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How To: Convert 2D points to 3D lines using 'from' and 'to' values

Summary

ArcScene and the 3D Analyst extension can be used to convert a 2D point feature class that contains attributes for 'from' and 'to' elevation values to a 3D line feature class.

Note:
For example, this workflow could be used to create a 3D line feature class that depicts wells from a 2D point feature class that represents the surface location of the wells, but contains attributes that represent the surface elevation and depth of the wells.

Procedure

The following workflow requires the 3D Analyst extension and a point feature class containing attributes of 'from' and 'to' elevation values.

  1. Convert the 2D point feature class to a 3D point feature class. This step takes one of the elevation values and incorporates it as the Z value in the 3D point feature class.

    A. Launch ArcToolbox > 3D Analyst Tools > 3D Features > Feature To 3D By Attribute tool.

    B. Select the 2D point feature class as the 'Input Features' and one of the elevation attributes as the 'Height Field'. If one of the elevation attributes represents surface elevation, it would be ideal to use it for the 'Height Field'.
    Note:
    Leave the 'To Height Field' blank.

    C. Click OK to execute the tool and generate a point feature class that now contains a Z-value in addition to X and Y coordinates.
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  2. Add the new 3D point feature class to ArcScene and extrude the points to 3D lines.

    A. Launch ArcScene and add the new 3D point feature class.

    B. Right-click the new 3D point feature class in the Table of Contents and click Properties. Select the Extrusion tab.

    C. Check the 'Extrude features in layer' checkbox.

    D. Specify the elevation attribute, the one not yet used, as the 'Extrusion value or expression' by clicking on the calculator button.

    E. Specify the 'Apply extrusion by' method depending on whether the attribute represents an actual elevation value or the height above/below the surface elevation.
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    F. Click OK to extrude the points to 3D lines.
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  3. Convert the extruded point feature class to a 3D line feature class.

    A. Launch ArcToolbox > 3D Analyst Tools > Conversion > Layer 3D to Feature Class tool.

    B. Select the extruded 3D point feature class from the ArcScene document for the 'Input Feature Layer' using the pulldown menu.
    Note:
    Leave the 'Grouping Field' empty.

    C. Click OK to execute the tool and generate a 3D line feature class.
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