Is there any way to represent floors in a building using GIS?

(Also, it's stupid that I have to use existing tags cos none suit my question so I had to choose one at random.)

  • 2
    I think the BIM tag is appropriate, see Building Information Modeling. May 17, 2011 at 16:31
  • @cja Welcome to our site! We have learned through experience that people need some familiarity with tags and their workings before they can reliably create new ones. I hope you will continue to contribute great questions and answers so you'll soon have the reputation (and experience) to create tags.
    – whuber
    May 17, 2011 at 17:31
  • 2
    Can you tell us more about what your goal is? Are you looking for a desktop/thick-client presentation or a web experience. And what tools are you looking to use? Or are you looking for suggestions for that.
    – D.E.Wright
    May 17, 2011 at 18:37
  • 1
    Which GIS application are you using? May 17, 2011 at 20:22
  • @Jakub @DEWright I'm using Tatuk in Delphi.
    – cja
    May 19, 2011 at 8:18

4 Answers 4


AutoCAD Map 3D can do floor plans - use it to create 2D and 3D floors - then floors lead to racks (servers) and racks go to device.

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Each level can be pulled out in to reveal floorplans with all the equipment locations.

  • Not sure why this is talking about racks and servers
    – cja
    Jul 2, 2013 at 12:19
  • When dealing with RF Cable and Fibre networks it is very important.
    – Mapperz
    Jul 2, 2013 at 13:56

One method is to create layers for each individual floor. You can turn layers on and off to see the respective floors. It probably would be a good idea to have a separate layer for the external walls or the footprint, which you can use while drawing internal walls at the different levels.

  • I like this answer best cos I understand it. The other answers look like they require some non-standard gis stuff.
    – cja
    May 19, 2011 at 8:08
  • Thanks! Some of my colleagues have created systems that allow routing through multi-storied buildings and I believe they built it on this system.
    – jvangeld
    May 19, 2011 at 15:51

If you just need 2D symbology, simply add an integer numeric field and enter the number of floors in it. You can either use symbology and/or labels to indicate the floor number. If you have access to the 3D analyst, the previous procedure can also be used, but I would use height instead. In this way, you can extrude the building height above a surface getting a fairly useful representation of buildings (sans roof) in a landscape if draped over a DEM.


Some applications will utilize a different map services for each floor, since you often will see enough differences that just toggling a couple layers on or off don't cover what you are looking for.

Sometimes you can store each floor in the same MXD (assuming ESRI is your platoform) and set a bookmark to each area, then you just jump between bookmarks to view the different floor.

So depending on what your user experience is will dictate what direction you want to go; I have done web-apps based on ESRI software that we use different services or layers to switch between the different views. If you are in a desktop/thick-client mode; you can easily switch between different files one for each floor.

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