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Basemap and elevation layers

The elevation and basemap layers in a scene give context for your operational layers. A basemap layer can provide reference for surrounding areas. The elevation surface can define the heights of operational layers in a scene. Without an elevation source all 3D layers appear as though on a flat surface. To ensure that your scene displays correctly, cached layers must use the same tiling scheme and meet specific tiling scheme requirements.

Basemap layer

For an existing service to be considered a basemap, it must either be added to your organization's basemap group or be added as a basemap in your project.

For more information on setting up a basemap gallery, see Configure map.

For more information on creating a basemap in your project, see Author a custom basemap.

Elevation layers

Web scenes only allow ground as an elevation surface. The elevation source or sources defining the ground surface must be web elevation layers that use the same tiling scheme as the scene's basemap. Web elevation layers are specialized for elevation surface data, leveraging a storage mechanism known as Limited Error Raster Compression (LERC), which is designed specifically to handle tiles that connect through multiple levels of detail.

All valid elevation sources in the ground surface are included in the shared web scene, including elevation sources that have been turned off. They can be turned back on when consumed in ArcGIS Pro and Scene Viewer.

When creating a new scene in ArcGIS Pro, Esri's global scale elevation surface is added automatically from ArcGIS Online. If you have high-resolution elevation data that you want to use, you can do one of the following:

  • Author your scene to use local elevation data as an elevation source. When you share the web scene, the local elevation data is shared as a web elevation layer for you.
  • Author your scene to use an existing web elevation layer.


The elevation surface properties Vertical exaggeration, Surface color, and Shade relief are not maintained through the sharing process.

All other elevation sources, such as globe elevation services, are removed from the web scene during the sharing process. Web scenes can be shared without elevation sources.


Custom elevation surfaces are not supported in the Scene Viewer. Custom surfaces are dropped during the sharing process.

Z-value units

The z-value unit of your elevation data is assumed to be the same unit as the coordinate system of your scene. To ensure your elevation data shares correctly, use a coordinate system that has the same unit as your elevation source's z-values.

For example, if your scene's coordinate system's unit is meters but your z-values are in feet, if shared as is, your elevation layers will appear stretched by a magnitude of 3.28084 because the z-values are assumed to be meters. To fix this, do one of the following:

  • Change your scene's coordinate system to a coordinate system that has a unit of feet.
  • Use the Raster Calculator tool to change the unit of your z-values to meters.

Tiling scheme requirements

A tiling scheme defines the coordinate system of the service, the levels of detail, and the tile origin for the cache. All elevation services in the ground surface and existing cached layers (such as a basemap, map image, or tile layers) must use the same tiling scheme. The tiling scheme must use the coordinate system of the scene.

If your scene has a basemap, any new cached layers that are published when your scene is shared take on the tiling scheme of the basemap.

If your scene does not have a basemap, new cached layers take on the tiling scheme of an existing cached web layer, such as a web elevation layer or web tile layer.

If your scene does not have existing cached web layers, a tiling scheme is automatically selected. In a local scene, the auto-suggested tiling scheme is based on the scene's coordinate system. A custom tiling scheme file can be used if it matches the coordinate system of your scene. To generate a custom tiling scheme, use the Generate Map Server Tiling Scheme tool or the Generate Tile Cache Tiling Scheme tool. In a global scene, a valid tiling scheme is selected based on the coordinate system of the scene.

Global scenes

The following table lists tiling scheme support for global scenes in ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise

Tiling Scheme

ArcGIS OnlineArcGIS Enterprise
ArcGIS Online/Bing Maps/Google Maps



WGS84 Geographic Coordinate System, Version 2



CGCS2000 Geographic Coordinate System


Not Supported


The ArcGIS Online/Bing Maps/Google Maps tiling scheme is only valid when the coordinate system of the global scene is WGS 1984. The CGCS 2000 Geographic Coordinate System tiling scheme can be imported from C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Pro\Resources\TilingScheme.

Local scenes

When sharing a scene in local view, the tiling scheme must use the same projection as the scene, and must meet these requirements:

  • Each scale level must be half of the preceding scale level within a tolerance of 8 to 9 decimals.
    • For example, if you have a tiling scheme with three levels from 2000 to 500, the scales must be 2000, 1000, and 500. Using the scale 1500 instead of 1000 would mean the tiling scheme is invalid.
  • The tile size must be 256 by 256 pixels when sharing to Portal for ArcGIS 10.4.1 and earlier. When sharing to ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Online, the tile size can also be 512 by 512.
  • The scale of level 0 must fit within the extent of the layer.
    • If the scale used for level 0 in the tiling scheme is too large, the tiles in level 0 extend outside of the extent of the layer. Use a smaller scale for level 0 to ensure the tiles fit within the extent of the layer.

When creating a custom tiling scheme, all cached layers in the scene, including all elevation sources, must use the same tiling scheme. Create a tiling scheme based on the extent of all layers to ensure the data fits with the extent of level 0.