Skip To Content

Managing preprocessed orthophotos

Preprocessed orthophotos (or orthomosaics) are images with map-like accuracy, generated from satellite, aerial or drone imagery, that have been orthorectified and mosaicked together for a single project. An orthophoto collection may include imagery from a single date, or (for larger projects) imagery may be collected over the course of a year. They are often color-corrected and may be cut into a set of regular tiles (NAIP imagery is a common example). Tiles may overlap, but are typically edge-matched. Orthomosaics from drone imagery will often have areas of black NoData around the edge of the project.

Organizations often manage large collections of orthophotos with different dates, locations, projections, or resolutions, which can be challenging.

Using a mosaic dataset configured to manage orthophotos makes it easier to visualize, query, and analyze large collections of orthophotos. It also makes it easier to share orthophotos with end users and applications. Orthophotos managed with mosaic datasets can be shared two ways:

  1. They can be shared as a three-band, 8-bit raster tile cache (like Esri basemaps). The cache can be created in ArcGIS Pro, then uploaded to ArcGIS Online for hosting and sharing.
  2. If end users will need dynamic access to the imagery (if there are more than three bands, for example, or you want to take advantage of raster functions to include NIR, RGB, and NDVI views), orthophotos can be served as image services using ArcGIS Image Server.

Explore the following resources to learn more about managing preprocessed orthophotos. (Not sure where to start? Look for the star by Esri's most helpful resources.)

To create and edit mosaic datasets or raster tile cache, you'll need ArcGIS Desktop (Standard or Advanced). To serve mosaic datasets as dynamic image services, you'll need ArcGIS Image Server. To host raster tile cache, you can use ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Server.

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:

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.
  • If you plan to manage your satellite imagery in the cloud, or want to optimize the data format for faster access, visit the OptimizeRasters GitHub repo for scripts and tools to optimize data transfer and management.

Esri Community

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

  • See what the imagery community┬áis saying about managing preprocessed orthophotos.

* Esri's top picks

Related topics