Add a “Use as ground” entry to the single-band raster layers’ local menu

01-16-2021 03:54 AM
Status: Implemented
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Occasional Contributor II

Please, add a “Use as ground” entry to the single-band raster layers’ local menu (where the “Symbology” and the “Zoom to Layer” is located”). It would be a perfect tool for DEM comparison (creating profiles, detecting LiDAR classification errors, integrating manual geodetic measurements into remote sensing datasets). Now, I have to add the DEM as Ground and then I have to add the DEM itself as a raster layer. It would be easier to add the raster layer and then right-click and select “Use as Ground” or “Add to Ground” or something similar.

The opposite would be also appreciated: having an entry in a Ground or other surface layers local menu saying, “Use as raster layer”.  Alternatively, it could be implemented trough bi-directional drag & drop with Ctrl/Shift/Alt modification key.

This functionality could be introduced into the “Add presets” gallery too: “Add Ground & Raster Layer”.


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Status changed to: Needs Clarification


Can you clarify why you would want a menu option as opposed to dragging and dropping or the Copy/Paste functionality? The menu option requires two clicks whereas the existing drag and drop only requires one click.




Hi @ÁkosHalmai I'm not sure if you saw Andrew's Needs Clarification message so I wanted to ping you.

Is the reason that you're looking for this in the menu that you're working in a 2D Map rather than a Scene, so there is no Elevation Surfaces node until you also add the same raster as an elevation source to the map?


That's my guess, but could you please confirm so that we can re-open this idea if necessary?

Thank you!


Dear @Andrew--Johnson & @KoryKramer ,


My general workflow with DEMs is to tint and hillshade them and finally visualize them in Local Scene—and use the DEM itself as elevation source.

Sometimes, I also used to use the 2D Map with elevation source as @KoryKramer mentioned to draw elevation profiles (not available at the 3D Exploratory Analysis if there is no active elevation source).

Drag & Drop; Copy/Paste functionality:

If you already have a DEM layer in 2D layers (in Local Scene) you can drag & drop the layer into the ground, but in this case the layer is removed from the 2D layers and will be available as ground only. At this point you are not able to drag the layer back from Ground to 2D layers. A right-click drag & drop fuctionality --like in Windows to copy a file--would be nice here. If you are working in 2D Map there is no Ground to drop the layer.

Copy/Paste: If you copy a pre-existing DEM from the 2D layers you are not allowed to paste into the Groud. If you work in 2D there is no Ground. And same for the opposite direction: if you copy an elevation source you won't be able to paste it as a 2D layer.

So the only option today is add the data twice: once for 2D layer and once for elevation--or drag & drop it twice from the catalog, but only in Scene.

But meanwhile I had a better idea: Add a "Layer & Ground" or "Add Layer as Ground" (next to the Ground) option to the "Add Presets" DropDown (at Map/Layers) to immediateley add a DEM both as layer and as groud either for Map or for Scene.

Thank you!

Ákos Halmai

Status changed to: Open

Thank you for the additional details about your workflows on this @ÁkosHalmai 

Status changed to: Under Consideration

thanks for the clarification @ÁkosHalmai I've changed the status to under consideration and will provide updates when I can.


@ÁkosHalmai For the 2D Map, I'm not sure if you're aware but you can add a ground surface to the map using the Add Data > Elevation Source workflow. Also you can convert an empty to scene to a map (View tab > Convert) and that will maintain the ground surface.



Status changed to: In Product Plan

This is in the product plan for the ArcGIS Pro 3.2 release.


@Andrew--Johnson Thank you! I'll look at 3.2 beta at the EAC. 🙂