Get set up and prepare the scene

You'll start by preparing everything you need in ArcGIS Pro, then you'll find the location for the De Zalmhaven complex project in the scene, and hide from sight two old buildings that will be demolished to make space for the project.

Download the data and open the web scene

First, you will download the BIM data you'll use in the lesson. Then you'll start ArcGIS Pro and load the 3D web scene representing the city center of Rotterdam.

  1. Download the De_Zalmhaven_complex.zip compressed folder on your computer.
    Note:

    Depending on your web browser, you may be prompted to choose a file location before you begin the download. Most browsers download to your computer's Downloads folder by default.

  2. Locate the downloaded De_Zalmhaven_complex.zip file, right-click it and extract the content to a location of your choice, such as your Documents folder.

    Next, you'll start ArcGIS Pro.

  3. Start ArcGIS Pro. If prompted, sign in using your licensed ArcGIS account.
    Note:

    If you don't have ArcGIS Pro or an ArcGIS account, you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial.

  4. Under New, click Start without a template.

    Start without a template option

    You will now open a web scene representing the city center of Rotterdam in ArcGIS Pro.

  5. On the ribbon, on the View tab, in the Windows group, click Catalog Pane.

    Catalog Pane button

  6. In the Catalog pane, click Portal and ArcGIS Online. In the search box, type Rotterdam City Center owner:Learn_ArcGIS and press Enter.

    Click Portal and ArcGIS Online.

  7. In the list of results, right-click the Rotterdam City Center web scene and choose Add And Open.

    Add And Open option

    After a few moments, the 3D scene appears.

    Initial scene

    You will use it as the backdrop for the De Zalmhaven complex buildings.

    Note:

    You can also view that web scene in your web browser, where it is accessible to everyone. To learn how to create such scenes, see the Create a web scene to support construction planning lesson.

  8. In the Contents pane, review the layers that compose the Rotterdam City Center scene.

    Contents pane

    Besides the basemap and ground layers, the scene includes several feature layers, such as Buildings, Bridges, and Trees. You'll explore the scene to familiarize yourself with it.

  9. In the scene, above the Navigator wheel, click Show full control.

    Show full control button

    The Navigator wheel expands to include 3D navigation functionality.

  10. Use the middle Navigator wheel to tilt and rotate the scene. You can also use the mouse wheel button to zoom in and out, and you can press the left mouse button and drag to pan.

    Middle navigation wheel

    Tip:

    To learn more about the options for 3D navigation, see Navigation in 3D.

  11. Zoom in and move through the scene to observe it.

    The different layers come together to create an engaging, informative cityscape. You'll now save the project to the same folder where your BIM data is stored.

  12. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click Save.
  13. In the Save Project As window, browse to the extracted De_Zalmhaven_complex folder and select it. Click OK.

In this section, you downloaded BIM data, opened a 3D web scene in ArcGIS Pro and saved the project.

Find the site for the De Zalmhaven complex

You will now find the site for the planned De Zalmhaven complex within the scene. You'll do that with the Locate tool.

  1. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Inquiry group, click Locate.

    Locate button

  2. In the Locate pane, in the Search box, type the address Vasteland 12G, 3011 BL Rotterdam, Netherlands and press Enter.

    Locate pane

    The scene zooms in to the A address. This is a good match for the location of the future De Zalmhaven complex, so you will keep that default result.

    Note:

    You might not see the A marker, because it is hidden by a building.

  3. If necessary, use the middle Navigator wheel to tilt the scene until you see the A marker.
  4. Zoom out a bit until you approximately see the same view as in the following example image.

    De Zalmhaven complex project location

    The De Zalmhaven complex will be built at the location marked with the large yellow oval shape, left of the A marker.

  5. Close the Locate pane.

In this section, you found the location for the planned De Zalmhaven complex in the scene.

Hide the old buildings

At the location of the future De Zalmhaven complex, there are currently two old buildings displaying. You will hide the old buildings to make space for the new ones. First, you must find the IDs of the two buildings.

  1. Click the first building to display its informational pop-up, and write down its ObjectID value (136753) for later use.

    First old building and its pop-up

    Note:

    If the pop-up does not display, on the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Navigate group, expand the Explore down arrow, and ensure the Topmost Layer option is selected.

    Topmost Layer option

  2. Close the pop-up.
  3. Similarly, obtain the ObjectID value for the second building (137392), and close the pop-up.

    Second old building and its pop-up

    Next, you will form a query with those two building IDs to exclude them from the display.

  4. In the Contents pane, right-click the Buildings layer and choose Properties.

    Properties menu option

  5. In the Layer Properties: Buildings window, choose Definition Query, and click New definition query.

    New definition query button

  6. Under Query 1, form the query Where OBJECTID does not include the value(s) 136753, 137392.

    Formed query

  7. Click Apply and click OK.

    The scene refreshes and redraws without the two buildings.

    The buildings are hidden.

    Note:

    The two buildings are only removed from sight in your ArcGIS Pro project. They are not removed from the original web scene.

  8. Press Ctrl+S to save the project.

Now that the two old buildings are hidden, you are ready to start geolocating one of the digital building models for the future De Zalmhaven complex.


Geolocate a digital building model

You'll focus on a digital model that represents a high-rise building in the De Zalmhaven complex. After inspecting the digital model, you'll add coarse location information to it. Then you'll display it within the scene and proceed to geolocate it more precisely.

Inspect the digital building model

You'll inspect the structure of the digital model.

  1. If necessary, on the ribbon, on the View tab, in the Windows group, click Catalog Pane.
  2. In the Catalog pane, click Project. Expand Folders > De_Zalmhaven_complex > DigitalModels > Building_1_HR.

    ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18.ifc is the digital model itself.

    Structure of the first digital model

    Note:

    If the DigitalModels folder doesn't display, right-click De_Zalmhaven_complex and choose Refresh.

    Building_1_HR_Solution contains the same high-rise building as Building_1_HR, but already geolocated. You can use it as a solution to this lesson, if necessary.

    Building_2_MR contains a second building model, a mid-rise, that you will use later in the lesson.

  3. Expand ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18.ifc.

    List of disciplines

    The ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18.ifc digital model is organized into several disciplines: Architectural, Electrical, Mechanical, Piping, and Structural.

  4. Expand some of the disciplines to explore them.

    List of categories

    Each discipline is composed of categories. For instance, the Architectural discipline contains categories such as Chimneys, Doors, Roofs, and Walls.

    Note:

    A digital model is usually created in the native Revit or IFC formats using BIM software. In ArcGIS, it is then imported as a workspace where the disciplines are represented as datasets, and the categories as feature classes. To learn more about the BIM workspace, see BIM files as a BIM file workspace.

    You'll now verify that the high-rise model is not yet geolocated.

  5. Click the arrow next to ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18.ifc to collapse it back.
  6. Right-click ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18.ifc and choose Properties.

    Properties option

  7. In the File Properties: ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18.ifc window, on the General tab, expand Spatial Reference and World File Transformation.

    Spatial reference and transformation information

    Spatial Reference is set to Unknown Coordinate System. To be geolocated, the digital model needs coordinate system information provided in a .prj file. That information is currently not present.

    World File Transformation is set to No world file transformation. To be geolocated, the digital model also needs coordinate transformation information, usually stored in a 3D world file (.wld3). This information is used to determine how the position of the digital model should be moved and rotated within the assigned coordinate system. That information is currently not present either.

    The high-rise model does not have any of the information needed to be geolocated.

    Note:

    To learn more about these and other properties of digital models, see BIM data file properties.

Now that you learned about the high-rise model and verified that it is not geolocated, you will start the geolocation process.

Add coarse location information to the digital model

You will assign a coordinate system to the high-rise model and add coarse location information to it.

  1. In the File Properties: ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18.ifc window, click the Validate Position tab.

    Validate Position tab

    Here again, you can verify that there is No coordinate system assigned. The web scene uses the national Dutch coordinate system RD New, so you will assign the same coordinate system to the high-rise model.

    Note:

    The 3D scene and the digital model should always be in the same coordinate system to avoid having to reproject the data on the fly, which would slow down the scene display.

    When working with your own data, you need to select a coordinate system commonly used in your region. Because you want to enable precise measurement, you should choose a projected coordinate system that preserves distances. To learn more about projections, see Choose the right projection.

  2. Click Assign Coordinate System.

    Assign Coordinate System button

  3. In the Assign Coordinate System window, in the search box, type RD New and press Enter.

    Search for RD New.

  4. Under XY Coordinate Systems Available, expand Projected Coordinate System > National Grids > Europe. Click RD New and click OK.

    Select RD New.

    After a few moments, the Validation Position tab updates to reflect the coordinate system assignment.

    RD New is now assigned.

    However, ArcGIS Pro still doesn't know where to locate the high-rise model within the assigned coordinate system. You will provide a street address near the location, to position the model approximately.

  5. Under No project address found in this model, click Suggest Location.

    Suggest Location button

  6. In the Suggest Location window, in the Search box, type the address Vasteland 12G, 3011 BL Rotterdam, Netherlands and press Enter. Accept the A option address.

    This is the one that best matches the planned high-rise location.

    Address for coarse location

  7. Click OK.

    The address is now listed as the suggested location for the high-rise.

  8. Under Suggested location is Vasteland 12G, 3011 BL Rotterdam, click Transform to Suggested Location.

    Transform to Suggested Location button

    The building's coordinates are automatically moved and rotated to be positioned at the suggested location. This transformation information is stored in a new 3D world file (.wld3).

    After a few moments, the Validation Position tab updates, informing you that now the Model extent is within the coordinate system's area of use and that The model is at the suggested location.

    The model is now at the suggested location.

  9. Click OK.

    You will check that the .prj and .wld3 auxiliary files have been created.

  10. On your computer, open a Windows Explorer window, and browse to De_Zalmhaven_Complex > Digital Models > Building_1_HR.

    You can see the newly created .prj and .wld3 auxiliary files.

    Newly created .prj and .wld3 auxiliary files

  11. Close the Windows Explorer window and go back to ArcGIS Pro.

In this section, you assigned a coordinate system to the high-rise model, and you added coarse location information to it, based on a street address. It is now time to display the building within the scene.

Add the digital model and control points to the scene

You will now add the high-rise model to the scene to refine its geolocation. However, instead of adding the complete model, with its many disciplines and categories, you will only add one single category for easier manipulation. You'll choose the Slabs category, which outlines the floors and it is easy to interpret.

Note:

Alternatively, the Walls category could also be considered for this purpose.

  1. In the Catalog Pane, expand Folders > De_Zalmhaven_complex > DigitalModels > Building_1_HR> ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18.ifc > Architectural.
  2. Right-click Slabs, and choose Add To Current Map.

    Add To Current Map menu option

    After a few moments, the Slabs multipatch feature class appears in the scene.

    The building appears in the scene.

    As expected, the building is located at the Vasteland 12G, 3011 BL Rotterdam address, which is its temporary coarse location.

    Before moving the building to its exact location, you'll make it easier to manipulate by filtering out any building floors that are not close to the ground level. You'll do that with a definition query.

  3. In the Contents pane, right-click the Slabs layer and choose Properties.
  4. In the Layer Properties: Slabs window, choose Definition Query and click New definition query.
  5. Form the following query: Where BldgLevel is less than or equal to 3.

    Formed query

  6. Click Apply and click OK.

    On the scene, the building redraws showing only the first few floors .

  7. If necessary, use the middle Navigator wheel to move the camera through the scene and get a better view of the building.

    Floors 0 to 3 displaying.

    To know the exact desired location of the building, you will use ground control points that were captured by field surveyors. They represent the location for two corners of the building. You will now add the survey points layer to the scene.

  8. In the Catalog Pane, expand Folders > De_Zalmhaven_complex > GroundControlPoints.
  9. Right-click HR_Survey_Points.lyrx, and choose Add To Current Map.

    Survey points

    The layer appears in the scene.

  10. Zoom out to see where the two control points stand in relation to the building's current location.

    Building and control points

In this section, you displayed the building slabs and filtered them to see only the lower levels. You then added the control points to the scene. You are now ready to geolocate the building precisely.

Geolocate the digital building model

You will now move and rotate the high-rise model to geolocate it precisely. You'll do this on the Georeference ribbon tab.

  1. In the Contents pane, click the Slabs layer to select it.
  2. On the ribbon, on the Manage tab, in the Alignment group, click Georeference.

    Georeference button

    The Georeference tab appears.

    Georeference tab

    You'll turn off the Buildings layer to declutter the scene.

  3. In the Contents pane, turn off the Buildings layer.

    Turn off Buildings layer.

    You will now move the high-rise model horizontally, to match the building corners and the control points as indicated in the following example image:

    How building corners and points should match.

  4. If necessary, position the scene to have a good view of the building and the control points, as in the previous image.
  5. On the Georeference tab, in the Prepare group, click Move.

    In the scene, the building activates in Move mode. Its surface becomes cyan blue and direction arrows (red, navy blue, and green) appear.

  6. In the scene, point to the cyan building surface and drag the building to the vicinity of the control points.

    Building moved

    Note:

    The arrows enable you to move the object in a single direction at a time. However, you don't need to use them at this time.

  7. On the Georeference tab, in the Prepare group, click Rotate.
  8. In the scene, rotate the building counterclockwise to match the building corners and the control points approximately.

    Building rotated

  9. Press the Esc key to deactivate the Rotate mode. Inspect the building to ensure that it is positioned as in the following example image:

    Inspect the building.

  10. If necessary, continue to use the Move and Rotate tools to obtain this position.
    Tip:

    There is no need to use the Scale button, since digital models are at a 1:1 scale in relation to the scene.

    You'll now change the scene view to facilitate the geolocation fine-tuning process.

  11. Move the scene's camera with the middle Navigator wheel and zoom in to get a close-up view of the building and the control points.

    Ensure that the control points now appear in front of the building.

    Close-up view

    Tip:

    If necessary, you can also pan the scene by pressing C and dragging with the mouse.

    You'll now inspect the building's current vertical position.

  12. Move the scene's camera until you can see the building completely from the side.

    Side view

    The building is currently positioned completely above the ground. However, the lowest slabs should be underground. You will fix that issue by using the green direction arrow, which enables vertical movement.

  13. On the Georeference tab, turn on the Move tool again.

    The slab that should be lying on the ground is indicated with a yellow arrow in the following example image:

    Slab that should be on the ground.

  14. Grab the green arrow and move the building down into the ground until it is properly positioned vertically.

    Green arrow for vertical adjustment

    Ensure that the ground-level slab is just lying on the ground and does not disappear underground.

  15. Move the scene's camera underground to verify that the bottom of the building is positioned as in the following example image:

    Vertical adjustment underground

  16. Move the scene's camera back up above ground, and keep moving it up until you obtain a view from the sky.
  17. Hover over the building's cyan surface and drag to move it horizontally until its corners and control points are completely aligned.

    .Adjust horizontally.

    Note:

    If necessary, you can also use the Rotate tool to rotate the building by a few degrees.

  18. Press the Esc key to deactivate the Move mode.

    The building is now at its correct location.

    Final position

    Note:

    To learn more about the geolocation process, you can read the Geolocating Revit Files in ArcGIS Pro article.

In this section, you precisely aligned the high-rise model with the control points.

Finalize the geolocation process

You will now finalize the geolocation process. First, you'll save the transformation information.

  1. On the Georeference tab, click the Save button.

    Save button on Georeference tab

    A warning message informs you that the .wld3 file will be overwritten.

  2. Click Yes.

    Overwrite warning

    Note:

    If you look at the ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18.wld3 file in Windows Explorer, you will see that the Date Modified property has been updated.

  3. On the Georeference tab, click Close Georeference.

    Close Georeference button

    The Georeference tab disappears. You will now remove the Slabs layer from the scene, and display the full high-rise model instead.

  4. In the Contents pane, right-click the Slabs layer and choose Remove.

    Remove Slabs layer.

  5. In the Catalog pane, browse to Folders > De_Zalmhaven_complex > DigitalModels > Building_1_HR.
  6. Right-click ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18.ifc and choose Add To Current Map.

The full high-rise model appears in the scene, properly geolocated.

Full high-rise model properly geolocated.

Next, you will add a second digital building model and explore the scene.

Add a second digital building model to the scene

Using the same workflow, you can geolocate as many digital building models as you need. For instance, the De Zalmhaven complex contains a second building, a mid-rise, that would also need to be geolocated. In this lesson, in the interest of time, that mid-rise building was already geolocated for you, and you will simply add it to the scene.

  1. In the Catalog pane, browse to Folders > De_Zalmhaven_complex > DigitalModels > Building_2_MR.
  2. Right-click ZHA-B-BWK-C-MR-R18.ifc and choose Add To Current Map.

    Second digital model

    Thanks to its geolocation information, the mid-rise appears at the correct position, next to the high-rise.

    The exterior shells of the two buildings

    By default, only the ExteriorShell layer of each building model is turned on. The other layers can be turned on or off as needed.

  3. In the Contents pane, expand the ZHA-B-BWK-C-HR-R18 high-rise building layer and turn on the Architectural discipline. Do the same for the mid-rise building layer.

    Architectural discipline turned on.

    After a few moments, in the scene, more details are added to the buildings.

  4. Optionally, you can turn some of the two buildings' layers on and off, and observe the effect on their representation.
  5. In the Contents pane, turn the Buildings layer back on, and turn off the HR_Survey_Points layer, as you don't need it any longer.
  6. Explore the scene, and observe how the two De Zalmhaven complex buildings are seamlessly integrated with the rest of the scene.

    The two buildings integrated in scene.

  7. Press Ctrl+S to save the project.

In this lesson, you successfully geolocated a digital building model and integrated it into an existing scene. You can now analyze the building in the context of its rich urban environment or share it as part of a new web scene to reach your audience.

You can find more lessons such as this in the BIM and GIS learning path.