I have a DEM and a point feature class with the elevation value from the DEM as an attribute plus with x number of feet added to it representing a tower location.

I would like to do a line of sight analysis in all directions. Essentially, I want to create a buffer of x number of miles around the point layer, then using the DEM, perform a line of sight analysis using that buffer and the DEM to find areas in the DEM that are higher then the value in the point layer.

I have access to ArcMap/Pro with all extensions. I feel like the Observer Points tool is a good start, but it doesn't provide all of the functionality I need. Any ideas on how to accomplish this?


1 Answer 1


You might be looking for the functionality available in the Viewshed Tool.

In your point shapefile, you will need to add two new fields - VERT2 and RADIUS2.

Set the value for VERT2 as 0 - VERT2 controls the vertical angle from which the viewshed will run. By setting the VERT2 to 0 you limit the viewshed to only "look" horizontal and "up" avoiding including any of the DEM below the "eye-line" of the tower. I included this because in the question you state you are looking for the areas which are "higher" than the tower.

Next set RADIUS2 to the buffer distance you want to use. Set this in the linear unit of the map - feet if you working in feet or metres etc.

Your output will be a raster showing you areas where the points may be visible in the landscape.

This should be a good starting point. I am not sure what your output is meant to look like, but this should at least indicate the areas you should focus on.

EDIT: As per the comment below, the document detailing all parameters for the Viewshed Tool is here:

Viewshed Parameters

  • 1
    Yes, I believe viewshed is what I am looking for. I didn't realize there were additional parameters that are set outside of the tool, such as VERT2, etc. For anyone else who might have this question, here is the URL that states all of the parameters that the tool can read from the shapefile: pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/tool-reference/3d-analyst/… Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 2:58
  • @GISGUY52738 Thanks for the link, I have updated the answer. Hope it helps. Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 3:40

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