I have LAS data. I have made a DEM from the LAS points. I have a Z-enabled polygon feature representing building footprints.

Somehow I need to incorporate the height of the buildings into my DEM so that I can do an analysis to see what portion of the ground behind the building is not visible from my observer point.

I have attached an image showing the LAS data as elevation along with the line work representing the buildings and the observer point.

How do I perform a view shed analysis in ArcGIS Desktop and incorporate the proposed buildings? elevation and building outlines

  • 1
    Did you try converting your proposed building polygons to raster with your z-values as the raster values and then adding it to your LAS DEM?
    – user90323
    Sep 17, 2018 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


You can convert your buildings with the height data into a raster, add this new raster to your DEM, and then perform your viewshed analysis with the resulting raster.

Suppose the values in the polygons below are your building heights.

enter image description here

Then, converted to raster using the Polygon to Raster tool.

enter image description here

Then, with the Raster Calculator tool sum the two, DEM + Building Heights and the resulting raster includes data from both of your data sets. enter image description here

Notice how you can see the cell value variation in the building outlines. This is the influence of the values from the DEM raster.

  • How do I convert buildings with the height data into a raster? Is there a tool?
    – user105446
    Sep 17, 2018 at 16:11
  • Yes, its named Polygon to Raster in the Conversion Tools>To Raster toolset.
    – reevesii
    Sep 17, 2018 at 16:14
  • I converted the polygon to raster, but there is no Z information in the new raster. How does the Z information get added to the new raster?
    – user105446
    Sep 17, 2018 at 16:43
  • There is a Value Field option in the tool. You must select the field in your proposed building feature class that has the z information for this input.
    – reevesii
    Sep 17, 2018 at 16:46
  • Thank for the help! It looks like this will work. Note that it's important to keep track of units. My building heights were in feet while my rasters were in meters. So before converting polygon to raster the heights must be converted to meters.
    – user105446
    Sep 17, 2018 at 18:19

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