Why are drillhole cross-sections displayed in non-earth co-ordinates but in WGS 1984 Web Mercator?


Drillhole cross-sections created using the Drillholes>Generate Sections display the X axis co-ordinates in non-earth inline distance units, rather than real world units (e.g. UTM).

Also the section map window and feature class layers are in the coordinate system “WGS 1984 Web Mercator (auxiliary sphere)”


Discover for ArcGIS Pro creates sections as 2D feature class layer in a 2D Map window. The section mapper window will be displayed in local non-earth units. The X axis will be the inline distance from the start of the section line, labelled as “meters East”. The Y axis is the elevation (Z) position (unless the section has vertical exaggerated or is inclined), labelled as “meters North”. 

Because ArcGIS Pro doesn’t have a non-earth cartesian coordinate system by default, the map and features layers are created in the coordinate system “WGS 1984 Web Mercator (auxiliary sphere)”, which mimics a cartesian coordinate system. 

Note You will not be able to reproject to/form the section non earth units to a real world coordinate system using ArcGIS Pro standard projection tools. They also will not be displayed in the real location if added to a 3D Scene. 

You can display real world 3D XYZ coordinates on the section using Section>Tools>Section Coordinates.

You can also display a Map Grid in a layout with real world Easting and Northings displayed by using Section>Layout>Section Layout. 

A workaround to convert some of the non earth sections layers to real coordinates, is possible by the following steps -

  1. Open the Drillhole project, then select Drillholes>3D>Display Drillholes
  2. In the “Map spatial Reference”, select the option “Same as Project spatial reference”. Click Generate
  3. Select Section>3D>Section to 3D>Section Layer to 3D.
  4. Select the section and layer you wish to reproject. Select the new 3D Scene as the Local Scene.
  5. Click Run. The section feature layers will be reprojected to the 3D Scene’s spatial reference coordinates.
  6. You can now use the ArcGIS Pro standard tools to export the 3D feature class layer to Shape files or DXF files.

You can also generate a geolocated 3D image of the section using Section>3D>Section to 3D>Section to 3D, ad select the option "Export to textured OBJ"

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Last Updated on: 2nd of November, 2023