The web scene

Web scenes are sharable scenes hosted on the ArcGIS Platform. The web scene defines a common standard describing how scenes look and behave. Web scenes allow different applications, APIs and SDKs, to create, edit, and display scene. Web scenes can be used in ArcGIS Online, Story Maps, apps made with the JavaScript API, and many other products.

The web scene specification

The web scene specification:

  • Standardizes the way ArcGIS apps, products, and APIs share scenes.
  • Ensures that scenes authored in one application function properly across all web scene supporting applications.
  • Provides a common standard for applications that create, edit, and consume the web scene specification.

The specification is in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), a text format that can easily be transferred, stored, and edited. The following is the abbreviated JSON format of this full example of a webscene:

{
  "operationalLayers": [
    {
      "id": "15988dea51e-layer-1",
      "opacity": 1,
      "title": "VisualVariable",
      "url": "https://services.arcgis.com/V6ZHFr6zdgNZuVG0/arcgis/rest/services/Accidental_Deaths/FeatureServer/0",
      "visibility": true,
      "layerType": "ArcGISFeatureLayer",
      "itemId": "206699bc813c4b539faf2289bbe44008"
    }
  ],
  "baseMap": {
    "baseMapLayers": [
      {
        "id": "layer0",
        "opacity": 1,
        "title": "World Dark Gray Canvas Base",
        "url": "https://services.arcgisonline.com/arcgis/rest/services/Canvas/World_Dark_Gray_Base/MapServer",
        "visibility": true,
        "layerType": "ArcGISTiledMapServiceLayer"
      }
    ],
    "id": "15988dea917-basemap-18",
    "title": "Dark Gray Canvas",
    "elevationLayers": [ ]
  },
  "version": "1.6",
  "authoringApp": "WebSceneViewer",
  "authoringAppVersion": "5.1.0.0",
  "presentation": {
    "slides": []
  },
  "initialState": {
    "environment": {
      "lighting": {
        "datetime": 1489602390000,
        "displayUTCOffset": -6
      }
    },
    "viewpoint": { }
  },
  "spatialReference": {
    "latestWkid": 3857,
    "wkid": 102100
  },
  "viewingMode": "global"
}

Display, create, & edit web scenes

Web scenes are used across the ArcGIS platform. A scene created in one application is accessible and looks the same in other applications that implement the web scene specification.

Writing applications that include capabilities defined by the web scene specification, such as rendering operational layers, visualizing data, pop-ups, and labeling, can result in a lot of code. Instead, developers use the web scene to reduce development time without compromising flexibility.

For example, the web scene specification defines how to display popups for a layer. Instead of writing custom code to display a popup and having to update that code to change a popup users can configure how they want the popup to be displayed with ArcGIS Online and that change will propagate automatically into all applications consuming that web scene.

Although creating or editing a web scene using a simple text editor can be useful in some situations, an easy way to make or edit a web scene is to use one of the tools available, such as ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. ArcGIS Online is one of the most common tools used to create and share scenes.

Regardless of where/how you create a web scene, it works across the ArcGIS Platform.


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