Tips for using Visibility and Range results in ArcGlobe

Once you’ve done some visibility analysis with the Visibility and Range template, you may find it helpful to view the results in 3D.  Range domes, linear lines of sight, and trajectories are 3D features, so they display in 3D by default in ArcGlobe. Some visibility and range output may need some adjustment to display well in ArcGlobe.

Copying layers to ArcGlobe
You may want to take one of the Visibility and Range output layers you’ve made in ArcMap and add it to ArcGlobe. You can right-click the layer in the ArcMap table of contents and click Copy, then in the ArcGlobe table of contents, right-click Globe Layers and click Paste.  A wizard for setting the Globe layer properties will appear.

Copying Vector layers
You’ll generally want to add vector layers as 3D vectors. Display Points as 3D Vectors

The default display range for small extent vector features may not work well for visualizing military features, especially when there are few features in a relatively small extent, and you want to visualize them from both long and short ranges. Adjust scale range

You can make the features display at smaller scales by pushing the Typical Scale slider to the left (I used “Town” scale) and increasing the “out beyond” scale display cutoff (I used 30 km).  You can choose to display the symbols in “point units” so they show up at the same size when you zoom out. Draw symbols in point units

Copying raster layers
When you copy and paste a very small raster (like the raster output of the Fast Visibility tools) into ArcGlobe, it may not display.  The first thing to check is whether or not the layer is being drawn below another layer in the ArcGlobe table of contents – moving the layer above the other  layer in the table of contents may solve the problem.
Visibility layer hidden by Imagery layer

Sometimes the layer still won’t display, even though it is “on top”. In this case, open the Layer Properties, click the Cache tab and change the Minimum cell size for the layer to something smaller – in this case I changed it from 27.182 meters to 5 meters.

Reduce minimum cell size

Range dome tips
You can use the Buffer 3D geoprocessing tool to create range domes in ArcGlobe. This tool is designed to buffer a 3D feature.  If your input feature geometry doesn’t have Z values, the sphere that the tool creates is still centered at the feature’s XY coordinate, but at an elevation (Z value) of 0.

Highest Point result pasted into ArcGlobe

This feature has an elevation value stored as an attribute and drawn as a label, but the feature is not a 3D feature, and it has no Z value in its geometry. ArcGlobe is drawing it as a Draped layer using the globe’s terrain layers to set its elevation.
Especially in high elevation areas, 3D buffering a feature with no Z value can result in range domes that are beneath the surface.

Dome under surface

To avoid this problem, you can run the Interpolate Shape geoprocessing tool to make 3D points from a point feature class and an elevation surface.  If your point features have Z information stored in attributes you can use the Feature to 3D by Attribute geoprocessing tool.

3D point with Z value from surface or attribute

Now the push-pin shows a 3D point generated from the 2D feature and elevation data (this could be from an attribute or from a surface).

Buffer around 3D point

The 3D buffer multipatches are opaque by default.  It makes more sense to display range domes with transparency, and in a color that highlights the dome. You can change the layer color and transparency properties for multipatches in their Layer Properties dialog box – in this case I’ve made the range dome red and 50% transparent:

Red 50 percent transparent buffer

Now you can see the 3D “pushpin” marker and the 2D billboard triangle marker inside the dome.

Military Symbols in 3D
You don’t have to use the default 3D symbols in ArcGlobe. Suppose you have a point feature that represents an enemy heavy machine gun position. To use the correct military symbol, open the Symbol Selector, click Style References, and add the C2 Ground Equipment style:

Add C2 UEI Ground track equipment style

Search on “machine” and click the Heavy Machine Gun H symbol.

Set symbol to Heavy Machine Gun Hostile

Apply the symbol to your point.

HMG point in dome

You can also use realistic symbols from other styles. Here, I’ve added the 3D Industrial style and picked a radar dish feature.
Dish with dome

Transparent multipatches may block the view
Sometimes 3D symbols are not visible through transparent multipatch shapes, such as these range domes.  When that happens, you can adjust the layer’s “See through position”.

In this example, a radar dish symbol shows up when the dome is turned off, but disappears when the dome is turned on, even though the dome has transparency set to 70%.

Dish hidden by dome

To fix this, open the Layer Properties for the radar dish’s layer, click the Globe Display tab, and in the “Floating Layers See-through position” section, reduce the value to something less than that of the dome layer’s value. In this case I set the “See-through position” to “-4”.

Floating layer see through position

Dish in dome

Now the radar dish displays inside the transparent dome.

An alternative approach would be to open the Layer Properties for the range dome layer, click the Globe Display tab, and in the “Floating Layers See-through position” section, increase the value to something higher than that of the radar dish layer. For example, you might set the “See-through position” to “+4”. One advantage of this second approach is that any other layers you add (eg: people, vehicles, trees, etc.) will come in with the default value of “+1”, so changing the dome’s value will mean additional new layers should “just work”.

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