Use scene layers

Scene layers are cached layers that are optimized for displaying large amounts of 3D content. Scene layers can include 3D point layers, 3D point cloud scene layers, 3D object layers, building layers, and integrated meshes. The scene layer complies with the Indexed 3D Scene layer (I3S) format.

For more information on sharing scene layers from ArcGIS Pro, see Share a web scene layer.

I3S—Indexed 3D Scene service

The I3S format is an open 3D content delivery format used to disseminate 3D GIS data to mobile, web, and desktop clients. It is an open format recognized by OGC. Indexed 3D Scene layers (I3S) can be created and used by ArcGIS clients as well as others.

I3S is the data source for all scene layers. Scene layers are used across the ArcGIS platform in applications such as Scene Viewer, ArcGIS Earth, and ArcGIS Pro.

I3S currently supports the following types:

3D object scene layers

3D object scene layers can be used to represent and visualize objects such as buildings that are explicitly modeled in three dimensions. These multipatch features can include textures and represent many 3D objects.

Building scene layers

Building scene layers describe 3D building information. The building is organized by discipline and category layers.

Integrated mesh scene layers

An integrated mesh scene layer 3D mesh data is typically captured by an automated process for constructing 3D objects out of large sets of overlapping imagery. The result integrates the original input image information as a textured mesh including 3D objects, such as buildings and trees, and elevation information. Integrated mesh scene layers are generally created for citywide 3D mapping; they are often captured by drone and cannot be restyled.

Point cloud scene layers

Point cloud scene layers provide fast display of large volumes of symbolized and filtered point cloud data. They are optimized for the display and sharing of many kinds of sensor data, including lidar. Point cloud scene layers are built directly from a LAS dataset layer and help support sharing 3D point content across the platform. For more information on using a point cloud scene layer in ArcGIS Pro, see Point cloud scene layer.

Point scene layers

A point scene layer describes features represented by points. These points can have different symbology such as 3D models, for example.

SLPK file

I3S can be persisted on the client as an .slpk or published as a service. An .slpk file can be created by third-party vendors or by using geoprocessing tools in ArcGIS Pro. Vendors can output 3D content in the different profile types following the I3S specification. You can use the following geoprocessing tools to create an .slpk:

An .slpk file can be used as a data source by a scene layer directly in ArcGIS Pro or runtime clients. You can also publish the .slpk to ArcGIS Enterprise or ArcGIS Online using the Share Package tool to create an I3S service.

I3S service

You can share 3D content as a web scene layer to ArcGIS Enterprise or ArcGIS Online. In this case, an I3S service is created. You can choose to cache the content on the client. In this case, an .slpk is created and uploaded. If you share feature-based content such as multipatch feature layers or point scene layers, you can choose to cache on the server. In this case, an I3S service and an associated feature service are created. This associated feature service is used for dynamic queries such as search. In combination of an I3S and feature service editing is available.