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Fast generic 3d buildings

April 16 2009 | 0 comments

Hello, First off, thanks for your assistance, you all do a great job. Question is, I work for the U.S. Military. I create Hazardous Prediction Modeling for suspected terrorist event by creating some crude graphics based on some chemical released and weather conditions. This is done in another program and imported as a shape file. This is time critical, so I have only minutes to hours to generate this. What I am attempting to do, is add some crude buildings to give a better representation of the spread of some contaminent. I am self taught in GIS, so bear with me. I add all the layer files I want to a project. Now I want to save that project and view it in ArcScene and add the buildings. What is the best practice to accomplish this?

Mapping Center Answer:

Have you tried using ArcGlobe?

Here is a workflow that should get you started (I did this in ArcGlobe version 9.3):

1.  Open ArcGlobe.

2.  Add in your building footprints and zoom to that layer (right click zoom to layer).

  • If you don't have 3D buildings, you can right click on your buildings feature class in the table of contents and click to see its Properties.  Under the Globe Extrusion tab, you can type in an extrusion value which creates 3D symbology using the DEM to obtain its height information. 
  • If you do have 3D buildings with a Z value, you can use that attribute as the extrusion value instead.

3.  Once your buildings are extruded, you can add in the StreetMap USA layer from the Resource Center.  At this point, you should be able to add in your other contaminant data as well.

Also, if you are creating 3D building footprints, a useful tool to have in a customized toolbar is Current Z.  If you know the height of the building you are digitizing, you can enter the value in the Current Z and every time you create a vertex that value will be stored.

There was also a recent Mapping Center blog post on creating building footprints that you may find useful.


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