Shadow Maps


At ArcGIS 10, we introduced the ability to create Volumetric Shadows over time. This allows you to visualize for example the shadow effect of a proposed building on neighboring buildings.


Visualization of shadows is important but the real power of ArcGIS shines in the ability to use these shadow volumes in 3D analysis workflows.

One example of a such a 3D analysis workflow is the creation of a so-called shadow map. This is a map showing areas of shadow / no shadow on a horizontal plane (ground) at a certain point in time.


And when we calculate a shadow map for a number of time steps and summarize, we get a good indication of the shadow effect on the horizontal plane (ground) over the course of the chosen time period.




Landscape planners might use these maps to decide where to plant certain plant species so they get enough sunlight or where to place park benches so they get enough shade in summer.

Have a look at the Shadow Map video to see it all in action.

We’ll publish a shadow map template soon here on the 3DGIS resource center so you can see how it is all done.

Gert van Maren

3D Product Manager


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One Comment

  1. jkowalczyk says:

    I tired to use this template and I get error message because “Layer3D to feature class” creates “Park3D” whith multipatch which is not closed. And it is not possible to Intersect not closed multipatches. What is the reason behind this error?! How can I close this multipatch, or generate closed multipatch using “Layer3D to feature class” tool.