A scanned map is a paper map that is scanned to a digital format. Examples include scanned historical maps, CADRG maps, topographic maps, engineering maps, and bathymetric maps, among others. Organizations may receive maps that have already been scanned, or scan their own paper map archives.
Archives of hardcopy maps are a rich source of geographic data. However, as geographic science migrates to digital formats, these maps often sit in drawers unused. By scanning these maps and managing them using mosaic datasets, they can be used, analyzed, and shared digitally.
Using a mosaic dataset configured to manage scanned maps makes it straightforward to visualize, query, and analyze large collections of scanned maps. You can render the data seamlessly and without collars (or reveal the collar for reference if needed), query the collection, view the maps as time-enabled (if available), and add additional feature data. Often the same area is covered by multiple maps with different dates or versions; using a mosaic dataset lets you define the order the imagery should be displayed. Mosaic datasets also make it simpler to share scanned map collections with end users and applications. Scanned maps managed with mosaic datasets can be shared two ways:
- They can be shared as a static 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.
- If end users or applications will need dynamic access to the imagery (to turn collars on and off, for example, or explore maps through time) scanned maps can be served as image services using ArcGIS Image Server.
Explore the following resources to learn more about managing scanned maps. (Not sure where to start? Look for the star by Esri's most helpful resources.)
Note: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:
- Read a detailed description of best practices for managing scanned maps. *
- Download sample Python scripts for automating the management of scanned maps using best practices. *
- Download sample scanned maps to use with the sample Python sample scripts.
- For users who plan to generate raster tile cache from scanned maps, download these custom geoprocessing tools for supporting raster tile cache.
- Read detailed documentation explaining general best practices for creating mosaic datasets and structuring and formatting imagery and rasters.
Reference material for ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Enterprise:
- Learn more about using mosaic datasets to manage imagery in ArcGIS Pro.
- Read the georeferencing overview (ArcGIS Pro) to learn more about aligning your raster data to a map coordinate system.
- Read about the Tile Cache toolset in ArcGIS Pro to learn how to generate, manage, import, and export tile caches, which can be shared as tile packages on ArcGIS Online or published as tiled map services.
Authoritative learning resources focusing on key ArcGIS skills:
- Watch Managing Raster Data Using ArcGIS (2-hr web course) to learn how to use mosaic datasets 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.
- 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.
Online places for the Esri community to connect, collaborate, and share experiences:
- See what the imagery community is saying about managing scanned maps.
* Esri's top picks