An overview of the Terrain Management toolset

The Terrain Management toolset is used to create and manage terrain datasets. Terrain datasets are TIN-based, multiresolution surfaces made from measurements stored in feature classes. Terrains reside inside feature datasets and are composed of participating feature classes and rules that govern their participation.

The primary intention of this toolset is to facilitate data automation for use in scripts and models. Terrain Wizard and Properties dialog boxes, which are better suited for interactive use, are available inside ArcCatalog or the Catalog window.

The following table lists the tools in the Terrain Management toolset and a brief description of each:

Geoprocessing tools


Add Feature Class To Terrain

Adds one or more feature classes to a terrain dataset.

Add Terrain Pyramid Level

Adds one or more pyramid levels to an existing terrain dataset.

Append Terrain Points

Appends points to a point feature referenced by a terrain dataset.

Build Terrain

Performs tasks required for analyzing and displaying a terrain dataset.

Change Terrain Reference Scale

Changes the reference scale associated with a terrain pyramid level.

Change Terrain Resolution Bounds

Changes the pyramid levels at which a feature class will be enforced for a given terrain dataset.

Create Terrain

Creates a new terrain dataset.

Delete Terrain Points

Deletes points within a specified area of interest from one or more features that participate in a terrain dataset.

Remove Feature Class From Terrain

Removes reference to a feature class participating in a terrain dataset.

Remove Terrain Pyramid Level

Removes a pyramid level from a terrain dataset.

Replace Terrain Points

Replaces point features used in a terrain dataset with points from a specified feature class.

Tools in the Terrain Management toolset

The following tools that were available in the ArcGIS 3D Analyst toolbox prior to version 10.0 have been removed, since they are no longer applicable.

Geoprocessing Tool


Add Terrain Points

Use the Append Terrain Points tool to add points to a terrain dataset.

Remove Terrain Points

Use the Delete Terrain Points tool to remove points from a terrain dataset.