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View scenes in Scene Viewer

You can view 2D and 3D geospatial content in Scene Viewer in the portal website. Scene Viewer works with devices that support WebGL, a web technology built into most modern browsers for rendering 3D graphics. You can also author your own scenes when you sign in to Scene Viewer.


Before you open Scene Viewer, verify that your browser supports scenes.

Navigate your scene

The navigation controls are at the upper left of your screen and are described as follows:

  • Click Initial view Initial view to return to the initial camera position.
  • Click + to zoom in.
  • Click - to zoom out.
  • You can also use your mouse and scroll wheel to zoom in and zoom out, or press and hold the middle mouse button and move down or up to zoom in or out.
  • Click Pan Pan to pan. Click and hold the left mouse button and drag the scene in the direction you want to move it. You can also pan by using the arrow keys on the keyboard.
  • Click Rotate Rotate to rotate. Click and hold the left mouse button and drag the scene in the direction you want to rotate and tilt it.

    The black triangle at the upper right of the tool indicates the tool is selected.

  • If you have a two-button mouse, you can use the left mouse button for the primary navigation and the right mouse button for the secondary navigation. For example, if you click Rotate Rotate, you can use the left mouse button to rotate and the right mouse button to pan.
  • If you have a mobile device or touch screen, pinch zoom with two fingers and pan with one finger. You can also double-tap the scene to zoom in a step toward the tapped location. To rotate the scene, move two fingers in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. To tilt the scene, drag two fingers up or down the screen.

  • Scene Viewer provides different viewing experiences for phones and tablets. With phones, you can navigate your scene with a simplified viewing experience without authoring or tools. Tablets offer the same UI as desktops.

    The Pan/Rotate switch navigation controls and 3D Navigation settings do not affect touch.

  • Compass Compass gives you the orientation of the scene. Click Compass Compass to set your scene to North orientation.

The following are navigation actions:



Zoom in at pointer.

Press P

Set your scene perpendicular to the ground.

Press N

Set your scene to North orientation.

Press B+Left click

View from the current camera position.

Press Arrow keys

Move the view left, right, up, or down (global scene only).

Press J

Move down, closer to the view (global scene only).

Press U

Move up, away from the view (global scene only).

Press Ctrl+S

Save your scene.

Press Ctrl+E

Start and stop sun animation over a day period.

Drag with one or multiple fingers


Double-tap with one finger

Zoom in at the finger position.

Use two fingers to pinch in or out

Zoom in or out.

Move two fingers in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction


Drag two fingers up or down the screen

Tilt the scene.

Search for locations

Click Search Search and type a location in the search box. The Search tool returns options matching your location. You can click one of the locations on the list or press Enter to go to the location in your scene.

View layers

Use Layers to manage the layers in Content that display in your scene. Click the check boxes to turn layers on and off in the scene. You have the following options:

  • Click Layers Layers to open Layers and see the layers of the scene.
  • Click the Zoom to button Zoom to to zoom your scene to the layer's extent.
  • Click Legend to see the symbology of the layers.
  • Click Layers Layers or another tool to close.

Choose a basemap

Click Basemap Basemap to switch your basemap for the scene.

Measure your scene

The Measure option allows you to measure distances between two points and calculate areas in your scene. When you click the Measure distance Measure distance or Measure area Measure area tool, horizontal laser lines are projected on the terrain and any objects in the scene. This visually shows the vertical height of the pointer as you measure. It is helpful to see the heights of objects relative to other objects and the terrain. For example, you can hover over a smaller building and see that exact height highlighted relative to another part of the terrain.

Measure distance

Use Measure distance Measure distance to calculate the distance between two points in a scene.  The Measure distance Measure distance tool labels the direct, horizontal, and vertical distance lines in the scene and displays the values in the panel.

  • Direct—Distance between two points
  • Horizontal—Horizontal distance between two points
  • Vertical—Vertical distance between two points

While you are measuring, a second laser line indicates where the vertical plane along the checkered line intersects with the terrain in all directions, such as with buildings, bridges, and the ground.

To measure distance, do the following:

  1. Click Measure distance Measure distance.
  2. Click in the scene to start measuring.
  3. Click to set the endpoint.

When the distance between the points is greater than 100 kilometers, a circular laser line displays indicating that Scene Viewer has switched to geodesic mode. In geodesic mode Scene Viewer only calculates the horizontal and vertical distances, taking into consideration the curvature of the earth (that is, ellipsoid-based geodesic distance). The Direct distance option is unavailable.

Measure area

Use Measure area Measure area to calculate the area of a polygon you draw. While measuring, the Measure area  Measure area tool labels the current segment length and the total length of the path in your scene. Once you close the path, a polygon is created with labeled values for the area and perimeter. These values also display in the panel.

  • Area—The area of the polygon
  • Perimeter—The perimeter length of the polygon

To measure areas, do the following:

  1. Click Measure area  Measure area.
  2. Click in the scene to start adding points to the polygon.
  3. Double-click to close the path and calculate the polygon area. Alternatively, you can click the starting point again to close the path.

When the polygon perimeter is greater than 100 kilometers, Scene Viewer switches to geodesic mode. In geodesic mode, Scene Viewer calculates the values, taking into consideration the curvature of the earth (that is, ellipsoid-based geodesic values).

After measuring

To adjust either the Measure distance Measure distance or Measure area Measure area measurement, hover over any point and drag. As you drag points, Scene Viewer displays the adjusted values in the scene and panel. You can change the unit of measure under Unit. To start another measurement, click New Measurement or click in the scene again.


In local scenes, measurements are displayed as Euclidean values and may not be accurate depending on the scene's projected coordinate system. Web Mercator scenes display the accurate geodesic values.

Adjust daylight

Open Daylight Environment to change how sunlight and shadows affect your scene during different times of the day and year.

Sunlight slider

Drag the Sunlight slider Sunlight slider left and right to adjust the sunlight and shadows in your scene at different times of the day. You can also adjust the time of day by manually entering it or by clicking specific times on the slider. To change time zones, click the current time zone to the right of the time box and choose from the drop-down list of time zones.

Click Play Play to animate the sunlight as it cycles through the day in your scene.


Click Calendar Calendar to change the sun's position at different times of the year.

Click Play Play to animate the sunlight as it cycles through the months in a year in your scene.


Check Show shadows to illustrate shadows in your scene. You can change shadow effects by adjusting the Sunlight slider Sunlight slider, time zone, and Calendar Calendar options.

Share the scene

Click Share Share to share the scene by email or social media, embed it in a website, or create a web app from the scene.

Change settings

Settings Settings contains tools where you can adjust performance quality and mouse navigation settings for your browser.

Performance and quality

Choose from the following settings to optimize 3D graphics rendering:

  • Quality—Higher-quality visualizations, such as realistic atmosphere
  • Balanced—Equal optimization of performance and quality
  • Performance—Increased stability and speed by reducing data load

3D navigation

Choose the 3D Navigation option you are more comfortable with: the default Scene Viewer navigation or the ArcGIS Pro mouse navigation.

Display the scene in full screen

Click Full Screen Full screen at the lower right to switch to full screen mode. Exit the full screen by clicking Exit Full Screen (Esc) or pressing Esc on your keyboard.