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Creating 3-D maps in ArcGlobe - a Grand Canyon fly through: Home

Step by step processes for importing digital elevation maps using the three sources of GDEM ASTER data.

Making a 3-D map in ArcGlobe

To create 3d visualization that allows you to fly through the terrain and simulate the image that an actual observer on the ground will see, use ArcGlobe.  It is similar to Google Earth but allows you to import high resolution elevation maps and drap any desired ground image or map on the surface.

   1. Open ArcGlobe

   2. Import a background image such as the ESRI World Imagery layer

   3. The website "Where Can I Get Global Elevation Data?" shows how to download DGEM files.

   4. Click the Add data icon and navigate to the extracted DGEM tiff file downloaded from USGS.  This example uses files from the Grand Canyon area.  

   5.  Import the data file.

   6. You may be asked if you want to create pyramids.  Respond yes.

       build pyramids

 7. ArcGlobe will ask if this file contains a background image or elevation data.  Pick “Use this layer as elevation source” and click “Finish”.

       Add Data

 8. If you click the checkmark for displaying the elevation layer on and off repeatadly, and the elevation is high enough, you will be able to see the area move as the elevation data is applied.


  9. Select the “Navigate” icon


   10. Click on the map and move the mouse up.  The background will tilt.


11. Using the Navigate and Pan tools, along with the scroll wheel, left and right buttons, move the map to a perspective that conveys your message.


12. The “fly” icon will allow a zooming motion that can be used to soar through the canyon.




      • Left clicking will accelerate

      • Right clicking will slow then pause the motion.

  13.  In the customize menu, select toolbars and then animate


  14. In the animation toolbar, select “open animation controls”


   15. Clicking on the record button allows a flythrough animation to be recorded.

  16. The recording can be saved from the animation toolbar as a file that can be played back in ArcGlobe.

   17. The recording can also be exported as a video file that can be played in media players.


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Except where otherwise indicated, original content in this guide is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license. You are free to share, adopt, or adapt the materials. We encourage broad adoption of these materials for teaching and other professional development purposes, and invite you to customize them for your own needs.