The Art of the Possible in 3D webinar Q&A

July 31, 2020 Sepideh Sepehr

Thank you to everyone who attended The Art of the Possible in 3D webinar on July 23. It was a great opportunity to provide an overview of the best practices for working with LiDAR and BIM Revit and incorporating 3D data into ArcGIS Urban, ArcGIS Earth and ArcGIS Indoors.

You can access the webinar recording here.

Over the course of the webinar, there were many great questions from our enthusiastic audience. We didn’t have a chance to address all questions live, so as promised, we put together a Q&A that covers the group’s questions.

Tips for working with LiDAR & Revit files

The first portion of our webinar was dedicated to exploring best practices in LiDAR feature extraction and working with Revit files. We also covered the 3D functionalities in ArcGIS Pro that any GIS professional should know when working with 3D contents like Pixel Editorexporting a model to python and using Jupyter notebooks with ArcGIS Pro.

Here are some questions that came up.

Q: Does ArcGIS Pro support terrestrial LiDAR point clouds or only Airborne? ­

A: The supported type of LiDAR in ArcGIS Pro are Airborne and terrestrial files.   

Q: ­Any tips for creating DTM and DSM from UAV point clouds that lack point classifications codes?

A: It is recommended to use the 3D Basemap solution for the UAV point clouds. ArcGIS Pro treats the photogrammetric points as LiDAR. The tools and workflow available in the 3D basemap solution can classify and create ground surfaces. This solution is a task-based workflow that helps you with the classification process. The result will be more accurate when building footprints are available. 

Q: What can we do if in our LiDAR data, the facades and the edge of the roofs of buildings are classified as unassigned?

A: In many cases, LAS files may not be fully or correctly classified when used with ArcGIS Pro and you may need to edit the classification of the LAS points manually. The Classification tab allows you to interactively manipulate the classification conducted on the LAS files of a LAS dataset in a scene. You can quickly change the class codes and classification flags that are currently set on the selected points. The Classification tab for a LAS file or LAS dataset provides interactive editing capabilities for selected points from a 2D map or 3D scene view. You can select points directly in a 3D scene or optionally shift your scene into a side-on viewpoint using profile viewing. You can only edit the classification currently defined in the LAS files referenced by the LAS dataset. All changes are permanent when making any modifications to the classification codes in LAS files. If you are conducting any what-if scenarios or do not want changes to be permanent, make sure to work on a copy of the LAS files and not the originals. ZLAS files cannot be edited. Consider extracting them to LAS files and adding them again to a LAS dataset to edit the classification. This video shows the steps that need to be taken to manually edit the LiDAR classification.

Q: ­Any possibility to add existing imagery/draping onto buildings? ­

A: The Multipatch Texture tool applies a color or an image as a texture to one or more faces of a multipatch feature. Applied textures are saved with the feature. The result is analogous to wrapping patterned paper around a plain white 3D model. This tool is intended for geodatabase multipatch features. Multipatch shapefiles do not support textures and can't be saved with shapefile geometry. Applying a texture applies an image file to the selected faces. You can adjust how the image appears on the selected faces by panning, rotating and zooming the image in the image viewer before applying it to the feature.

Procedural symbology is another method for constructing complex 3D objects and textures from simple geometries to display point, polygon or multipatch features. For example, procedural symbology can be used to render polygon features as seventeenth-century Parisian buildings or multipatch features with rule-based painted textures.

Q: How do you ensure a non-referenced Revit file is in the correct coordinate system?

A: Revit models can be geolocated or georeferenced to be positioned correctly in an ArcGIS map or scene. Georeferencing is the process of spatially adjusting a Revit drawing without changing the original source data. In ArcGIS Pro, this is performed by assigning the proper projection file or using the control link points in the drawing to known geographic coordinates. Once you georeference your dataset or model, it is transformed on the fly in memory, while the source data remains unchanged in the native Autodesk file. Also, a world (.wld3) file which is a text file containing control points that describe a coordinate transformation will be added to the Revit files. To reposition Revit datasets without adding control points, you can use Locate, Move to Display, Move, Rotate and Elevate to Ground. This video shows how you can georeferenced Revit data in ArcGIS Pro.

Sharing 3D Models

A large portion of our webinar was dedicated to how to share scene layers efficiently and then how to implement 3D basemaps in ArcGIS Urban and ArcGIS Earth for orchestrating the urban development lifecycle.

Here are some questions that came up.

Q: Do 3D buildings need to have the same vertical and horizontal unit when publishing? ­

A: No, to publish 3D contents to the cloud, they are not required to have vertical or horizontal units.

Q: ­In ArcGIS Urban, how can we copy a Plan or a Project with its 3D scenarios (including building types and indicators) from one urban model to another? ­

A: Plans are added individually in ArcGIS Urban and are available in the data manager. There is no batch upload for plans. After you create or edit a plan, you can make the scenarios visible in the overview. The scenarios are exported as web scenes and web maps. By publishing scenarios to the overview, a folder is created in your ArcGIS Online account that is named after your plan. Per scenario, a feature layer, a web map and a web scene are exported.

Projects can be added from a spreadsheet or a feature layer and all project data (including projects added to ArcGIS Urban) can be configured in the data manager. By uploading projects as points from a spreadsheet, the underlying parcel is used as the project's study area. If you want to use a custom study area, import projects from a feature layer. After adding your project data, you can now configure each project individually.

You might be interested in additional new functionalities that have been introduced or enhanced with the release of ArcGIS Urban and ArcGIS Earth that we didn’t cover, you can check out these resources for more information.

ArcGIS Indoors & 3D Data

The final section of the webinar was dedicated to ArcGIS Indoors. Here is the question that came up.

Q: ­Is ArcGIS Indoors able to connect seamlessly with BIM data? ­

A: There are a number of formats that I have observed to participate in the BIM modelling world – Civil 3D and Revit mainly. ArcGIS Indoors conversion and import tools (run in ArcGIS Pro) are designed to read CAD data types (DWG, DGN). It is possible to model Revit data as well in Pro, almost as simple as a drag and drop operation into your map - as = shown in the webinar; but this is separate to the Indoors concept and modelling workflows.

To create the ArcGIS Indoors data model (includes 2D and 3D graphic representations of your desired georeferenced building floorplans), you will need to convert your building data to CAD format. Rather than a single step, your conversion workflow would consist of a step at the start, to get your BIM data (whatever format you are working with) into the CAD format. The CAD must also be georeferenced before converting to the Indoors data model. We can do this in ArcGIS Pro if the source DWG does not come with a coordinate system defined.

Thanks again for tuning in for our webinar, consider registering for one of our upcoming webinars

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here

About the Author

Sepideh Sepehr

Sepideh Sepehr is a Technical Solution Specialist on the Esri Canada Technology Adoption team. Having worked at Esri Canada for almost 10 years, her work largely focuses on delivering GIS solutions that enable users to work more productively. Sepideh completed her bachelor’s in GIS from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and did her master’s in architecture from Iran. In her spare time, Sepideh enjoys figurative and classical portrait painting.

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