Provide Z Tools similar to Route Editing tools

11-13-2011 07:57 PM
Status: Under Consideration
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MVP Honored Contributor

For editing lines with Z values and possibly polygon boundaries with Z values in ArcMap, ArcScene and ArcGlobe, provide editing capabilities similar to those found on the Route Editing Toolbar and Route Measure Editng Context Menu options available for Linear Referencing.  The Route Editing Toolbar allows the editor to Define a Line portion between verticies, which would be useful for lines and polygon boundaries.  The context menu works on the entire feature of on the defined line portion.  The Route Measure Editing options that seem applicable to Elevation Editing include:

Insert Vertex at Z... - Enter an elevation value and have a vertex inserted at that elevation along the line (multiple verticies could be created if the line goes up and down above and below that elevation, but if the line holds constant at that elevation or already has a vertex at that elevation for a given portion of the line no new vertex would be inserted).  This could be very useful in defining vertical snapping planes between existing features that new features could follow.

Apply Factor - Apply a unit conversion factor to the entire feature or just a portion of the feature.  While this most obviously allows for conversions between different unit types, used creatively with the opther options listed here this could allow for the creation of vertical bowing or curving (power line sags or overpass vertical curves) by manipulating only 3 or 4 points.

Offset - Add a set unit value to a feature or portion of a feature - This would maintain the existing elevation profile but raise or lower it by a specified amount.

Interpolate Value - While Z does not have NaN values like M, it does default to an elevation 0 for new features or the user may have set a constant elevation where they really want values to be reintepolated between other known elevations.  This option would allow a user to enter an elevation value (typically 0) and have those values on the feature or portion of the feaure interpolated to fall between the elevations with other values on either side of those vertices.

Set From/To - This tool reports the elevation at the ends of the feature or the portion of feature selected and allows the user to reset the ends and cause interpolation to occur on all vertices between.  Two interpolation options exist with this menu choice.  The default does not preserve the existing elevation schema and interpolates a straight line elevation between the two end points (based on 2D segment lengths).  The other option preserves the elevation schema and maintains relative elevation increases and decreases between the two ends, but adjusts them by the differential factor to stay proportionate between the two new end elevations.

I do not think that the Set as Distance, Drop Measures and Set Direction as M options are transferrable to Elevation editing, but if someone thinks that they are I am willing to be corrected.  Polygon boundaries would have to enforce rules to ensure closure if they could be edited in this way, but I believe it is possible to apply these editing tools to their boundaries as well.

See the help here for illustrations of how the ideas above apply to editing Measure values:

An illustration of what I would like is below:


Actually, now that I think about it the Drop Elevations would be useful in conjunction with the other tools to set up a reinterpolation of a portion of the line and would avoid having to switch to the Sketch Properties Window to do it with the Z button.  The Set Direction as Z also would be useful to make the line orient to the overall Elevation increase or decrease as specified by the user (however, this option could not apply to polygon boundaries).
tools like this could be potentially very useful for mining users mapping subsurface geology, drillholes and underground mine workings
This idea seems similar to the Production Z Management toolbar available with the Production Mapping extension.  See: 

Some of this functionality is also available without the extension by using the Sketch Properties dialog while editing in 3D.  See:
The Production Mapping Z management seems to be missing the "Interpolate" option, which I also would find very useful. Editing unlikely Z values often implies interpolating between the adjacent vertices, when no adequate functional surface is at hand.

But anyway, I think improving the Production Z Management features is the way to go, instead of introducing partly overlapping, partly new functionality.

Editing one vertex at a time is exactly what I want to avoid doing through the Sketch properties dialog, so that is not an option.

The Production Mapping Z management could be improved, but needs to deal with subselections of lines and boundaries independent of a surface and to create custom sloped vertice arrangements to meet my needs.  Improving that interface would be fine, but only if it aims at the abilities I am proposing.  I consider what I see in the help currently to be too limited, even if Interpolation was added.

Status changed to: Under Consideration