3D Analyst and ArcScene

ArcScene is a 3D visualization application that allows you to view your GIS data in three dimensions.

3D view of utility poles and power lines

ArcScene allows you to overlay many layers of data in a 3D environment. Features are placed in 3D by providing height information from feature geometry, feature attributes, layer properties, or a defined 3D surface, and every layer in the 3D view can be handled differently. Data with different spatial references will be projected to a common projection, or data can be displayed using relative coordinates only. ArcScene is also fully integrated with the geoprocessing environment, providing access to many analysis tools and functions.

Much of the functionality of ArcScene is shared with the ArcGlobe 3D display environment, though there are several key differences between the two 3D environments.

Common tasks performed in ArcScene include

Common task

Where to go for more information

Creating an ArcScene document

About creating 3D views

Creating a 3D document

Saving an ArcScene document

Saving a 3D document

Printing an ArcScene document

Printing a 3D document

Exporting an ArcScene document

Exporting a 3D document

Exporting a 3D VRML model in ArcScene

Generating 3D data

Creating 3D feature data

Converting 2D features to 3D features

About geoprocessing with 3D Analyst

Using 2D data in ArcScene

Displaying features in ArcScene

Navigating in 3D

About 3D navigation

3D navigation concepts

About 3D navigation tools

Creating a 3D animation

Creating 3D animations

An overview of animation

Optimizing ArcScene

Optimizing ArcScene

Optimizing ArcScene layers

Optimizing raster and surface layers

Optimizing 3D multipatch layers

Viewing in stereo

Viewing in stereo mode in ArcScene

Reducing the 3D view extent

Reducing the 3D view extent using a layer

Reducing the 3D view extent using coordinates

Reducing ArcScene's view extent using the Area of Interest tool

Functional differences between ArcGlobe and ArcScene

Visualizing 3D data

The ArcGIS 3D Analyst extension allows you to drape images or vector data over surfaces and extrude vector features from a surface to create lines, walls, and solids. You can use 3D symbols to add realism to the display of your GIS data and create high-quality animations to distribute the results.

ArcScene offers the capability to view a scene from multiple viewpoints using different viewers or change the properties of 3D layers to use shading or transparency.

You can also change the properties of a 3D scene to set the following:

The following images show how you can exaggerate the vertical dimension of a scene.

The vertical dimension of a scene
A scene with the vertical dimension exaggerated

Analyzing 3D data

All the 3D Analyst geoprocessing tools are available to you in ArcScene. The tools can be run from the Catalog or Search window. Here are a few examples:

You can develop advanced geoprocessing models in the ModelBuilder window and then run them directly from ArcScene.

Additionally, ArcScene exposes interactive analysis operations on the 3D Analyst toolbar. There are two interactive tools for creating contour lines and finding the steepest path, which can be used on a TIN or raster surface.

Learn more about the fundamentals of interactive 3D analysis tools

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