Improve Site Coordination in ArcGIS GeoBIM by Applying Unique Symbols to Notes

Operations on AEC projects can become very complex. Therefore, it is essential for the entire project ecosystem to always be aware of key features and their geographic location. These features can range from construction machinery, safety equipment, landscaping, and ongoing work areas to name a few. In ArcGIS GeoBIM, the Editor tool allows you to display these key features within the context of your site through Note layers.

The volume of points of interest within active sites can create confusion, especially if there is no distinct difference in their symbology. In the latest release of ArcGIS GeoBIM, you can create your own list of values for Note labels. This allows you to proactively prepare a library of commonly required Location, Line, and Area Notes. Each value in this list can then be given a distinct symbology, providing you with better visualization of your project. This new feature will only apply to projects created after the June 2023 release of ArcGIS GeoBIM.

Apply Custom Symbology

To apply a custom symbology to your Notes layers, complete the following steps:

Create an ArcGIS GeoBIM project and app. To learn the setup process, see the following:

Using the feature service created during your GeoBIM project setup, create lists of values for your Label fields within your Note layers (Figure 1). Select the following link to learn the workflow of creating a list of values in ArcGIS Online:

List of values created for Location Notes within feature service
Figure 1: Create a list of values for your Label field.

Add a ‘Rotation’ field to your Notes layers (Figure 2). This numeric data type will allow for the rotation of your symbols later.

Adding a numeric field type to Location Notes layer
Figure 2: Add a numeric field to the layer for symbol rotation purposes.

Add symbology to your domains by editing their styles based on the Label attribute. Follow the animation below to see an example of adding Custom Symbology to the Location Notes layer of the feature service. Please note it is a current known limitation that the symbols applied to the feature service are not retained when working in GeoBIM, therefore, it is recommended to apply symbology directly to your App Map in Map Viewer instead.

For Location Notes, you can either use pre-existing built-in symbols or upload images as point symbols in Map Viewer.

Delete the Label class for the layer and add it back in again. This step is required as the “Code (stored value)” set for your list of values will initially display for Labels instead of “Label (displayed value)”. By adding a new Label class, this will allow the “Label (displayed value)” to show as the Label. It is a currently known limitation that the “Code (stored value)” field will always be set as the Label for Notes within Scenes.


Editing the symbology of Location Notes via the Visualization tab

Return to ArcGIS GeoBIM, and in your Viewer App, start adding Notes to your project. Choose values from the drop-down list (Figure 3). Your Notes will come into the Map View with the symbology set in ArcGIS Online. Now Notes have a distinct symbology; you may want to turn off the Label in Map View.

Label drop-down menu within GeoBIM's Editor tool shows the list of values created within the feature service.
Figure 3: Choose a value from the drop-down menu.

In ArcGIS Online, open the scene from your ArcGIS GeoBIM project in Scene Viewer. The Location Notes created previously are now visible in Scene Viewer, however, all the symbology is set to default. Edit symbology as desired and move the new Note labels above the Other field to include them in the View.

To add a rotation field to your Notes simply select the numeric data type field you created earlier in the drop-down menu next to Rotation.


Editing 3D symbology and adding rotation field to Location Notes.

Line Notes are limited to one profile in scenes, however, you can make a Layer View of the original feature service and add it to your scene if you need multiple Line profiles (Wall, Tube, Strip, Square) for your project.


If you want to add multiple Line Note profiles, follow these steps:

Adding Line Notes as the layer to include in the View Layer.
Figure 4: Add Line Notes as a layer to to include in the View Layer.
Adding filter expressions for Label field in View Layer.
Figure 5: Add filter expressions to your layers to include only necessary fields.

Open your scene in Scene Viewer and add the Layer View created in the last step to the contents. The Layer View will only contain the layers and expressions set during its creation. Open the Layer View in the Layer Manager and set the custom symbology.

As a result of following these steps, you will have a more visually aesthetic view of your project that is easy to digest and maneuver around (Figures 6 through 8).


A 2D Overview of a project site in GeoBIM. Unique symbology has been applied to the Notes layers.
Figure 6: 2D site overview with custom symbology.
A 3D Overview of a project site in GeoBIM. Unique symbology has been applied to Notes layers.
Figure 7: 3D site overview with custom symbology.
A scene with custom symbology showing Line (fence), Location (Vehicles, Signs, Barriers), and Area Notes (High Activity Area) with custom symbology,
Figure 8: High activity area in scene view.

Known Issues:

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About the author

Eunan is Product Engineer for ArcGIS GeoBIM, joining the team in 2023. After completing his BSc in Earth and Ocean Sciences at the National University of Ireland, Galway, he worked for a number of years in geophysical surveying and project management roles. The emergence of digital project delivery heightened his interest in the built environment and more recently, he attained his MSc in Building Information Modelling and Project Management at Queens University Belfast. His main responsibilities on the ArcGIS GeoBIM team include product testing and improving the integration of GIS and BIM.


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