How To: Create TIN triangles from contour lines
Triangulated irregular networks (TIN) are a form of vector-based digital geographic data constructed by triangulating a set of vertices. The connection of the vertices with a series of edges forms a network of triangles. TIN surfaces can be created from vector data, raster data, and terrain datasets.
The instructions provided describe how to create TIN triangles from contour lines.
A 3D Analyst license is required to use the tools mentioned in the instructions below.
- In the Catalog window, open the Create TIN tool by navigating to Toolboxes > System Toolboxes > 3D Analyst toolbox > Data Management > TIN > Create TIN.
- Ensure the data being created are aligned. Select the appropriate coordinate system by clicking the button next to the Coordinate System text box.
- Select the contour layer as the Input Feature Class.
- Select the field containing the elevation values for the Height Field.
- Select Mass_Points for the SF Type.
- Check the Constrained Delauney check box, and click OK.
The TIN data is displayed in the map.
By using the constrained Delauney triangulation, the breaklines are not densified, and each breakline segment is added as a single edge.
- In the Catalog window, open the TIN Triangle tool by navigating to Toolboxes > System Toolboxes > 3D Analyst Tools > Conversion > From TIN > TIN Triangle.
- Click the Input TIN drop-down arrow, and select a TIN layer as the input. Click OK. The TIN triangles are displayed in the map.
- ArcGIS Help: Fundamentals of creating TIN surfaces
- ArcGIS Help: Create TIN
- ArcGIS Help: TIN Triangle
- ArcGIS Help: What is a TIN surface?