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Exploit imagery in image space

When viewed in a GIS, imagery is typically transformed or projected to a map coordinate system (MCS) known as map space. When displaying imagery in map space, the image is stretched and twisted to fit accurately to a 2D flat map. This is appropriate in most cases, since imagery is usually captured vertically, as nadir or near-nadir. There are scenarios, however, in which imagery is acquired at an angle in reconnaissance, surveillance, situational awareness applications. When an oblique image is fitted to a 2D map, distortions can be severe, making it difficult to interpret the image (see the first image below). These distortions also make it difficult for image analysts to make precise image measurements, compromising accuracy.

Interpreting an image in map space compared to image space

The ArcGIS Image Analyst extension for ArcGIS Pro allows you to work with oblique imagery in its native geometry (image space) rather than in map space. This eliminates the distortion or visual artifacts caused by reprojection, orthorectification, or other geometric transformations. The perspective mode of the map view displays oblique imagery in an image coordinate system (ICS). In this mode, imagery is viewed from the sensor's perspective in the map view, rather than stretched to fit the ground, making it more intuitive to interpret (see the second image above). You can also seamlessly transition between an ICS and MCS to display, interpret, collect, and edit GIS feature data on the oblique imagery.

Explore the following resources to get started visualizing and exploiting imagery in image space using ArcGIS Pro. (Not sure where to start? Look for the star by Esri's most helpful resources.)

To visualize imagery in image space, you need ArcGIS Pro 2.1 or later with the ArcGIS Image Analyst extension.

Imagery Workflows resources

Review the community-supported tools and best practices for working with and automating imagery and remote sensing workflows:

ArcGIS help

Review the following links on reference materials for ArcGIS products:

ArcGIS blogs, articles, story maps, and technical papers

Review the following supplemental guidance about concepts, software functionality, and workflows:


Review the following Esri-produced videos that clarify and demonstrate concepts, software functionality, and workflows:

Esri Community

Use the online imagery community to connect, collaborate, and share experiences:

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