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Creating scanned aerial imagery products with ortho mapping

Available with Advanced license.

The ArcGIS platform provides tools and a wizard for creating products from historical scanned film imagery using photogrammetric processing. This workflow focuses on using the ortho mapping capability in ArcGIS Pro Advanced.

Many organizations have vast archives of historical film that could be a valuable addition to their GIS, assuming they can be scanned and accurately placed on a map. Further, historical scanned film images can be processed to create a variety of 2D digital products, including orthomosaics, digital surface models (DSMs), digital terrain models (DTMs), and/ or stereo models comprised of one or more stereo image pairs. These data products can then be used for visualization or analysis, and can 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 scanned film images. If a camera calibration report is available, the resulting data products may achieve a relatively high accuracy (on the order of a few pixels). 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 Onlineor ArcGIS Image Server.

Explore the following resources to learn more about using ortho mapping  in ArcGIS Pro to generate 2D products from historical 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:

Esri Community

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

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

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