A Storey about Range Sliders

It can be important to understand the exact whereabouts of your assets, as this can often help to optimise your resources and avoid errors. Providing further context to your maps can help you better understand this. Here I talk about the advantages that come with understanding of your data across varying heights, and how this can be achieved using ArcGIS Pro.

Introduced with the ArcGIS Pro 1.4 update, the range slider allows users to filter features according to a numeric attribute along a defined range. If you’ve ever worked with the time slider in the platform, this works in very much the same way – taking values from one of the features’ fields and filtering according to the calibration of the slider tool. Imagine a hands-on interface for definition queries across a numeric range. A great example is using height to view a building’s plans by storey.

The tool can be found on the Range tab, under the Layer Properties menu. Here you will be presented with the option to Add Range, and populate the box with the specific field representing height, along with the chosen extent. There is also the option to define an Alias expression for the range to represent the range in more descriptive terms (e.g. FloorName to accompany FloorNumber).

Further ranges can be added for other features. Provided these other features share a vaguely common numeric extent, the range slider can be used to display multiple feature layers within that extent. Conversely, multiple ranges can also be set for a single feature for when quickly switching between zoom extents. However, it is worth noting that only one can be active at any time for an individual feature.

These configurations can be used with discrete values (e.g. floor numbers when mapping fire equipment locations) or continuous values (e.g. water depth for oceanographers), depending on the information being conveyed in the map and the purpose of the range slider’s inclusion. The below GIF demonstrates the flexible nature of this tool, in relation to the water depth example from the Esri blog on plotting EMUs (ecological marine units).

The range slider is not only useful for adding depth to a 2D map, it can also be used to enhance the effectiveness of 3D maps. While data with a rich z axis is often better visualised in three-dimensions, it can sometimes look overwhelming. This is relieved by the ability to isolate a specific ‘slice’ of the dataset, observing detail at specific ranges. For example, individual rooms could be observed on specific floors within a building for access control operations. By filtering according to the building storey, the ability to interrogate features that were once ‘hidden’ within the model isn’t as difficult, or fiddly – making complex 3D models more usable.