Take your maps into the third dimension: Learn GIS concepts and tools to visualize, analyze, and interpret spatial data in 3D. Reveal patterns that can lead to better decision making.


There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Estimated 4 weeks
3–5 hours per week
Progress at your own speed

About this course

Skip About this course

Maps are graphic representations of reality and help us understand and navigate the world around us. Maps can incorporate third dimension through contours, hillshading (3D modeling), and profile views.

In this course you will learn fundamentals of third dimension (3D) GIS concepts and tools to visualize, analyze, and interpret geospatial data in 3D, enabling you to reveal patterns and relationships for more effective problem-solving and decision making.

When the data include the third dimension, ArcGIS Scene allows us to navigate through the data in 3D space. This makes the data and the problem more understandable and reveals new visual insights. Visualizing and processing the data in 3D allows us to include real-world elements in the analysis such as undulation of terrain and 3D extent of trees, building, and subsurface geology.

Our world is three dimensional and many GIS applications now require 3D analysis. Esri’s ArcGIS Scene allows us to visualize data on a world sphere. It provides a variety of tools for orientation, navigation, search, data preparation, building workflows and spatial analysis.

3D mapping and visualization is used in a variety of industries and academic disciplines:

  • Monitoring forest stand height and age
  • Volumetric analysis of resource extraction from a mine or water level in a reservoir
  • Watershed delineation to assess inundation risk, land management, environmental monitoring

At a glance

  • Institution: AlaskaX
  • Subject: Data Analysis & Statistics
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:

    GIS1x: Geographic Information System (GIS) Foundations is highly recommended and precedes this course in the edX GIS Professional Certificate.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • How to display and navigate 3D data in ArcGIS Scene
  • How to edit and process 3D feature data
  • How to carry out volumetric analysis
  • How to display and process 3D raster (DEM: Digital Elevation Model) data
  • Viewshed and solar radiation analysis
  • Watershed mapping and delineation using DEM
  • Create 3D visualization and presentations

Week 1: 3D GIS Introduction

  • What is 3D GIS?
  • Introduction to ArcGIS Scene
  • 3D data types (file formats: 3D features, DEM, TIN)
  • Editing 3D features
  • 3D Feature Analysis
  • 3D Tips and Tricks (Best practices)

Week 2: 3D Raster Analysis

  • Digital Elevation Model (LiDAR, SfM, Topomap)
  • Difference between DSM, DTM, DEM
  • DEM processing (slope and aspect)
  • 3D Application (Tree height from LiDAR)
  • Solar Radiation and visibility analysis

Week 3: Watershed Delineation

  • Watershed
  • Preparing DEM for watershed analysis
  • Delineate watershed from DEM (compare to a real river)

Week 4: 3D Visualization

  • 3D Visualization in ArcGIS Scene
  • Make a 3D presentation (Terrain and Surface Visualization)
  • Urban visualization

About the instructors