Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to model a 3D scene, showing layers floating above a flat map. Currently, I am able to show the floating layers, but I cannot add the bottommost map layer. I just want to add a "basemap", like ArcMap allows, but none of the files seem to be compatible. Just saving a basemap as a lyr file in ArcMap and importing it in ArcScene does not work, and raster images obtained from the Internet do not line up properly when added to the scene.

I know that the online basemaps that are available in ArcMap do not work in ArcScene. I was wondering if there was any way to add a simple, flat map to a scene in ArcScene?

Otherwise, just a simple US map DEM or something dimensional like that would work. All I really need is a reference for the floating layers. Is there somewhere I can download ArcScene maps?

The illustration below illustrates what I want as my final product: The intended final product

share|improve this question
I suppose you could clip/export the basemap layer to a raster covering your area of interest. Side note, basemap layers DO work in ArcGlobe, but are confirmed to not work in ArcScene. – blah238 Oct 9 '12 at 0:04
@blah238 I have actually tried exporting the portion of the map I need to a JPEG and TIFF, but neither of them appear in the right location, nor appear in the right size in ArcScene. I haven't used the "clip" tool, but just kept the part of the map I needed in the view window. This seems to clip it automatically, but maybe that is where I am wrong... And I know ArcGlobe can use basemaps, but I really need the camera rotation flexibility that ArcScene offers. – N-C Oct 9 '12 at 3:46
I suppose there is ArcGlobe for having such a base layer.. – najuste Oct 9 '12 at 7:39
  • Add basemap to ArcMap
  • Export to jpeg or tiff
  • Add exported jpeg / tiff to ArcMap
  • Georeference the exported image
  • Update Georeferencing!
  • Add georeferenced image to ArcScene
  • Set Base Heigt to constant elevation or float on surface (DEM, TIN)
share|improve this answer
I don't think georeferencing should be necessary, the export or clip functions should maintain the georeferencing automatically. – blah238 Oct 9 '12 at 19:56
Good point. Should work, but only while in DATA VIEW. Options to export georeferencing info are not available when in Layout View. – Jakub Oct 10 '12 at 13:26

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.