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Raster To Multipoint


Converts raster cell centers into 3D multipoint features whose Z values reflect the raster cell value.


  • Consider using this tool if you have raster elevation data and require access to the functional capabilities provided by a triangulated surface, as multipoint features can be loaded into a TIN or Terrain dataset.

  • When the input raster is very large in size, consider applying a thinning method to reduce the number of cells that get exported to the multipoint feature class.

    • Use the Z Tolerance thinning method when it is important to preserve vertical accuracy.
    • Use the Kernel thinning method when it is important to control the horizontal sample distance.
    • Use the VIP thinning method if the resulting multipoints will be primarily applied for visualization applications. This method is relatively fast, outputs a predictable number of points, and is good at selecting local peaks and pits. However, it is sensitive to noise and may ignore topographic features that span an extent that is larger than the 3 cell by 3 cell area.
    • Use the VIP Histogram option as an initial step to apply the VIP thinning method, as it produces a histogram of the significance scores that lets you know the number of points that would be selected with each incrementing percentile value.


RasterToMultipoint_3d (in_raster, out_feature_class, {out_vip_table}, {method}, {kernel_method}, {z_factor}, {thinning_value})
ParameterExplanationData Type

The raster to process.

Raster Layer; Mosaic Layer

The feature class that will be produced by this tool.

Feature Class

The histogram table to be produced when VIP Histogram is specified for the Method parameter.


The thinning method applied to the input raster to select a subset of cells that will be exported to the multipoint feature class.

  • NO_THINNo thinning will be applied. This is the default.
  • ZTOLERANCEOnly exports the cells that are required for maintaining a surface within a specified Z-range of the input raster.
  • KERNELDivides the raster into equal sized tiles based on the specified thinning value, then selects one or two cells which meet the criteria defined by the designated kernel method.
  • VIPEmploys a roving 3 cell by 3 cell window that is used to create a 3-dimensional best fit plane. Each cell is given a significance score based on its absolute deviation from this plane. A histogram of these scores is then used to determine the cells that get exported based on the percentile designated in the Thinning Value parameter.
  • VIP_HISTOGRAMCreates a table to view the actual significance values and the corresponding number of points associated with those values.

The selection method used within each kernel neighborhood when kernel thinning is applied on the input raster.

  • MINA point is created at the cell with the smallest elevation value found in the kernel neighborhood. This is the default.
  • MAXA point is created at the cell with the largest elevation value found in the kernel neighborhood.
  • MINMAXTwo points are created at the cells with the smallest and largest Z values found in the kernel neighborhood.
  • MEANA point is created at the cell whose elevation value is closest to the average of the cells in the kernel neighborhood.

The factor by which Z values will be multiplied. This is typically used to convert Z linear units to match XY linear units. The default is 1, which leaves elevation values unchanged. This parameter is disabled if the spatial reference of the input surface has a Z datum with a specified linear unit.


The meaning of this value will depend on the specified Thinning Method.

  • Z Tolerance—The maximum allowable difference in z units between the input raster and the surface created from the output multipoint feature class. When selecting this method, the thinning value defaults to one tenth of the z range of the input raster.
  • Kernel—The number of raster cells along the edge of each tile. This value defaults to 3, which means the raster would be divided into 3 cell by 3 cell windows.
  • VIP—The percentile rank of the histogram of significance scores. This value defaults to 5.0, which means the cells whose score was within the top 5% of the histogram will be exported.

Code sample

RasterToMultipoint example 1 (Python window)

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

arcpy.env.workspace = "C:/data"
arcpy.RasterToMultipoint_3d("elevation.tif", out_vip_table="elev_VIP.dbf", 
                            method="VIP_HISTOGRAM", z_factor=1)
RasterToMultipoint example 2 (stand-alone script)

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

Name: RasterToMultipoint Example
Description: This script demonstrates how to use
             the RasterToMultipoint tool to create multipoint datasets
             fot all IMG rasters in a target workspace.
# Import system modules
import arcpy

# Set default workspace
arcpy.env.workspace = "C:/data"
# Create the list of IMG rasters
rasterList = arcpy.ListRasters("*", "IMG")
# Loop the process for each raster
if rasterList:
    for raster in rasterList:
        # Set Local Variables
        # [:-4] strips the last 4 characters (.img) from the raster name
        outTbl = "VIP_" + raster[:-4] + ".dbf"
        method = "VIP_HISTOGRAM"
        zfactor = 1
        #Execute RasterToMultipoint
        arcpy.ddd.RasterToMultipoint(raster, "",outTbl, method, "", zfactor)
    print("There are no IMG rasters in the " + env.workspace + " directory.")

Licensing information

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

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