Skip To Content

Exploiting imagery in image space

When viewed in a GIS, imagery is typically transformed or projected to a map coordinate system (MCS), called map space. When displaying any kind of imagery in map space, the image is stretched and twisted to fit accurately to a 2D flat map. This works in most cases, since imagery is usually captured vertically, as nadir or near-nadir. There are scenarios, however, where imagery is acquired at an angle-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 image on the left, below). These distortions also make it difficult for image analysts to make precise image measurements, compromising accuracy.

image showing how much more difficult it is to interpret 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 image on the right, above). You can also seamlessly transition between an image coordinate system and map coordinate system 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+ with the ArcGIS Image Analyst extension.

Imagery Workflows resources

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

ArcGIS Help

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

ArcGIS blogs, articles, story maps, and white papers

Supplemental guidance about concepts, software functionality, and workflows:

  • Read a blog about working with imagery in image space mode.


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

Esri Community

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

* Esri's top picks

Related topics