Category: 3D GIS
Often the author of layer packages is using ArcMap and 2D symbols that drape, instead of billboard, when viewed in 3D mode in ArcGIS Explorer. Here’s some great information from Mark Bockenhauer in a recent ArcGIS Desktop blog post about how to author layer packages that work well in both display modes.
OK, so the title is a bit misleading, but we have been hearing from a few of you in regards to getting layer packages to display with 3D points in ArcGIS Explorer, and there is a way to do this using ArcMap. The quick answer is to use a Layer or Layer Package that already has the desired 3D layer properties. Simply, add a layer with 3D properties to ArcMap and reset the data source for the layer to your point feature data. While you cannot set 3D properties for a layer in ArcMap, if the layer already has 3D properties, ArcMap does not remove them.
For those of you that know how to reset the data source on a layer in ArcMap, you are set… you just need a point layer that already has 3D properties. I have made one that has the basic settings for 3D points that most people want and you can get it here. The 3D properties will work well for general visualization of points in 3D and 2D. A full explanation of the details follows below…
The issue: points from an ArcGIS Layer appear flat (draped) and are too big in ArcGIS Explorer 3D
For an example we will take a look at a default layer from ArcMap. In this case I have added point features representing cities in the United States (orange points). I also have a shaded relief basemap loaded in for reference.
If we create a layer package (see help for creating packages) out of this layer and open it in ArcGIS Explorer we will see the following:
In ArcGIS Explorer 2D, it looks pretty good. The layer has 2D properties and ArcGIS Explorer displays it as it is seen in ArcMap. If we switch to 3D in ArcGIS Explorer we see that the points are displayed in a larger size.
If we zoom in on the map we also see that the points are too big and they are draped on the surface.
This occurs because the layer does not have good 3D properties for this ArcGIS Explorer use case. Using the layer package referenced above this can be corrected. Open this layer from ArcGIS.com in ArcMap.
Right Click on the layer and open the layer’s properties…
On the Source Tab click the ‘Set data source’ button and browse to your point data.
If we create a layer package from this layer and open it in ArcGIS Explorer 3D, it looks like this:
The symbols have better sizing for this use case and they display in 3D.
In ArcMap we can adjust the layer properties further, changing the layer name, symbol, symbol renderer, turn on labels, set HTML popup etc… While 3D marker symbols like those in the ArcGIS_Explorer style work well, you can also use ArcMap’s character marker symbols . For example, I changed the layer name, chose the ‘Hospital’ symbol from the ESRI style and changed the size from 18 to 14.
In ArcMap it looks like this:
In ArcGIS Explorer 3D it looks like this:
If you have a 3D Analyst license you can use the layer as template in ArcGlobe. Of course, you can also use ArcGlobe to adjust the layers 3D settings and do more advanced 3D display.
Content for this post provided by Mark B. (ArcGIS Explorer Team)
ArcGIS 10 is close to being released and along with ArcGIS 10 will be a new release of ArcGIS Explorer (build 1500). We’re not going to list the new features in the 1500 release yet (and there are some surprises) but we thought it would be interesting to visit one of them – the enhanced capability to visualize virtual cities. Here’s an example that team member Mark Bockenhauer shared.
Shown below is what may have been considered state of the art a while ago – extruded building polygons based on height attributes with a little creative color shading thrown in. While not the ideal, this method was low-overhead and complete cities could be authored and served quickly, and viewed efficiently using ArcGIS Explorer.
Using automated capture of building facades and heights and draping them onto buildings is a much more realistic approach that’s been possible to do in ArcGIS for while, but has also been somewhat constrained by the overhead of displaying all that data and service throughput.
Shown below is the result of some work that’s gone into the ArcGIS 10 3D Analyst (ArcGlobe) and ArcGIS Server globe services. These improvements, coupled with enhancements to ArcGIS Explorer 1500, make it easier, faster, and more efficient to create and view entire virtual cities from 3D ArcGIS services using Explorer.
In the example below facades were captured using oblique aerial imagery (through Pictometry) and then draped onto 3D shapes. The geometry and textures were automatically generated from the imagery, building footprints, and LIDAR (via Pictometry’s partner, Precision Lightworks).
Check out these videos from the recent CAHINV Regional User Group meeting. Some great demos showing the new capabilities for the ArcGIS Desktop 10.
Seems like there is something going on with the links below so go to the ESRI Proceedings site to view the videos.
Clint Brown and Rupert Essinger
New Capabilities in ArcGIS 10 [12:12]
Editing in ArcGIS 10 [14:00]
Geoprocessing in ArcGIS 10 [9:33]
3D Display in ArcGIS 10 [11:00]
High-quality 3D data visualization is mainstream now thanks to Google Earth and Bing Maps (Virtual Earth). Users expect to see geospatial data in 3D. However 3D GIS users are now beginning to move beyond just visualization and need to do true 3D analyses, solving problems that can’t be solved in 2D.
ArcGIS 3D Analyst offers a range of 3D vector analysis tools enabling users to solve these 3D problems. New functionality includes the following:
- A suite of 3D set operators, including Intersect 3D, Union 3D, Inside 3D, Is Closed 3D and Difference 3D, perform geoprocessing tasks using closed multipatches and 3D features.
- Geoprocessing tools that expose 3D vector analysis specifically for virtual city workflows, such as Skyline and Skyline Barrier.
- Enhancement of existing geoprocessing tools to work better with 3D. For example, the Select by Location dialog box uses 3D distances, and multipatch objects can participate in the Line of Sight tool.
- Network datasets with full 3D connectivity.
- Interactively measure in 3D using the Measure tool to display distance along a surface, height of 3D object, distance between two points in 3D, distance from observer (that is, how far away is an object?).
Benefits of 3D vector analysis
3D Vector Analysis3D vector analysis allows city planners to analyze their 3D city model and determine impact of newly proposed projects on the city environment.
Geoscientist can create cross-sections and fence diagrams using the new Intersect3D tool.
Facilities managers can analyze 3D transportation networks to find the best route between locations.
Mission planners can analyze flight paths / routes through hostile territory with regards to threat levels.
Gert van Maren
3D Product Manager
The standard editing environment is now available inside both ArcGlobe and ArcScene, allowing for the creation and maintenance of z-aware GIS features. You are able to:
- start editing, stop editing, save edits, use Undo and Redo functions, and do other standard edit management tasks in 3D. The classic Snapping environment is also supported as are precision-creation options such as parallel, perpendicular, deflection, absolute XYZ.
- create and delete individual features. This includes the creation and storage of vertical lines in the geodatabase.
- move, rotate, scale and replace feature geometry (higher level geometry edits to features). This includes the ability to place 3D models (e.g.: COLLADA files) directly into the 3D view as new multipatch features, and then move/scale/rotate them on the landscape.
There are also additional tools for creating and maintaining Terrain datasets (particularly when working with LIDAR data sources) and editing TIN datasets (TIN editing toolbar in ArcMap).
Benefits of editing in 3D
Editing in 3D allows a city planner to drop in a new building, position it to exactly the correct location and instantly see the impact on the city environment.
Geoscientist can interactively edit stratigraphic layers to get rid data anomalies and add local knowledge such as fault lines to the model.
Facilities managers can create and maintain 3D transportation networks directly in 3D.
Civil engineers can effectively manage billions of LIDAR points as multipoints and create a scalable terrain (using the terrain dataset). Also new profile tools and the ability to edit TINs allow for greater quality control of surfaces.
Gert van Maren
3D Product Manager
3D Analyst 10 makes ArcGIS a complete system for 3D GIS.
That is a big statement so let me explain. Not only can you view your geospatial data in 3D Analyst, at 10 you can edit your data in 3D and analyze your data in 3D. Now that is pretty huge. Most companies focus on 3D visualization of geospatial data and some are very good at it. However you can only look at your data on a globe for so long. After awhile, the WOW factor starts wearing off and you’ll want to edit and analyze your data in 3D. This is what makes 3D Analyst different from 3D viewers.
So what does that mean: Edit in 3D and 3D Analysis?
We have enabled the standard ArcGIS editing environment inside both ArcGlobe and ArcScene. You can create and delete individual features, move, rotate, scale and replace feature geometry. This includes the ability to place 3D models (e.g.: COLLADA files) directly into the 3D view as new multipatch features, and then move / scale / rotate them on the landscape. All the standard editing options – Undo, Redo, Edit Templates, etc – are supported, as is the classic Snapping environment.
We’ve also made huge improvements in the analysis of 3D vector features. We have added 3D boolean operators such as Intersect 3D, Union 3D and Inside 3D to be used with closed multipatches, new GP tools that expose 3D vector analysis specifically for virtual city workflows, such as Skyline and Skyline Barrier and enhanced existing GP tools to work better with 3D – ‘Select by Location’ dialog uses 3D distances, multipatch objects can participate in the Line of Sight tool.
Note: please download the .WMV file for optimal video quality.
So what does this all mean?
It means that 3DAnalyst 10 is a big leap forward for the handling of 3D GIS data. Not only can you view huge volumes of your data in 3D, you can edit your data in 3D, analyze it in 3D and easily share it with your colleagues or the public.
That sounds great but what can you actually do with it?
I’ll get into that in more detail next time.
Gert van Maren
3D Product Manager
So the Lakers beat the Nuggets to advance to the finals, and we decided to take a look at both sports venues in 3D to show how you can use Sketchup to add 3D buildings to your maps.
First we went to the Google 3D Sketchup Warehouse where we can find lots of Sketchup models, many published as KML/Z files which can be used directly in Explorer. Sketchup models have long been supported in ArcGIS Desktop in ArcGlobe, part of the 3D Analyst extension. Google acquired the company on March 14, 2006.
We went to the NBA Arenas collection at the 3D Warehouse
and located the Staples Center and Pepsi Center models, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets respectively. Note that there’s a link to “View in Google Earth” (highlighted in yellow below with a red arrow) but obviously we can view these in Explorer too.
If you’ve let the file association for KML and KMZ be registered to ArcGIS Explorer all you have to do is click the link and the KML/Z will open in Explorer. If the KML/Z file association is registered to Google Earth instead of Explorer you’ll see the following dialog when Explorer first starts which lets you choose which application should open the files.
A similar dialog will display from Google Earth if you’ve set the KML and KMZ file association to Explorer.
You can also right-click the link and save the KML/Z file locally using Save Target As…
And then choose File > Open and click KML to browse for the file.
Here’s the Pepsi Center in Explorer:
And here’s the Staples Center. Note that the model author has added additional information about the arena which can be viewed by clicking the model.