAV). With these datasets, you'll create a site-specific 3D scene in ArcGIS Pro and share it to your active portal.

To complete the tutorial, you'll do the following:

  • Find and download the data
  • Load the data
  • Display 2D data as 3D layers
  • Convert 2D data to 3D data
  • Share a locally projected web scene

Prerequisite

To complete this tutorial, you must have ArcGIS 3D Analyst extension and be signed into an ArcGIS account that has privileges to create content and publish web layers.

Find and download the data

The publically available data from the City of Portland and NOAA used in this tutorial has been saved as a zipped file geodatabase and is available to download from ArcGIS Online.

  1. Through a web browser, go to the item details page of Author and share a local web scene data.
  2. Click Download.
  3. Extract the downloaded file geodatabase, 3D_Portland, to a known location.

Load the data

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro.
  2. Under Create a new project, click Local Scene.aptx.

    The Create a New Project dialog box appears.

  3. Give the project a name and browse to a location to store the project. Click OK.
  4. In the Catalog pane, right-click Databases Database connections and click Add Database Add database.
  5. Browse to and select the downloaded file geodatabase, 3D_Portland.

    A connection to the database is added to your project. You are now ready to add the site data to the scene.

  6. On the Map tab, in the Layer group, click Add Data Add Data.
  7. Browse to the 3D_Portland file geodatabase and add the following layers:

    • Buildings
    • Clip
    • Portland_Aerial
    • Portland_DTM3ft
    • Portland_Topo
    • Trees

    The scene automatically switches to the projected coordinate system of the data: NAD 1983 HARN StatePlane Oregon North FIPS 3601 Feet International.

  8. Right-click the Topographic basemap layer and click Remove Remove. The Portland_Aerial or Portland_Topo layer will replace it.

    Contents pane with the Buildings, Trees, Clip, Portland_Aerial, Portland-DTM3ft, and Portland_Topo layers

  9. In the Contents pane, right-click the Ground surface in the Elevation Surfaces section and click Add Elevation Source Add Elevation Source.
  10. Browse to the Portland_DTM3ft imagery layer from the 3D_Portland file geodatabase. Click OK.
  11. Right-click WorldElevation3D/Terrain3D and click Remove Remove to remove the default world elevation surface.
  12. In the Contents pane, right-click Scene and click Properties Properties.
  13. On the General tab, change the following settings:

    • Name: Portland Local Projection Scene
    • Map Units: Feet
    • Display Units: Feet
    • Elevation Units: Feet

  14. You have now modified all units of the scene to match the scene's projection, in this case, feet. If your scene's projection was in meters, you would use meters for all units.
  15. On the Extent tab, click Custom extent. Click the Calculate from drop-down menu and click Clip.
  16. On the Metadata tab, fill out the following fields that will be used when the scene is shared:

    • Title: Portland Local Projection Scene
    • Tags: Portland, 3D
    • Summary: Portland 3D Scene
    • Description: Portland 3D Scene
    • Credits: City of Portland, CivicsApps.org, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  17. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box.

Display 2D data as 3D layers

You can now begin to transform the 2D buildings and trees into 3D features using a combination of attributes and the digital terrain model (DTM) used as the elevation surface of the scene.

  1. In the table of contents, drag the Buildings layer from the 2D Layers group into the 3D Layers group so you can define the buildings extrusion.
  2. Right-click the Buildings layer and click Properties Properties.
  3. On the Elevation tab, click the Features are drop-down menu and click At an absolute height.

    The buildings are now at a height of zero, drawing below the terrain surface. Starting the buildings at a height of zero will ensure the buildings are extruded to the correct height and will not be affected by the slope of the terrain.

  4. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box.
  5. Click the Buildings layer in the Contents pane and click the Appearance contextual tab.
  6. Click Feature extrusion type Feature extrusion type and click Base Height Base Height.
  7. Click the Extrusion Expression button Extrusion Expression. Subtract the Adjusted Surface Elevation from the Roof Elevation, $feature.ROOF_ELEV - $feature.SURF_ADJ. Click the Unit drop-down menu and click Feet to match the projection of the data.

    The expression used to extrude the buildings, $feature.ROOF_ELEV - $feature.SURF_ADJ

    The buildings are now extruded to the correct height but are not yet aligned with the surface.

    You will now display the trees as 3D points.

  8. In the Contents pane, drag the Trees layer from the 2D Layers group into the 3D Layers group.
  9. Use the Add Surface Information geoprocessing tool to add a new field to the trees feature class that will have the elevation value interpolated from the DTM.
    1. On the Analysis tab, click Tools Tools. Search for Add Surface Information, and click the first result, Add Surface Information.
    2. Click the Input Features drop-down menu and click Trees.
    3. Click the Browse button Browse and browse to the DTM in the 3D_Portland file geodatabase.
    4. Select Z for the Output Property, and accept all other defaults. Click Run.

    A new attribute is added to the trees feature class, Z. This field has the interpolated elevation values of the trees.

    Both the buildings and trees are displayed as 3D layers

Convert 2D data to 3D data

In general, to share extruded polygons, they must be converted to multipatch features. You'll use the Layer 3D To Feature Class geoprocessing tool. This tool takes the 3D display properties of the input feature layer and outputs a 3D line or multipatch feature class. Extruded points are converted to 3D lines. Points with 3D symbols, extruded lines, and extruded polygons are converted to multipatch features. Input features may be grouped using the features attributes to merge multiple input features into the same output feature. The resulting remaining attributes will be inherited from one of the input records.

Note:
If your active portal is ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise 10.6 or later, polygons extruded by base height using an arcade expression (as in this tutorial) can be shared without being flattened. In which case, you do not need to convert your polygons to multipatch features before sharing. When working with other extruded data, such as lines or points, you will still need to convert to multipatch features before sharing.

Although the tree points now have Z information stored as an attribute, to Z-enable the points, you'll use the Feature To 3D By Attribute geoprocessing tool to create a 3D point layer that aligns with the surface of the scene.

  1. On the Analysis tab, click Tools Tools. Search for Layer 3D to Feature Class, and click the first result, Layer 3D to Feature Class.
    1. Click the Input Features drop-down menu and click Buildings.
    2. Name the Output Feature Class Buildings_3D and save it in the 3D_Portland file geodatabase.
    3. For the Grouping Field, click Building ID, and accept all other defaults. Click Run.

    The Buildings_3D layer is added to the scene at a height of zero, and the polygons are merged into individual buildings based on the Building ID field.

  2. To align the buildings with the terrain, right-click the Buildings_3D layer and click Properties Properties.
  3. On the Elevation tab, click the Features are drop-down menu and click On the ground. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box.
  4. Run the Layer 3D to Feature Class tool once more to update the building geometries to be in alignment with the terrain.
    1. On the Analysis tab, click Tools Tools. Search for Layer 3D to Feature Class, and click the first result, Layer 3D to Feature Class.
    2. Click the Input Features drop-down menu and click Buildings_3D.
    3. Name the Output Feature Class Buildings_3D_Terrain, and save it in the 3D_Portland file geodatabase.
    4. For the Grouping Field, click Building ID, and accept all other defaults. Click Run.

    The Buildings_3D_Terrain layer is added to the scene with the correct heights and in alignment with the terrain.

    The multipatch buildings are correctly aligned with the terrain

  5. Select both the Buildings and Buildings_3D layers, right-click and click Remove Remove.
  6. On the Analysis tab, click Tools Tools. Search for Feature to 3D by Attribute, and click the first result, Feature to 3D by Attribute.
    1. Click the Input Features drop-down menu and click Trees.
    2. Name the Output Feature Class Trees_3D and save it in the 3D_Portland file geodatabase.
    3. Click the Height Field drop-down menu and click the field Z. Click Run.

    The Trees_3D layer is added to the scene with default symbology. You'll add the layer as a preset layer.

  7. Select both the Trees and Trees_3D layers, right-click and click Remove Remove.
  8. On the Map tab, click the Add Preset drop-down menu Add Preset, and click Thematic Trees Thematic Trees.
    1. On the Add Data dialog box, browse to the Trees_3D feature class and click Select.
    2. In the Symbology pane, set the Type field to Genus, the Height field to Height, and set the Unit to Feet.
  9. Right-click the Trees_3D layer and click Properties Properties.
  10. On the Elevation tab, click the Features are drop-down menu and click At an absolute height. Ensure the Geometry Z-values radio button is selected and Elevation units is set to Feet. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box.

    The 3D trees are added as a preset layer

  11. Save the project.

You now have a locally projected scene that has 3D multipatch buildings, thematically symbolized trees, either an imagery or topographic layer as your basemap, and a DTM as your elevation source.

Share a web elevation layer to ArcGIS Online

If your active portal is ArcGIS Online, you will need to author the scene with an existing web elevation layer before sharing the scene. If your active portal is ArcGIS Enterprise, the elevation layer will be shared during the web scene sharing process and you can skip this section and proceed to Share a locally projected web scene.

  1. From the Contents pane, right-click Portland_DTM3ft and click Share as web layer New Web Layer.

    The Share As Web Layer pane appears.

  2. Complete the Summary and Tags fields.
  3. Specify how the web layer will be shared. Use the same option when sharing the web scene.
    • My Organization—If you are signed in with an organizational account, you see this option. This option allows your content to be shared with all authenticated users in the organization.
    • Everyone—This option makes your content public. Anyone can access and see it.
    • Groups—You can share your content with groups you belong to and their members.
  4. Click the Configuration tab.
  5. Click the Tiling Scheme drop-down and click Tiling scheme file.

    The Load Tiling Scheme dialog appears.

  6. Browse to the Portland_DTM3ft.xml file included with the downloaded data.
  7. Click Analyze to check for any errors or issues. You must resolve all errors. If any issues are discovered, they appear on the Messages tab. Right-click each message to get more information, read the help for the error or warning, and access suggested fixes. Learn more about analyzing GIS resources
  8. Once validated, click Publish.
  9. In the Contents pane, right-click the Ground surface in the Elevation Surfaces section and click Add Elevation Source Add Elevation Source.
  10. Under Portal Portal click My Content My Content and browse to the Portland_DTM3ft web elevation layer you just shared. Click OK.
  11. Optionally, you can remove the local elevation source.

Share a locally projected web scene

To share a local web scene with point and multipatch web scene layers, ensure you are signed in to your active portal.

  1. On the Share tab, in the Share As group, click Web Scene Web Scene to open the Share Web Scene pane.

    Provide the Name and Item Description using the same metadata you used previously.

  2. Update the Sharing Options as needed.
  3. Click Analyze Analyze to check for any potential performance issues or errors that need to be resolved before you can share the web scene.

    Because a web feature layer is shared with each scene layer, warnings for downgraded symbology and feature templates are displayed but will not affect the web scene layers. The web tile layer and web elevation layer default to using an automatically generated tiling scheme for the coordinate system of the scene.

  4. Click Share Share this map as a web scene to your online account.
  5. Open the Jobs pane Open Jobs Status Pane to monitor the status of your web scene.

    As each layer is processed and shared, a progress bar notes the completion of each stage of the process, until the full scene has been shared successfully.

  6. Once the web scene has been shared successfully, you can navigate to the Item Details page of the web scene through the URL provided in the successful job pop-up.

    If you did not share the web scene publicly, you may have to sign in to your organization to view the web scene.

  7. To open Scene Viewer and interact with your web scene, click the thumbnail. You can also view the web scene in ArcGIS Pro.

    The final scene can be consumed in Scene Viewer

This workflow has guided you through the process of creating 3D data in a local projection and sharing a local web scene. This web scene is accessible both through Scene Viewer and ArcGIS Pro. By sharing your 3D content in a local projection, you have minimized distortion of distance, direction, scale, and area.