You are on page 1of 4

GIS 551

9. 3D Visualization
Due 11-20-08; 11-21-08
Present GIS data in virtual 3D using ArcScene and ArcGlobe.
Both ArcScene and ArcGlobe are components of 3D Analyst extension for ArcGIS
Desktop. Both are capable of displaying GIS data in 3D by draping data on the base
(elevation). ArcGlobe has a built-in globe as the frame to present the entire Earth,
whereas ArcScene always needs a dataset of DEM or TIN for base height. Both
applications allow you to set the z-factor to get a more impressive relief change.
In this lab, we will use the DEM you processed in Lab 8 as the base height for the
same study area.
Satellite Image Preparation

Find a Landsat 7 ETM+ image on the server for our study area
(Y:\Graduate\551\big_bend\big_etm742_2003_03_26.img). This is an ERDAS
IMAGINE img file georeferenced to UTM Zone 13, NAD 83 with 30 m ground
resolution. It contains ETM+ band 7: 2.08 to 2.35 m, band 4: 0.76 to 0.91 m, and
band 2: 0.52 to 0.60 m.

Check the Raster Dataset Properties and especially look into its Run-Length
Encoding and the Statistics.

Resample the Landsat image from the resolution of 30 to 10 m (ArcToolbox > Data
Management Tools > Raster > Resample). Select BILINEAR for the Resampling
technique to get a smoother result. Name the Output raster big_etm_10m.img. Be
sure to include img as the extension to receive an img raster, which displays faster in

Find another SPOT satellite image on the server (spot_n29w1034.tif). This image has
10 m ground resolution and is also in UTM Zone 13, but WGS 84. It is in TIF format
and contains only one panchromatic band.

In order to match with the datum of other datasets, project the SPOT image from
WGS 84 to NAD 83 (ArcToolbox > Data Management Tools > Projection and

GIS 551

Transformations > Raster > Project Raster). Use NEAREST for resampling and
name the output raster as big_spot_83.img.

The SPOT image covers a much larger area than our area of interest (AOI). It might
slow down the performance. Use the tool of ArcToolbox > Data Management Tools
> Raster > Clip to eliminate undesired area. Take big_spot_83.img as the Input
raster. Refer to the coordinates from Lab 8 (Locate the Study Area) for entering the
minimum and maximum x, y of the clip Rectangle. Name the output raster as
big_spot_clip.img. (There are three other tools that can be used to achieve the same
goal, Spatial Analyst Tools > Extraction > Extract by Mask or Extract by Polygon or
Extract by Rectangle.)

Now we have two images, Landsat ETM+ and SPOT, in the same coordinate system,
datum, and ground resolution for the same study area. We can stack them together to
get a new raster with four layers, three from the Landsat and one from the SPOT.
Find the tool of ArcToolbox > Data Management Tools > Raster > Composite
Bands. Take big_etm_10m.img as the first input and big_spot_clip.img the second.
Name the output as big_etm_spot.img.

When displaying a multilayer image on monitor, it can use a maximum of 3 different

layers at one time for the RGB (red, green, and blue) color guns. Since we have four
layers in our composite image (big_etm_spot.img), you can try different combinations
for display to get the best result.

ArcScene Display

Open a new ArcScene document and save it as a9_map1.sxd. Add the composite
satellite image (big_etm_spot.img).

Use the DEM you processed in Lab 8 as the base heights of the image (Layer
Properties > Base Heights > Obtain heights for layer from surface: big_dem_fill).
Set Raster Resolution as 30 for cell size of X and Y to get the maximum resolution of
the DEM.

In Layer Properties > Rendering, select from the options to get the best results.
However, 3D display is RAM (random access memory) demanding. We are testing
the systems limit. Sometimes, you have to downsize your window to compensate for

GIS 551

Try to Navigate/Zoom in/Zoom out and Fly through your image to experience the
virtual GIS.

In Scene Properties, you are able to select Background color, to set Vertical
Exaggeration (the ratio between the vertical scale and the horizontal scale), and to
set the sun angle etc.

Go on the US National Park Service GIS website ( to

download the roads of the Big Bend National Park in shapefile. Pay attention to the
spatial reference of this dataset (download its associated XML file and view it in
ArcCatalog.) Here you can see why metadata is important.

Add the roads dataset onto the same ArcScene and set its base height by using the
same DEM.

Whenever you find a good shot of your 3D image, export it as JPEG (File > Export
Scene > 2D), which you can insert into an ArcMap layout for composing a 3D map.

ArcGlobe Display

Open a new ArcGlobe document and name it as a9_map1.3dd. Add the DEM
(big_dem_fill) and Use this layer as elevation source. Set the DEM as Elevation
Layer (Right-click > Redefine Layer > Redefine Layer as Elevation) if it is not set
yet. Leave the DEM checked so that the DEM will be used as elevation for other

Add the composite satellite image and the Big Bend roads shapefile. On both layers,
set each as Draped Layer (Right-click > Redefine Layer > Redefine Layer as
Draped) so that the layers are not only draped on the Globe but also extruded to the
surface based on the DEM.

Try to spin the globe and zoom in to your study area. Also try to toggle between
Globe and Surface navigation modes.

The same as in ArcScene, you can export an image from ArcGlobe (File > Export
Globe) and add it onto your map layout.

3D Animation

Available both in ArcScene and ArcGlobe, the Animation toolset allows you to
record fly by animation, save animation file (.asa for ArcScene and .aga for
ArcGlobe). Here you need some knowledge of movie making. The Capture tool

GIS 551

allows you to take a sequence of snap shots and then you can play an animation based
on this sequence. The Animation Manager allows you to edit your animation before
Export to Video [AVI (.avi) or QuickTime (.mov)].

A good strategy is to create snapshots as Bookmarks (View > Bookmarks > Create)
and have them in sequence. When Create Animation Keyframe, import each
snapshot from each of the created bookmarks and have them in a Destination track.

For 3D animation, ArcGlobe works well for global and regional scale, whereas
ArcScene is ideal for local scale.

Built-in with Windows XP, there is a program Movie Maker (Start > Programs >
Windows Movie Makers). You can use this program to edit your video clips, which
are exported from ArcScene/ArcGlobe, and integrate with music, slides, title, credits
to finalize your movie.


Complete a map showing the 3D image of your study area. You cannot have an
absolute scale for a 3D image. However, it is always a good practice to place an
approximate scale on a 3D map. Turn in the map in print and upload its PDF onto

Create a movie clip (avi or wmv) of your study area and upload it onto MyCourses.
Your movie should run 1.5 to 3.0 minutes. You have the option to use the original
Landsat image on the server, which has coarser resolution (30 meter). It releases
some of the computer system load compared with using the one with 10 meter
resolution. However, you might sacrifice some image details. On the other hand,
there is another image available (Y:\Graduate\551\big_bend\naip2005.img), which is
aerial photography with the spatial resolution of 2 meter. It all depends on how your
system can handle it. You can use lower resolution imagery for smaller scale video
and higher resolution for larger scale. Each of the video clips can be exported
separately from ArcScene/ArcGlobe and integrated in Movie Maker.