Can I create a DEM from a TIN

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07-10-2015 03:14 PM
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New Contributor

Is it possible to create a DEM from a TIN? If so, how? I'm using ArcMaps 10.2.2. Thanks

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Esri Esteemed Contributor

Try the TIN To Raster (3D Analyst) tool. You will need access to the 3D Analyst extension

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New Contributor

Okay, great, done! So what next?

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Frequent Contributor

Thats it.

Since your TIN is derived from elevation data, the raster values are elevation values, so thats a DEM.

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Esri Esteemed Contributor

The raster you created from the TIN will probably be the DEM (Digital Elevation Model) and allows for many different spatial analysis. What other tasks do you set? Or in other words, what do you want to achieve?

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New Contributor

Well I was hoping to get something a little more detailed. But then again, I've only got 146 points that I obtained using a differential GPS. What I've got now does resemble the mountain I've surveyed, but it is lacking in detail. I do intend to go back out and take more points. I assume this will give me more detail. Yes?   I created a TIN and it seems to be more detailed. Essentially what I'm doing is creating a 3-D map of this mountain in Peru where some archaeologists are excavating. This professor wants me to create a DEM of the excavation site, but the more I read into it, it seems that a TIN may be the better option. What she is going to want is detail, as much as I can get. I'm just a student, so I'm still learning this, so please bear with me. But a TIN would be a form of DEM in essence, no? I mean it is showing relief, it's three dimensional, so I imagine either would be good for the project, it's just a matter of what is more presentable I suppose. Any thoughts? Once again, thanks.

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MVP Honored Contributor

The DEM  (or TIN) will be as detailed as you make it. The more points you collect, the more it has to work with.The interpolation method you choose can make very minor guesses how to behave around your points, but it won't be able to make dramatic new features.

Have you considered a LiDAR flight? Whether or not that's feasible in your area or with your budget, I don't know, but for the money it takes to send a human with a GPS you can collect several million elevation points, not to mention other benefits like time, safety, etc.

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Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi Ian Felland ,

I think it would be wise to ask your professor what the purpose of the DEM will be. With that information we can explore the possibilities. To learn a little more on DEM's and how they are created (different sources, etc), I have a presentation on slideshare: Digital Elevation Models - WUR - Grontmij

The raster (DEM) is the result of placing a grid of pixels on top of the TIN and define the elevation for each pixel. Obviously there are many factors that influence this process (size of the cells), but naturally the precision of the source TIN as well. Collecting more points will probably result in a more detailed result. To achieve this, it is important that the points are located at representative locations.

A while ago worked with another GeoNet member on a case related to Modeling Archaeological Layers . This might be interesting for you.

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