00:01A common problem when working in 3D is that objects, such as building footprints...

00:05...Streets, StreetFurniture points, and Vegetation points, do not sit nicely...

00:10...on top of your Digital Elevation Model.

00:14They sit beneath the surface if you like.

00:18And a number of things can cause this.

00:20First and foremost, you do not have elevation information available for your features...

00:25...or the elevation information is incorrect...

00:28...or the resolution of your surface is simply too low.

00:32Now we've published a 2D to 3D GIS template on the 3D GIS and CityEngine resource...

00:38...centers that can help you turn your 2D features into 3D very quickly.

00:45So the template has four GP tools, and let's have a look at the first one.

00:50Here, we're going to turn out 2D Streets into 3D by running them through...

00:53...the Simplify Line and Interpolate Shape GP tools.

00:59And once we're done, you can see we have beautiful 3D centerlines 3D street centerlines.

01:05And if I compare them with the 2D ones, you can see that now we send them into 3D...

01:13...and we want to do the same for our StreetFurniture and our Vegetation.

01:20So let's do it for the street furniture.

01:22Again, we're using Interpolate Shape to turn them into 3D...

01:25...and using the terrain as the source for our elevation information.

01:30And our ready round is for the vegetation.

01:33And we're done.

01:37We're not completely done because the most important ones to building footprints...

01:41...they are slightly more complicated.

01:44Because we need to find an average point within the extent of each building footprint... derive the elevation information, and then join that information back with the original...

01:54...building footprints and turn them into 3D using the Feature to 3D By Attribute GP tool.

02:00And simultaneously, you were also generating a buffered line around the building footprint...

02:06...that is going to help us really build the features nicely into the terrain later on.

02:13So there you go!

02:14This is the first lot that we did.

02:17And I've already done the second lot, so I can turn them on as well.

02:24But you can see that the 3D building footprints do not nicely sit...

02:29...on the terrain because we used an averaged value within the extent of the building footprint.

02:34So then we're going to use the final GP tool... burn them into the terrain, and what we're doing here is we're taking...

02:45...the building footprint and we're going to hard replace in the area of the footprint.

02:49We're going to change the terrain and we're going to use the...

02:52...3D buffered line around the building footprint to generate a nice bank...

02:57...around the original building footprint.

03:00So let's run it.

03:04So we're using the Edit TIN GP tool.

03:07And then we're going to turn the TIN into a raster.

03:09And we're going to have a look at the final, end result.

03:20So we're going to turn off the 2D feature classes and the original terrain...

03:30...and turn the new terrain show it in 3D...

03:34...using the correct base height and there you have it.

03:37You can see now that these building footprints sit perfectly on the terrain.

03:41And we actually burned them into the terrain with a nice bank.

03:47The fact that you can see flickering here now is actually really good.

03:50It means we have coplanar polygons in the base of these...

03:53...building footprints that sit perfectly onto the terrain.

03:58And finally, what we can do is we can extrude our buildings...

04:02...with an attribute value to have 3D buildings.

04:09So we're doing it for this...

04:11...feature class and we can do it for the other one as well.

04:17And what we can do then with the resulting database is we can load it into our...

04:23...CityEngine Philadelphia example.

04:26And keep on modeling in 3D and designing in 3D.

04:31So there you have it!

04:322D to 3D features using the new template published on the GIS...

04:37...3D GIS and CityEngine Resource Center.

04:40Thank you.

Copyright 2015 Esri
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How to turn your 2D features into 3D and have them sit nicely on a surface

A common issue when working in 3D is that objects such as 3D buildings, streets, and trees do not sit nicely on the terrain surface. We have created a 2Dto3D template for CityEngine version 2011.1 which makes it really easy to turn your 2D feature into 3D based on an elevation surface.

  • Recorded: Dec 9th, 2011
  • Runtime: 04:41
  • Views: 6127
  • Published: Dec 9th, 2011
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Comments  (4)

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I am trying to convert my 2D shapefiles of roads and rivers 3D. Problem is, that error 210 occures. It is not even working on my own DEM and shapefiles neither on sample data from zip archive with toolbox itself.
kubo.bernadic 3 Weeks ago
The tutorial download can be found at this URL
vrojas  (Staff Comment) 2 Years ago
Thank you for submitting your comment. The following information is provided by the CityEngine Team:

That particular workflow has as end result:
- a Geodatabase with GIS features sitting on the elevation model such as building footprints, street center lines and vegetation/street furniture points
- a Geotiff representing the elevation.

In CityEngine, you can then:
- drag and drop the Geodatabase
- drag and drop the Geotiff

Please visit the CityEngine Community for additional information. (

ArcGIS Resource Center Team
vrojas  (Staff Comment) 3 Years ago
Dear Sir,

May I know how can we export this 3D file to CtyEngine? I'm beginner in using CityEngine and don't know how I can do this.

aydaafrooz 3 Years ago
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