Creating a TIN surface from raster data

You can convert a raster surface to a TIN for use in surface modeling or to simplify the surface model for visualization. Converting to a triangulated irregular network (TIN) can also allow you to enhance your surface model by adding features, such as streams and roads, that are not represented in the original raster.

When you convert a raster to a TIN, you can specify the z-tolerance of the output TIN with respect to the original raster. ArcGIS 3D Analyst chooses the subset of points needed to achieve this level of accuracy.

The Raster To TIN geoprocessing tool is used to create a TIN from an input raster. The Raster To TIN tool does not deviate from the input raster by more than a specified z-tolerance.

For more information on the Raster To TIN tool, see: How Raster To TIN (3D Analyst) works.

  1. Open the Raster To TIN geoprocessing tool from the 3D Analyst toolbox.
  2. Click the browse button, and browse to the raster that you want to convert to a TIN.
  3. Click the browse button, and browse to the location where you want to save the new TIN on disk.
  4. Optionally, type a z-tolerance for the TIN.
  5. The z-tolerance is the maximum number of units that the TIN surface may differ from the cell center heights of the input raster. A low number results in a TIN that preserves more of the detail of the raster surface. A higher number results in a more generalized representation of the surface.

  6. Optionally, type a value in the Maximum Number of Points text box to add to the TIN in pursuit of accuracy.
  7. Optionally, type a value in the Z Factor text box.
  8. Click OK to run the Raster To TIN tool.

Published 6/7/2010