I received a XYZ file from my local provider. I need to translate this file into a visual height map from where I can easily read the height values for a specific point or area(resolution 1m). I need do to this because we have to check if the surrounding area of our airfield is free of obstacles.

How do I display the height on a 2D map in ArcGIS Desktop?

The resolution of the XYZ file is 1m per point and the file looks like this snippet:

3497000.000 5422000.000 232.060
3497001.000 5422000.000 231.105
3497002.000 5422000.000 230.518
3497003.000 5422000.000 230.272
3497004.000 5422000.000 230.280
3497005.000 5422000.000 230.421
3497006.000 5422000.000 230.582
3497007.000 5422000.000 230.701
3497008.000 5422000.000 230.744
3497009.000 5422000.000 230.730
3497010.000 5422000.000 230.682
3497011.000 5422000.000 230.628
3497012.000 5422000.000 230.589
3497013.000 5422000.000 230.564
3497014.000 5422000.000 230.551
3497015.000 5422000.000 230.543
3497016.000 5422000.000 230.533

The epsg coordinate nr is 31463.

  • Do you have arcgis-10.0 and arcgis-10.3 available to use?
    – artwork21
    Apr 12, 2016 at 13:10
  • I have the latest arcgis pro (1.1.0) and arcgis desktop 10.3
    – binloan
    Apr 12, 2016 at 13:15
  • I don't have access to ArcGIS but QGIS reads XYZ files as rasters. If you do a find and replace with a text editor swapping the spaces for commas and add "x,y,z" as the first line you could use the file like a vector point grid but bear in mind the coordinate may relate to the corner of a pixel rather than the centre.
    – Sethinacan
    Apr 12, 2016 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


Taking that raw file, you can ingest it into ArcGIS using the basic "Add XY data" function. This will let you define which columns are Latitude and Longitude and Z value along with the coordinate system the data is in.

Once you have points there are a few options to meet your requirement for easily viewing height values:

  1. Simply label each of the points by their Z value, providing a text display of data. This is done via right-click context menu to the layer's Properties and then the Label tab. Select the Z attribute to display each point's height, adjust the label symbology to be easiest for you to read.
  2. If you have access to Spatial Analyst or 3D Analyst extensions, a second option is to take the Point layer created above and convert to a Raster. This is done through the "Point to Raster(Conversion)" tool. This may require converting the XY layer into a feature class, which can simply be an export to shapefile.

Hopefully one of these satisfies your needs, it sounds like the first option might be the fastest and easiest for what you want.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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