Skip To Content

Append Terrain Points

Available with 3D Analyst license.


Appends points to a point feature referenced by a terrain dataset.


  • This tool will invalidate a terrain dataset. Run Build Terrain after adding points or multipoints.

  • If the terrain is in SDE, it must be registered as versioned.


AppendTerrainPoints_3d (in_terrain, terrain_feature_class, in_point_features, {polygon_features_or_extent})
ParameterExplanationData Type

The terrain dataset to process.

Terrain Layer

The feature class that contributes to the terrain dataset into which the points or multipoints will be added.

This parameter only requires the name of the feature class and not its full path.


The feature class of points or multipoints to add as an additional data source for the terrain dataset.

Feature Layer

Specify a polygon feature class or arcpy.Extent object to define the area where point features will be added. This parameter is empty by default, which results in all the points from the input feature class being loaded to the terrain feature.

Extent; Feature Layer

Code sample

AppendTerrainPoints example 1 (Python window)

The following sample demonstrates the use of this tool in the Python window.

arcpy.env.workspace = 'C:/data'
                           'existing_points', 'new_points.shp')
AppendTerrainPoints example 2 (stand-alone script)

The following sample demonstrates the use of this tool in a stand-alone Python script.

Name: Update Terrain
Description: This script demonstrates how to update a terrain dataset
             with new elevation measurements obtained from Lidar by
             importing LAS files to multipoint features, then appending the
             new points to another multipoint feature that participates in a
             terrain. The terrain's pyramids are modified to optimize its
             draw speed.
# Import system modules
import arcpy

    # Set environment settings
    arcpy.env.workspace = "C:/data"

    # Set Variables
    inTerrain = "sample.gdb/featuredataset/terrain"
    currentPts = "existing_points"
    lasFiles = ['las/NE_Philly.las',
    newPts = 'in_memory/update_pts'
    # Define spatial reference of LAS files using factory code
    # for NAD_1983_StatePlane_Pennsylvania_South
    lasSR = arcpy.SpatialReference(2272)

    arcpy.AddMessage("Converting LAS files to multipoint features...")
    arcpy.ddd.LASToMultipoint(lasFiles, newPts, 1.5, 2, 1,
                              'INTENSITY', lasSR)

    arcpy.AddMessage("Appending LAS points to {0}..."\
    arcpy.AppendTerrainPoints_3d(inTerrain, currentPts, newPts)

    arcpy.AddMessage("Changing terrain pyramid reference scales...")
    arcpy.ddd.ChangeTerrainReferenceScale(inTerrain, 1000, 500)
    arcpy.ddd.ChangeTerrainReferenceScale(inTerrain, 2500, 2000)

    arcpy.AddMessage("Adding terrain pyramid level...")
    arcpy.ddd.AddTerrainPyramidLevel(inTerrain, "", "4 4500")

    arcpy.AddMessage("Changing pyramid resolution bounds for breaklines...")
    arcpy.ChangeTerrainResolutionBounds_3d(inTerrain, "breaklines", 5, 4)

    arcpy.AddMessage("Building terrain...")

    arcpy.AddMessage("Completed updates.")

except arcpy.ExecuteError:
except Exception as err:

Licensing information

  • ArcGIS Desktop Basic: Requires 3D Analyst
  • ArcGIS Desktop Standard: Requires 3D Analyst
  • ArcGIS Desktop Advanced: Requires 3D Analyst

Related topics