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Alastair M

ArcGIS Spatial Analyst & 3D Analyst vs Vertical Mapper

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Does anybody have any experience of attempting to build and post-process a TUFLOW model using ESRI products? Which of Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst has the functionality that Vertical Mapper has - or would both add-ons be required to do everything that Vertical Mapper handles? Thanks.

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Hi Alastair

We'll be looking into this more over the coming months as we start work on a ArcGIS version of the TUFLOW Tutorial Model. It's a while since we've used ArcGIS, but essentially my understanding is that Spatial Analyst will give you the gridding capabilities of Vertical Mapper (although some years ago it lacked the all important Point Inspection function for real (non-integer) grids, hence why we headed down the Vertical Mapper route, so you may want to check this out). I suspect that if you want to create TINs you'll need 3D Analyst (I don't think Spatial Analyst offers TIN functionality). 3D Analyst will be more powerful than Vertical Mapper for TIN generation as it will support breaklines and other functions. As to other features such as the Grid Calculator, etc you'll need to look into these.

Let us know how you go!

Cheers

Bill

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Hi Bill,

Thanks for your reply. We've got a copy of ArcGIS but neither the Spatial Analyst nor the 3D Analyst extension and I was considering purchasing one of these to experiment with given your ArcGIS plans.

Will keep you posted if we decide to go ahead.

Cheers,

Alastair.

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Hi Bill,

Thanks for your reply. We've got a copy of ArcGIS but neither the Spatial Analyst nor the 3D Analyst extension and I was considering purchasing one of these to experiment with given your ArcGIS plans.

Will keep you posted if we decide to go ahead.

Cheers,

Alastair.

Hi Alastair, we have been investigating also. Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst have some confusing overlaps but i suspect you will need both to have equivalent functionality to VM.

3D analyst will unlock terrain creation and management functions. There is also a "Surface Spot" tool that is similar to VM's "Point Inspection" but you should investigate the integer vs floating issue raised by Bill (i have not yet tested). If ESRI still cannot deal with floating then that will be an issue.

Spatial Analyst has the "zonal statistic" tool which is similar to VM's "Point", "Line" and "Region" inspection (again caution about integer issue). You will need Spatial Analyst to have available the "Raster Calculator" which is like VM's "Grid Math".

We are currently storing our TUFLOW raster output (once coverted to *.asc) in an ESRI ArcSDE environment and have not found any problems so far, except that raster data does not sit in a "Feature Dataset" so our raster and vector data starts to be spread out a bit. Eventually we will probably move to ESRI Grid formats.

Regards

Steve

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I have been very impressed with Arc's capabilities, especially for DTM construction. We run both MapInfo and ArcGIS, and I typically use MapInfo for TUFLOW model setup/editing due to the ease of use and robustness of the editing interface. However in my opinion the new version of Arc (ie 9.2 or later) is unmatched in ability to build terrains and visualise elevation data in one place. The Terrain building feature of 3D Analyst is particularly useful for handling raw LIDAR datasets over large areas (>50 square kms). It can also integrate breaklines, bathymetry etc very easily into a single terrain.

I don't recall ever using Spatial Analyst to prepare model data, but I can't tell you for sure whether 3D analyst alone would cover all the features of Vertical Mapper.

That said, if I don't need to do a lot of serious terrain processing (if I already have suitable gridded DEMs for instance) then I just go straight to MapInfo for the model build. Also, the new "Read TIN" command in TUFLOW can read 12d/SMS tins straight in which can negate the need for Vertical Mapper at all (although I still find the "Region to Grid" function handy for looking at the 2d_grd_check help file).

A bit of a ramble, but I hope it helps.

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