Creating a TIN surface from a terrain dataset

You can convert a terrain dataset to a TIN for smaller-scale and file-based surface modeling. Converting to a triangulated irregular network (TIN) will also allow you to visualize the TIN-based surface in 3D using ArcScene.

The Terrain To TIN geoprocessing tool is used to create a TIN from an input terrain dataset. The Terrain To TIN tool generates a TIN based on the pyramid level accuracy of the terrain dataset.

  1. Open the Terrain To TIN geoprocessing tool from the 3D Analyst toolbox.
  2. Select the input terrain dataset by selecting the browse button and browsing to the terrain dataset that you want to convert to a TIN.
  3. Select the browse button next to the Output TIN option and browse to the location where you want to save the new TIN on disk.
  4. Optionally, select a Pyramid Level Resolution from the terrain to use for conversion. The default is 0, full resolution.
  5. Pyramids are levels of detail generated for a terrain dataset to improve efficiency for some applications. They are used as a form of scale-dependent generalization. Pyramid levels take advantage of the fact that accuracy requirements diminish with scale. They are similar in concept and purpose to raster pyramids, but their implementation is different.

  6. Optionally, type a Maximum Number of Nodes value to be permitted in the output TIN surface. The tool will return an error if the conversion properties (in other words, analysis extent and pyramid level) would produce a TIN that exceeds this size. The default is 5 million.
  7. Optionally, select Clip to Extent. The analysis extent is used as the clip polygon. This only has an effect if the analysis extent is defined and is smaller than the extent of the input terrain.
  8. Click OK to run the Terrain To TIN tool.

Published 6/7/2010