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Frequently asked questions

What does ArcGIS Drone2Map do?

ArcGIS Drone2Map is a desktop app that turns single images from drones into information products in ArcGIS. Now, with drone hardware becoming more accessible, you can create 2D and 3D maps of features and areas.

What is ArcGIS Drone2Map? Is it an app, an ArcGIS for Desktop extension, or something else?

It is a stand-alone 64-bit Windows desktop app that will run alongside ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro.

How do I try the software?

You can register for a free trial of Drone2Map through ArcGIS Marketplace.

Does ArcGIS Drone2Map work only with a specific type of drone?

ArcGIS Drone2Map is designed to be generic for all drones. There are two important details:

  1. The drone must collect latitude, longitude, and altitude. Most commercially available drones automatically add this information to the image metadata (the EXIF header of each image file), and this is read by Drone2Map.
  2. Drone2Map must also have information about the camera—specifically, the lens focal length and sensor size.

    Nearly all modern cameras are supported in an existing camera database, and this database is updated frequently, so any new cameras not currently in the database should be supported within a short time frame. If your camera is not included in the database, Drone2Map will attempt to create the required information from information in the EXIF header.

Can ArcGIS Drone2Map be used to create special imagery analysis products such as an NDVI for the agricultural markets?

Yes, multispectral cameras are supported and will enable creation of indices such as NDVI, SAVI, and more to quickly assess crop health.

How will the resulting imagery products be stored so I can share them on ArcGIS Online? Will it be expensive?

The imagery products created by ArcGIS Drone2Map are stored locally on your computer and may also be shared as tile layers (for 2D products) and scene layers (for 3D products) on ArcGIS Online. They are inexpensive to store. For example, the tile layer of this sample dataset, the Oatlands Historic House and Gardens requires 85 MB of storage, at a monthly cost of less than $0.01.

How do I share 3D files created by ArcGIS Drone2Map?

ArcGIS Drone2Map produces a file type called a scene layer package (*.slpk) that can be consumed as a local file by other ArcGIS applications such as ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Earth. It can be shared via the Internet through ArcGIS Online.

Do I need ArcGIS Pro to process files from Drone2Map?

No. ArcGIS Drone2Map is designed to produce GIS-ready products that can be published directly into an ArcGIS Online account. ArcGIS Pro adds additional visualization and analytical capabilities to get the most out of your drone data, but it is not required.

Can I use ArcGIS Drone2Map with Portal for ArcGIS?

Yes, you can use Portal for ArcGIS as your licensing portal and your sharing portal.

What is the workflow for using Drone2Map in a disconnected environment?

Similar to ArcGIS Pro, you can check out the license while connected before taking it offline into the field. Once back in the office, you must check in the license for connected use.


Authorization for offline use is set to expire when either a) your current Drone2Map license expires, or b) your ArcGIS Online organization account expires. Also note that the camera database is updated via the Internet, so for offline users, a new camera may not appear to be supported until the software can reconnect to the Internet.

What is the recommended software for mission planning with Drone2Map?

Most commercial drone manufacturers include a mission planning application with their hardware offerings. These are typically adequate for Drone2Map missions, but you may want to consider this free flight planning app, which allows direct connection to your ArcGIS Online account, to plan flights based on custom GIS data layers. Concerns about the capabilities of your particular mission planning application can be discussed with an Esri specialist.

Does Drone2Map scale?

Yes, Drone2Map is a 64-bit multithreaded app and will scale vertically, leveraging multiple cores and powerful graphics chips.

Will Drone2Map work from a command line interface?

No, a command line interface is currently not available.

Can multiple users share one Drone2Map license?

When you buy a Drone2Map subscription, you get a license entitlement for Drone2Map and an ArcGIS Online named user credential. The license entitlement can only be assigned to one named user at a time, and thus, a single license entitlement cannot be shared. Note, however, that the license entitlement can be revoked from one named user and assigned to another at any time during the duration of the subscription. Also note that sharing a single named user credential with multiple users is prohibited.

Is a named user allowed to access Drone2Map on multiple machines?

Named users can log in to any machine with Drone2Map installed. However, they may only log in to one machine at a time.

How many Drone2Map licenses does an organization need?

It is recommended that for each drone your organization flies, you purchase two Drone2Map subscriptions—one for the field and one for the office. A common workflow is to assign one license to a drone operator to use 100 percent of the time in the field for tasks such as collection verification and quick product creation for in-field answers. The data collected by the operator is sent back to the office for a different user to process in more detail on a higher-end machine with the second license.

What training is available for Drone2Map?

Getting Started with Drone2Map for ArcGIS is a free course from Esri Training that focuses on best practices to capture and validate your drone imagery. The Learn ArcGIS lesson Get Started with ArcGIS Drone2Map teaches you how to transform drone imagery into 3D GIS data. You'll use Drone2Map to add drone images to a map, create 3D data from 2D imagery, and share 3D data to ArcGIS Online. Additional Esri training courses will be available in the future.

Are offline maps available in Drone2Map?

Offline basemaps are not available in 2.0. It is recommended to use Tile Package Kreator from Esri Labs to create offline basemaps for use in Drone2Map.

What LAS file class codes are used when I select the Classify setting in the 3D products processing options?

The software is designed to automatically identify points in these class codes (using LAS Version 1.2):




Low Vegetation


High Vegetation




Road Surface

Can Drone2Map calculate the volume of holes in the ground?

Yes. Drone2Map can be used to determine the volume removed from an open pit mine, or the future volume remaining in a collecting pond, above the current level. The volumes are reported as negative values, but the calculations are still valid.

How is Drone2Map licensed?

Drone2Map requires a Named User license, authenticating either via ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS at the Creator or GIS Professional level. The license can be checked out while you are online to authorize offline use.