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Creating drone imagery products with ortho mapping

Available with Advanced license.

The ArcGIS platform provides several options for creating products from drone imagery. This workflow focuses on using the ortho mapping capability in ArcGIS Pro Advanced. For users seeking an easy-to-use desktop application, consider using ArcGIS Drone2Map; if your organization is seeking a software-as-a-service (SaaS) capability, refer to Site Scan for ArcGIS.

Consumer drones with quality cameras have enabled dramatic growth in the ability for GIS professionals, land managers, and many others to capture their own imagery and process it to create accurate geospatial products. GIS users often need to process the individual, overlapping image frames acquired by drones to create a variety of 2D products, including orthomosaics, digital surface models (DSMs), and digital terrain models (DTMs). These data products are then used for visualization or analysis, and may need to be shared with colleagues or the public. However, photogrammetric processing can require expertise to get through the workflow, and creating end products with a high degree of accuracy can be difficult.

To make photogrammetric processing more user-friendly, the ortho mapping capability in ArcGIS Pro offers a workflow-focused wizard for creating products from single frame drone images. Most modern consumer cameras are fully supported, simplifying the process of bringing your imagery into ArcGIS Pro. Assuming adequate overlap of about 70%, the resulting data products can achieve high accuracy. Users can use ground control points to ensure best horizontal and vertical accuracy, and use independent check points to measure the final accuracy. The images are managed using a mosaic dataset, which may be used directly to access images that are orthorectified on-the-fly, or to view images as stereo pairs using the ArcGIS Image Analyst extension. An orthomosaic, DSM, or DTM can be created as output data products for use in ArcGIS, or if desired, any of these products can be published as web-accessible services through ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Image Server.

Explore the following resources to learn more about using ortho mapping  in ArcGIS Pro to generate 2D products from drone imagery. (Not sure where to start? Look for the star by Esri's most helpful resources.)


To use this workflow, you'll need ArcGIS Pro Advanced. You can publish data products to ArcGIS Online or your ArcGIS Enterprise portal. Viewing image pairs in stereo requires ArcGIS Image Analyst.

Imagery Workflows resources

Community-supported tools and best practices for working with and automating imagery and remote sensing workflows:

ArcGIS Help

Reference material for ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Enterprise:

ArcGIS blogs, articles, story maps, and technical papers

Supplemental guidance about concepts, software functionality, and workflows:

Developer resources

Resources and support for automating and customizing workflows:

Tech Support

Troubleshooting resources from Esri's tech support team:

Esri Community

Online places for the Esri community to connect, collaborate, and share experiences:

  • See what the imagery community is saying about creating drone imagery products with ortho mapping.

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