Introduction to 3D visual analysis

3d visual diagram
3D visual analysis using layers of elevation, imagery, and buildings

What is 3D visual analysis?

A 3D visual analysis is a type of spatial analysis that calculates and displays spatial information derived from the terrain, buildings, and other 3D objects contained within a scene. 3D visual analysis consists of two major classes of analysis: visibility analyses which determine what is visible from a certain point and measurement analyses which determine the physical dimensions of 3D elements.

3D visual analysis is typically an interactive process and the results can be updated as the user input and environment change. When an analysis is complete, the results can be displayed on a scene to solve problems and gain a better understanding of complex 3D environments.

Why use 3D visual analysis?

You can use 3D visual analyses to:

  • Display the visibility (viewshed) of surface terrain and 3D objects from a viewpoint.
  • Calculate and display the visibility of a target from an observer.
  • Dynamically make line-of-sight and visibility calculations.
  • Measure the vertical, horizontal, and direct distance between two points.
  • Measure the area and perimeter of a polygon.

Types of 3D visual operations

ViewshedCalculates and displays the visibility of surroundings from an observer's perspective in a scene. Only available with the ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Native Apps.LocationViewshed(Point), LocationViewshed(Camera), GeoElementViewshedA viewshed overlay representing what can and cannot be seen by an observer. viewshed location
Line of sightCalculates if a target location is visible from an observer location in a scene.LocationLineOfSight, GeoElementLineOfSightA line indicating visibility, divided into segments based on what can be seen and what is obstructed. lineofsight location square
Distance MeasurementCalculates and displays the distance between two points in a scene.LocationDistanceMeasurement, DirectLineMeasurementAnalysisAn overlay containing a line feature and its corresponding distance measurement. directline measurement square
Area MeasurementCalculates and displays the area of a polygon in a scene.AreaMeasurementAnalysisAn overlay containing a polygon feature and its corresponding area measurement. area measurement square


API support

Viewshed analysisLine of sight analysisDistance measurementArea measurement
ArcGIS Maps SDK for JavaScript12
ArcGIS Maps SDK for .NET
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Kotlin
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Swift
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Java
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Qt
ArcGIS API for Python
Esri Leaflet
MapBox GL JS
Full supportPartial supportNo support
  • 1. Access with geoprocessing task
  • 2. Supports point location line of sight

Tool support

Viewshed analysisLine of sight analysisDistance measurementArea measurement
ArcGIS Pro
ArcGIS Scene Viewer
Full supportPartial supportNo support


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