The City of San Francisco has come up with two key points from long-term urban planning efforts: there are more jobs coming than houses, and not all neighborhoods are impacted in the same way. You're a graphics specialist working for a newspaper, and you must convey these takeaways with a single image. The graphic needs to be a dramatic, yet simple, representation of the data that can be used as a static media element in an article for public consumption.
Create a scene
In this scenario, you'll create a single image showing an overview of job and housing growth potential in San Francisco for use in print media. Because the consumers will not be able to pan or zoom around the image, or click individual features to learn more, the 3D scene you author will need to be clear and uncluttered, while still providing a high-level understanding of where jobs and housing are expected to grow.
- Start ArcGIS Pro. If prompted, sign in using your licensed ArcGIS account.
If you don't have ArcGIS Pro or an ArcGIS account (for ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise), you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial.
- Under New, choose Local Scene.
- Name the new project SF Job and Housing Growth and save it in the location of your choice. Make sure the Create a new folder for this project box is checked.
- Click OK.
A new, blank scene opens. Because your area of interest for your 3D view is relatively small in extent, a local scene is the best choice. You do not need to see the rest of the planet or allow for the curvature of the earth like a global scene does.
- In the Contents pane, under Elevation Surfaces, right-click WorldElevation3D/Terrain3D and choose Remove.
Removing the default elevation source for the scene makes the ground flat. A flat surface for the scene is important because you need the vertical bars showing potential jobs and housing to start from the same height. Additionally, the terrain of San Francisco is not an important component of the information you need to communicate in this scene.
- On the ribbon on the Map tab, in the Layer group, expand the Basemap gallery. Choose Dark Gray Canvas.
A simple, dark basemap will let your other content stand out more. You do not need to communicate the names of roads, neighborhoods, or water bodies.
- In the Contents pane, uncheck the World Dark Gray Reference layer to turn it off.
Add neighborhood boundaries
Once you have a plain basemap to start with, you'll start adding data. One of the key takeaways from the Planning Commission report was that neighborhoods will face varying impacts. To illustrate this, you'll add neighborhood delineations to show which districts will be more affected. After accessing the data, you'll be able to display it in the way you want.
- Download the SanFrancisco2050 geodatabase from the Learn ArcGIS organization.
- Unzip the geodatabase and save it in the project folder you created with the project.
- In the Catalog pane, expand Folders and expand the project folder.
If the Catalog pane didn't open when you created the project, you can add it from the View tab on the ribbon. In the Windows group, click Catalog Pane.
- Open the SanFrancisco2050 geodatabase that you unzipped and drag the NeighborhoodBoundaries layer onto the map.
The new layer is added to the map. Symbology is typically defined in the unit points. To show it using a more real-world unit, you'll change the Display setting before changing the symbology of the neighborhoods layer.
- In the Contents pane, right-click the new layer and choose Properties.
- In the Layer Properties window, click the Display tab and check the Display 3D symbols in real-world units box.
You can now define the symbology for this layer in measurable distance units—such as meters or feet—rather than the traditional 2D map symbol unit of points. For polygon features, the real-world units option allows you to set an outline width that covers the same amount of real-world space, regardless of how far it is from the viewpoint.
- Click OK.
- In the Contents pane, click the symbol for the NeighborhoodBoundaries layer.
The Symbology pane opens to the gallery. The gallery contains popular or common symbols. You'll use gallery symbols later.
- At the top of the Symbology pane, click the Properties tab. Next to Color, expand the color selector window and choose No color.
- Expand Outline color and choose a light blue. For Outline width, type 25 m.
- Click Apply.
The neighborhoods layer will provide context for how much area each of the vertical symbols for jobs and housing represents. The thickness of the perimeter line is consistent, in real-world space, across the view.
Symbolize job data
To symbolize the projected job growth, you'll use a preset. Presets have a number of symbology properties already set up so that they can be quickly applied to your data, but they also have some cartographic limitations. In this case, they're a quick way to show 3D data. Once you add the data, you'll need to configure a few properties to show the correct attributes.
- On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Layer group, click Add Preset and choose Thematic Shapes.
- In the Add Data window, browse to the project folder and double-click the StatisticsByNeighborhood from the SanFrancisco2050 geodatabase.
The layer is added to the map, though depending on your zoom extent, the default symbology may be too small to see.
- In the Symbology pane, choose the Standing Cylinder symbol.
- For Height, expand the menu and choose the JOB_COMM attribute.
- For Scale, type 0.05.
This decimal defines the aspect ratio—each symbol's height will be multiplied by 0.05.
- Uncheck Use aspect ratio. For Width, type 250.
The projected job growth for San Francisco is symbolized.
To tilt and rotate the scene, press the V and B keys or use the navigator in the lower left corner.
Next, you'll symbolize projected housing growth for comparison. Because the data is also contained in the StatisticsByNeighborhood layer, you'll rename the jobs layer before adding it.
- In the Contents pane, click StatisticsByNeighborhood twice to edit it. Rename the layer Job Growth.
Symbolize housing data
Next, you'll add data showing projected housing growth. Because the data is contained in the same layer, the point symbols are in exactly the same place. To fix the visual problem this presents, you'll use an offset, moving the housing data to the side of the jobs data. Because you need to set this additional property, you'll add the data and symbolize it using a slightly different method.
- In the Catalog pane, browse to the SanFrancisco2050 geodatabase and add StatisticsByNeighborhood to the map a second time.
Remember, all the data is contained in the same layer. This time, you'll symbolize the layer to show housing growth.
- In the Contents pane, drag the StatisticsByNeighborhood layer you just added from 2D Layers to 3D Layers and rename it Housing Growth.
- Right-click the Housing Growth layer and choose Properties. On the Display tab, check the Display 3D symbols in real-world units box.
- Click the symbol for the Housing Growth layer to open its symbology.
- In the Symbology pane, click the Gallery tab and search for cube symbols.
- Choose Standing Cube.
- Click the Properties tab and click the Layers button.
- If necessary, expand Appearance and change Height to 200 m.
The Width and Depth fields change to match.
- Click Apply.
All the cube symbols now stand 200 meters high. You'll use the same aspect ratio as before, 0.05 times their actual value.
- In the Symbology pane, click the back arrow, and then next to the Primary Symbology button, click Vary symbology by attribute.
- Expand Size. Under Size, uncheck Maintain aspect ratio.
If you maintain the aspect ratio, the width and depth of the cube will change when you calculate the height.
- Under Height, for Field, click Set an expression.
The Expression Builder opens.
- In the Expression Builder window, under Fields, double-click NET_UNITS.
The housing units attribute is added to the Expression box.
- After the NET_UNITS attribute, type * 0.05 to create the expression $feature.NET_UNITS * 0.05.
- Click OK.
The housing data is correctly symbolized now, but there is a visual problem in the scene—the symbols for the two layers are centered in the same location. To fix the overlap, you'll offset (move) the extruded square symbol to the left.
- At the top of the Symbology pane, click Primary Symbology. Click the cube symbol, and if necessary, open the Layers properties.
- Expand Position and change X to 50%.
- Click Apply.
- Save the project.
The relative values for housing and jobs are now being displayed side by side, but it's not clear what yellow means and what red means. You need to include an in-scene legend. Yes, you could add a color-based legend image as a postproduction step, but in this case, it's better to use in-scene objects so they get the same lighting, shading, and coloring as the features they're representing.
Add legend symbols
You may know what the symbols on your map mean, but without a legend, your audience won't know what they show. Instead of a traditional legend with a list of symbols and their meaning, you'll add two additional points that show the total projected growth of jobs and housing for the city as a whole. These numbers were calculated using Summary Statistics, and the points have already been created to save time.
- In the Catalog pane, browse to the project folder and drag SummaryPoints.lpkx onto the map.
A group layer with points for housing and job data is added to the San Francisco Bay. These points represent the total number of jobs and housing units and will serve as the legend. They are symbolized the same way the neighborhood data is but have an aspect ratio of 0.02x for a more manageable height. Their width is 1,000 meters to better stand out from the neighborhood data.
- In the Contents pane, expand the Summary Points group layer. Right-click Total Job Growth and choose Attribute Table.
The attribute table contains two values, the summed totals of job and housing growth for the entire city. You'll use these values in the legend.
- Close the attribute table.
- On the Quick Access ribbon, save the project.
The 3D mapping portion is complete, but the image is missing important metadata that your readers need to know. In the next lesson, you'll use the Layout view to add explanatory text to your image and export the final product.