ArcGIS Online

What's New in Scene Viewer (June 2021)

This release of ArcGIS Online initiates new possibilities for Scene Viewer users.  So far, users have been able to author and visualize scenes that feature a tremendous volume of 3D content streamed performantly over the web.  Scene Viewer users have been able to interact with that data through navigation and interactive analysis tools, and they’ve been able to produce applications and experiences with those authored scenes.  This release presents a major milestone for Scene Viewer users: editing point, line and polygon feature layers.  We’ve also added improvements to the user interface, the ability to author layer pop-ups, and the ability to save styling and pop-ups authored in Scene Viewer to your scene layers.

Designer Bar

So much of what makes 3D Web GIS approachable to the larger GIS community is that it’s supported by a large user base and their investment in familiar patterns in ArcGIS.  It’s one of the reasons we’ve incorporated Map Viewer user interface elements into Scene Viewer.   The ‘Designer Bar’ is a dark grey expandable set of icons on the left where users can access scene layers, slides and scene properties when signed in.  Much of the user interface in the Designer Bar should be familiar as it activates features (Layers, Slides, Properties, Save) that have the same functionality as in previous releases.

Editing in Scene Viewer

You’ll find a completely new feature in the Designer Bar when a user adds an editable feature layer to the scene.  An Edit icon now appears and can be activated to present the edit user interface. The Edit dialog presents a snapping user interface, and the feature layer’s edit template.  When the edit dialog is activated, you’re able to either select and edit existing editable features, or you can begin creating new features in the scene.

3D Polygon Editing
Editing of polygon feature layer in Scene Viewer.

A few helpful tips:

3D Line feature layer editing within a Building Scene Layer.


Snapping is available in a traditional sense for points, lines and polygons, and the user can select features that they can snap to in the snapping user interface.  While drawing lines and polygons, you may also notice snapping guides to help a user draw parallel or perpendicular lines from snapping layers and sketched features.  This can be very helpful for drawing features like building footprints, and snapping also helps ensure that the features being drawn have the appropriate topological connection to other features.

Snapping for perpendicular and parallel lines.

Feature Transform and Vertex editing

Once line or polygon features have been added, they are editable with new editing handles.  With the “Click feature to edit” tool active, a single click on an editable line or polygon feature presents feature transform handles, and a second click on the feature presents a vertex editing handles.

Feature transformation allows a feature to be rotated, moved, scaled, and for the entire feature’s Z value to be changed.

Transform feature layers.

Vertex editing allows a feature to be moved, and for the entire feature’s Z value to be changed.  Vertices can be moved individually with larger orange spheres signifying their handles.  Not only can vertices be moved horizontally, but the orange arrow allows the vertex to be moved vertically.  Smaller orange spheres between vertices enable a user to add a new vertex.

Vertex editing.

Point feature layers symbolized with 3D webstyles can also be added and edited.  When the 3D webstyle refers to attributes for height and rotation, there are handles to place, scale and rotate the 3D webstyle.  This is useful for placing assets and trees like the example below.  You can also add your own 3D models into ArcGIS as 3D webstyles.

Sizing point feature layer symbolized with a 3D webstyle within LiDAR data.

While this is exciting and new to see web editing in a new way, this is a reminder that feature layers are feature layers.  Feature layer data in a 3D GIS is not something so extraordinary that it exists outside of GIS workflows.   Whether they’re edited in 2D or 3D, feature layers are accessed and managed with the same patterns learned in ArcGIS.  Scene Viewer presents new ways of symbolizing and contextualizing feature layers, but Map Viewer can consume the same features for a 2D view of that data. This makes the prospect of a simultaneous 3D and 2D view of feature layer data feasible through apps like Experience Builder and the 3D Viewer Instant app.

Pop-up authoring

Another feature added to Scene Viewer is the ability to author pop-ups for feature layers and scene layers.  The capability is identical to Map Viewer, where users can add a fields list, chart, image or text elements.  This makes the pop-up authoring experience much more approachable, and understandable pop-ups are encouraged as a best practice.

Save Layer

Scene layers can be styled to reflect certain attributes, to visualize points with 3D symbology, and also to make a choice for how point clouds are depicted.  Also, now with pop-up authoring, there’s a lot of potential visualization capability that can be authored directly into a scene layer.  Now users can save the styling and pop-up choices right into the scene layer with “Save Layer”, accessible on the layer options.  Users must be the owner of the scene layer to be able to save authoring choices into the scene layer.

We hope that you are as excited as we are to begin editing feature layers in Scene Viewer.  Even though this is an initial release of 3D editing on the web, there is a lot of potential for how this capability will continue to grow and be incorporated into new workflows.  With this new features, traditional GIS users and 3D-first users will find and grow familiar patterns of use and adoption for workflows.

About the author

Philip is the 3D Web Experience Product Manager at Esri, working to understand customer requirements and apply forward-looking perspective for how we solve problems together with 3D GIS. Having served as an ecologist, crime analyst, GIS Supervisor and CIO, Philip is a 20 year veteran of leveraging GIS to create daily efficiencies and develop long term vision. Philip makes music, reconditions old VW's and plays with his daughters in his not-so-quiet time.

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