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.
Note: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:
- Download sample Python scripts for creating mosaic datasets and extracting photogrammetric data from projects completed using Drone2Map.*
- To better manage ArcGIS Pro ortho mapping outputs, download sample Python scripts that create mosaic datasets configured to manage preprocessed orthophotos or elevation data.*
- Consult the standard image management workflow for guidance about general best practices for image management.
- If you're manually building a mosaic dataset for original image frames, read this deep dive about best practices for managing frame camera imagery in ArcGIS, and learn more about the Frame Camera raster type, including the frames table and cameras table schemas.
- Read detailed documentation explaining best practices for creating mosaic datasets and structuring and formatting imagery and rasters.
Reference material for ArcGIS:
- Learn more about using mosaic datasets to manage imagery in ArcGIS Pro.
- Read more about Drone2Map for ArcGIS.
- Read more about ortho mapping in ArcGIS Pro.
- Learn more about Site Scan for ArcGIS.
ArcGIS blogs, articles, story maps, and white papers
Supplemental guidance about concepts, software functionality, and workflows:
- Read a blog overviewing the different ArcGIS solutions for processing drone imagery and when to use them.*
Authoritative learning resources focusing on key ArcGIS skills:
- Watch Managing Raster Data Using ArcGIS (2-hr web course) to learn more about using mosaic datasets to enable efficient data storage and fast visual performance.
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.
Online places for the Esri community to connect, collaborate, and share experiences:
- See what the imagery community is saying about managing drone imagery.
* Esri's top picks