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Setting coordinates when creating 3D features


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When creating 3D features using the Arc Hydro Groundwater tools it is important to define your coordinate systems correctly. A few common mistakes that lead to errors in applying the tools are:

  • The vertical coordinate system is not defined.
  • The vertical coordinate system is defined incorrectly. A few examples are:

    • Tools creating 3D features require that your XY coordinate system is a projected coordinate system. The tools will not work with data defined in geographic coordinate systems as the vertical information cannot be defined in geographic coordinates.
    • The vertical coordinate system units should match the units of the XY coordinate system. For example if you are using a projection with units of meters your vertical units should be defined in meters as well.
    • The vertical coordinate system units do not match the units for of the data. If you have borehole data with depth defined in feet you need your vertical coordinate system to be in feet. If your XY coordinate system is in meters you should either project the data into feet or convert the vertical data to meters.

    [*]If you are using the XS2D component make sure that your domain is large enough:

    • When creating cross sections the coordinates will start at 0 or even at a negative value (because the cross section coordinates are defined along the section line). So you need to make sure that Min and Max X are defined such that cross sections can be created.
    • Remember to account for the vertical exaggeration. If you apply a vertical exaggeration of 20 you need to make sure that the Min and Max Y values are defined to support creating features with the exaggeration applied.

Remember that you need to define the domain when creating the feature dataset where your feature classes will be created. Once the feature dataset is created you cannot modify the domain.

If you want to check the domain values before creating the feature dataset uncheck the Accept default resolution and domain extent option (this is part of the process when creating a new feature dataset in ArcCatalog).


You will then go through an interface that allows you to define the Min and Maz Z values.


Another option to control the Z coordinate system is to use the Create Feature Dataset GP tool. When using this tool you have the option to specify Min and Maz Z values for your feature dataset.

Under the Environments -> Geodatabase Settings you have the option to define the Z domain.


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  • 4 weeks later...

When creating a new Arc Hydro Groundwater (AHGW) geodatabase using the GP tools users do not have control over the XY and Z domain extents. One of our users from Brazil has found a way to set the coordinate systems and still maintain control of setting the extent of the domain:

  1. Create a blank Arc Hydro Groundwater (AHGW) geodatabase with no spatial reference set.
  2. Using Arc Catalog define the spatial reference for the feature datasets - during the process of defining the spatial reference you can modify the Min and Max domain values (XY and Z) so the spatial reference can contain your 3D data.
  3. Load data and apply the AHGW tools to create features.

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