What is 3D Analyst?

The ArcGIS 3D Analyst extension provides tools for creating, visualizing, and analyzing GIS data in a three-dimensional (3D) context.

Capabilities with 3D Analyst

Environmentalists, forestry departments, and civil engineers can use 3D Analyst to understand and sculpt terrain to allow for events such as water runoff and flooding. Mining companies, geologists, and researchers can use 3D Analyst capabilities to learn more about subsurface geological bodies, such as the 3D intersections of deviated boreholes and subsurface strata. Local governments, city planners, and military organizations can leverage 3D Analyst to ask complex 3D questions about man-made structures, especially in regard to both current and proposed lines of sight within an urban area.

Concepts unique to 3D

When shifting to a 3D viewing environment, there are several new concepts to be aware of.

Concepts that are different in 3D from 2D

There are also other well-accepted 2D concepts that no longer apply.

Two 3D visualization applications

Two 3D visualization applications, ArcGlobe and ArcScene, are also part of the 3D Analyst extension.

ArcGlobe gives you the power to tame voluminous data while fully employing all information the data can give you. ArcGlobe displays spatially referenced data on a 3D globe surface, displayed in its true geodetic location. You can manipulate the globe, then investigate and analyze its data while viewing the globe as a whole, or regions within it. You can view data covering a global extent then seamlessly zoom into highly detailed, localized data.

ArcScene manages your 3D GIS data, performs 3D analysis, and allows you to easily create 3D features, and display layers within a 3D planimetric view. You can create 3D features from existing two-dimensional (2D) GIS data, or you can digitize new 3D vector features and graphics in ArcMap using a surface to provide the z-values.

Learn how to choose between ArcGlobe and ArcScene

Using 3D Analyst in ArcCatalog and ArcMap

In ArcCatalog, the 3D Analyst extension allows you to manage 3D GIS data and create layers with 3D viewing properties. You can preview scenes and data in 3D in ArcCatalog using the same 3D navigation tools you use in ArcScene.

Learn more about 3D Analyst capabilities in ArcCatalog

In ArcMap, the 3D Analyst extension allows you to create new surfaces from your GIS data as well as analyze surfaces, query attribute values at a location on a surface, and analyze the visibility of parts of a surface from different locations. You can also determine the surface area and the volume above or below a surface and create profiles along a 3D line on a surface.

Learn more about 3D Analyst capabilities in ArcMap

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