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Managing drone imagery

Single-frame imagery acquired by drones is essential for creating geospatial products like orthomosaics, digital terrain models, or 3D textured meshes. Each time an organization gathers imagery, the result is a project that includes the single-frame images gathered by the drone, any products derived from the drone-acquired images, and metadata associated with both data capture and post-flight processing.

For many organizations, a workflow for managing all that data is as important as the workflow for generating the products themselves. Organizations working with a small number of projects may not need to spend resources on data management. For organizations that routinely gather and process drone imagery, however, it is essential to efficiently manage your input imagery, output products, and associated metadata so the data is fast and straightforward to access.

Organizations using Site Scan for ArcGIS, or Ortho Maker within ArcGIS Enterprise with ArcGIS Image Server have built-in features for data and project management. For users processing their drone imagery using ArcGIS Drone2Map or ortho mapping in ArcGIS Pro, it's recommended to manage drone imagery in ArcGIS Pro using mosaic datasets. Mosaic datasets catalog your imagery, organize metadata, and can be shared as dynamic image services. This makes it straightforward and efficient for you or others to access, query, and visualize your imagery and resulting products.

To create and edit mosaic datasets, you'll need ArcGIS Desktop Standard or Desktop Advanced. The ortho mapping workflow requires ArcGIS Pro Advanced. ArcGIS Drone2Map requires a standalone license.

Imagery Workflows resources

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

ArcGIS Help

Reference material for ArcGIS:

ArcGIS blogs, articles, story maps, and white papers

Supplemental guidance about concepts, software functionality, and workflows:

Esri Training

Authoritative learning resources focusing on key ArcGIS skills:

Developer resources

Resources and support for automating and customizing workflows:

  • Visit the MDCS GitHub repo to download a Python script to help automate the creation and configuration of mosaic datasets.

Esri Community

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

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