2D Buildings to 3D Web Enabled Features

Blog Post created by dkaplan-esristaff Employee on Oct 18, 2016

Recently I have been getting asked by many real estate GIS analysts how to create a thematic 3D display of buildings in a web application for their brokers to help them win real estate deals.  Customers are asking if they need City Engine to do this or not.  You do not need City Engine to do this type of work.  You need ArcGIS Pro to create the data, and to put the data in a web application you need ArcGIS Online.


In ArcGIS Pro you need building footprints with a building height field and using GIS you need to join your building point data attributes to the building footprint polygon feature.  below is a rough workflow that I will go into more detail.


  1. Extrude the data in ArcGIS Pro.
  2. Thematically Map the data via your property data you appended to the building footprints.
  3. Export the building data into what is called a Multipatch
  4. Then process\Cook the data to go into an ArcGIS Web Scene (Esri’s Online Globe)


1. Extrude data in ArcGIS Pro.  A few steps in this process:

First thing you will need is data. You have to acquire a building footprint boundary/polygon file for the area of interest that you have property point data for.  This can come from many of Esri enabled Local and State Government agencies that have enabled an Open Data site for the public to download their GIS data.  Some are hit and miss, but most have some sort of build footprint data set you can find. Other resources may involve purchasing the data from Esri data business partners such as PLW ModelWorks or GeoVille.  

Second, is to bring both your building point data and building footprint data into ArcGIS Pro and perform a "Spatial Join" on the building attributes to the building footprints.


Third, now it's time to extrude your data into 3D.  Drag your building data into the 3D Layers section of the contents panel > on the Appearance Ribbon for the feature layer choose the Min Height Extrusion and set your extrusion field to the building Height field.



2.  Thematically Map the data via your property data you appended to the building footprints.

on the Symbology drop down on the Ribbon choose graduated colors if your mapping volumetric data or Unique values if your color coding other data.


3.  Export the building data into what is called a Multipatch

We have to convert this extruded polygon into a format that can be recognized in our online environment.  Once it's in the correct format we then have to publish it to the ArcGIS Online environment.  First convert data into a Multipatch, I was introduced to the following tool by my co-workers.  Under Analysis on the Ribbon you will find our tools. find the "Layer 3D to Feature Class"  tool. This will convert your extruded polygons into a Multipatch.  See my results below.  The tool only took maybe 10 seconds to run for this data set.



4.  Process\Cook the data to go into an ArcGIS Web Scene (Esri’s Online Globe)

To upload the data to ArcGIS Online we have to package the data up locally on your computer and then share the package to ArcGIS online.

First run the "Create Scene Layer Package" tool depending on how big your Multipatch is will depend on how long this process will take place.

Second run the "Share Package" tool to push this new information to your ArcGIS Online account.


After it uploads to ArcGIS online you will see two items in your My Content section. You can delete the scene layer package and then use the Scene Layer for mapping in Esri's Web Scene viewer as seen below. Deleting the scene layer package will save you memory space in ArcGIS Online.



From hear you can bring in multiple layers and then create slides to create bookmarks.


That is pretty much it.  Enjoy, have fun, hopefully I was able to help you figure this out.