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Create Viewshed (Map Viewer)

The Create Viewshed tool uses the Esri Elevation Analysis service to identify areas that are visible from specified observer points.

The output is a hosted feature layer.


A GIS analyst is performing a preliminary review of wind farm applications to determine which proposals should be submitted for further assessment. Her criteria are that the proposals must have road access and cannot be on or within view of protected areas. Create Viewshed can be used to determine which proposals are within view of the protected areas.

Usage notes

Create Viewshed includes configurations for the input layer, viewshed settings, and the result layer.

Input layer

The Input layer group includes the following parameters:

  • Input observer features layer specifies the point features that will be used as the observer locations. You can choose a layer using the Layer button or use the Draw input features button to create a sketch layer to use as the input.

Viewshed settings

The Viewshed settings group includes the following parameters:

  • Observer height specifies the height of the observer locations above the ground.

    Examples of observer locations include people and fire towers.

  • Observer height units specifies the measurement units for the Observer height parameter.

  • Target height specifies the height of the objects being viewed by the observer. This height will be added to the height of the terrain to establish visible areas.

    Examples of objects being viewed include people, wind turbines, and the ground.

  • Target height units specifies the measurement units for the Target height parameter.

  • Maximum viewing distance specifies the maximum distance at which the computation of the visible areas will stop.

    An example of the maximum viewing distance is how far a person can see given the weather and atmospheric conditions of the day.

    The maximum value allowed is 31 miles (50 kilometers).

  • Viewing distance units specifies the measurement units for the Maximum viewing distance parameter.

Result layer

The Result layer group includes the following parameters:

  • Output polygon name specifies the name of the output viewshed feature layer that will be created.

    The name must be unique. If a layer with the same name already exists in your organization, the tool will fail and you will be prompted to use a different name.

  • Save in folder specifies the name of a folder in My content where the result will be saved.


The following limitations apply to the tool:

  • The input must be point features.
  • The input has a limit of 1,000 features.
  • The maximum viewing distance can be no more than 31 miles (50 kilometers).
  • All observers must have the same height. All objects being viewed must have the same height.
  • Visibility does not include obstructions such as trees and buildings.


Analysis environment settings are additional parameters that affect a tool's results. You can access the tool's analysis environment settings from the Environment settings parameter group.

This tool honors the following analysis environments:

  • Output coordinate system
  • Processing extent

    The default processing extent in Map Viewer is Full extent. This default is different from Map Viewer Classic in which Use current map extent is enabled by default.


This tool includes the following outputs:

  • This tool creates an output feature service that represents the areas where the observers can see the observed objects. The frequency field records the number of observer points that can see each area.

Licensing requirements

This tool requires the following licensing and configurations:

  • Creator or GIS Professional user type
  • Publisher or Administrator role, or an equivalent custom role


Use the following resources to learn more: