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Add features and graphics to a scene view

In ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, geoelements are used to represent real-world objects on a map or scene. The two types of geoelement are features and graphics, each of which has a geometry representing its shape and location on the surface of the Earth. They can also contain a set of attributes that further describe the represented object.

You can add graphics to graphics overlays and add graphics overlays to either a map view or scene view. The way you add features and graphics to scenes follows the same steps required to add them to maps, with these additional considerations:

When to use features or graphics

Features and graphics are similar to one another in that they both have a geometry and may store a set of attributes. Both features and graphics can be:

Features and graphics, however, are designed for different uses. While both can represent geographic elements, there are factors that may make one of them a better choice for specific tasks. See Features and graphics for more information.

Add features to a scene view when you want to:

  • Display data with a common attribute schema (for example, census data)
  • Display geographical data of a common geometry type (point, line, or polygon)
  • Persist or store the data beyond the current app session

Add graphics to a scene view when:

  • You want to display temporary data, such as fast-changing, fast-moving data (for example, a fleet of airliners, or voluminous data).
  • You want to display data that doesn't share a common geometry type (such as point, line, or polygon) and doesn't share a common set of attribute fields
  • The data is required only for the current app session

Defining a memory limit

If your Android app needs to display a large number of features or geometry that is very complex, it might improve responsiveness to limit the amount of memory used by the scene view. You can control the amount of total memory used to render scene data by assigning a value (in bytes) using the SceneView.setMemoryLimit function. You must provide a value for this setting before any SceneView instances are constructed.

If an explicit value isn't set, a default memory limit is determined as follows.

  • If the approximate per-application memory class of the device is greater than 1 GB, that value is used as the limit.
    • Otherwise, if 45% of total system memory is less than 1 GB, that value is used as the memory limit.
      • Otherwise, 1 GB is used as the memory limit.

Add features to a scene view

Feature layers can contain any number of features of a single geometry type (point, polyline or polygon). Adding features to a scenes is the same as adding features to a map:

  1. Add features to a feature layer
  2. If you want to include features' attributes (to run queries, for example), make sure to use LOAD_ALL if building your feature layer from a service feature table
  3. Add the feature layer to the scene's operational layers

Add graphics to a scene view

Adding graphics to scenes is the same as adding graphics to maps:

  1. Add graphics to a graphics overlay
  2. Set the graphic overlays surface placement, if you prefer a surface placement other than the default DRAPED
  3. Add the graphics overlay to the scene view's graphic overlays

Any graphic you add to a scene view must be constructed from a geometry with a spatial reference.

In 3D, you can add graphics such as points, polylines, polygons, and 3D marker symbols, all into the same graphics overlay or into multiple graphics overlays.

For additional details on adding graphic overlays to a map or scene, see Add graphic overlays to your app. For details on adding graphics to a graphics overlay, see Add graphics and text to graphics overlays.

Surface placement modes

For both feature layers and graphics overlays, you can specify a surface placement mode. These modes control how the z-value of your geometry is used when features and graphics are drawn.

  • DrapedBillboarded—Ignore Z values and drape symbols onto the surface, billboarded to always face the camera.
  • DrapedFlat—Ignore the Z values and drape on the surface.
  • Absolute—Features and graphics are drawn at a height using the z-value referenced from above the globe skin (sea level).
  • Relative—Features and graphics are drawn at a height using the z-value referenced from above the surface layer.
  • RelativeToScene—Placement is relative to objects in the scene, such as an elevation surface, buildings in a scene layer, integrated mesh layers, and extruded polygons. Some objects do not affect relative to scene placement, such as extruded points or lines, KML layers, or model symbols. Some combinations may not work for relative to scene placement, such as polygons placed relative to an integrated mesh layer.
  • Draped—(obsolete) Use DrapedBillboarded or DrapedFlat instead.


The minimum z-value is -6,356,752 meters, which is the approximate radius of the earth (the WGS 84 datum semi-minor axis). The maximum z-value is 55,000,000 meters. ArcGIS Runtime may not correctly display geometry that has z-values outside of this range.

For example code, see the sample Scenes / Surface Placement.

Graphics rendered at different heights, despite all having the same z-value.

Examples of graphics drawn with different surface placement options.

3D rendering properties

When using renderers in 3D, you can set properties to define extrusion expressions for both features and graphics. For graphics you can also define a rotation expression. For more information and examples of using extrusion expressions with a renderer, see 3D renderer properties in the Symbolize data topic.

Extrusion is the process of stretching a flat 2D shape vertically to create a 3D object. This provides a simple method to create three-dimensional symbology from two-dimensional features. For example, you can extrude building polygons by a height value to create realistic building shapes. You can also use extrusion to illustrate relative values in your data. The three basic geometry types-points, lines, and polygons-all support extrusion


Extrusion may not work with some types of multilayer symbols, such as hatch fills.

The following image shows a graphics overlay of US counties extruded based on a population attribute.

County polygons extruded in height based on population.

Create 3D symbols

While you can use the same 2D symbols available for symbolizing graphics in a map view, ArcGIS Runtime provides some specialized symbols for displaying graphics in a scene view. You can display points and lines as 3D shapes or use models to realistically represent real-world objects (such as vehicles).

ArcGIS Runtime provides the following types of 3D-specific symbols. See 3D-specific symbols for more information.

  • Simple marker scene symbols—Cone, Cube, Cylinder, Diamond, Sphere, and Tetrahedron
  • Stroke symbol layer 3D line styles—Strip, Tube
  • Model 3D symbols—Displays a 3D model file

Examples of shape-based and model 3D symbols.