The elevation surface in a 3D scene blocks some features

Last Published: October 22, 2020


When creating a new project in ArcGIS Pro, the default basemap may be removed to simulate the experience of ArcMap or ArcScene.

When any basemap is turned off in a scene, what remains is a 'grey globe', called the elevation surface, which is like a blank basemap. However, the elevation surface may block some features and prevent analysis.


Features may be blocked by the elevation surface in a 3D scene because those features contain negative elevations.

At this time, ArcGIS Pro does not function like ArcScene, where the features underneath the surface are visible by default.

Solution or Workaround

To view blocked features, use the following procedures until the desired effect is achieved.

Switch the view from 'Global' to 'Local'
Local view is used for smaller extent content in a projected coordinate system, or cases where the curvature of the Earth is not necessary.

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro.
  2. Click the VIEW tab in the main ribbon.
  3. Click Local under the View pane.
Image of Local in the View tab.

Allow below-ground navigation

  1. On the Contents pane, click Ground under Elevation Surfaces.
Image of Ground under Elevation Surfaces in the Contents pane.
  1. Click the Appearance tab on the menu ribbon, and check the Navigate Underground checkbox.
Image of the Navigate Underground checkbox in the Surface tab of the Appearance ribbon.
  1. Click and hold down the scroll button on the mouse to orient the scene and view below-ground data.

Remove the elevation source (ground surface)

On the Contents pane, right-click the elevation source and click Remove to delete it. The feature is now visible.

Image of Remove after right-clicking the elevation source in the Contents pane.

Article ID:000012580

  • ArcGIS Pro 1 x

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