Many organizations have massive, growing libraries of imagery and raster data. These libraries include source imagery and metadata from multiple sensor platforms and vendors, as well as diverse collections of imagery-derived products. Despite the many potential applications, this imagery is frequently poorly managed, making it difficult to locate, access, query, and share.
The mosaic dataset, created using ArcGIS Pro (or ArcMap), is the basis of image management in ArcGIS. A mosaic dataset is a form of catalog that references the source data, maintains relevant metadata, and defines processing to be applied to the rasters. Mosaic datasets ensure that imagery or raster collections can be easily displayed, queried, analyzed, or shared.
A mosaic dataset provides dynamic mosaicking and on-the-fly processing to generate products. You can use it to manage mosaicking rules, seamlines, raster type, and processing parameters. For supported file formats, the raster type is designed to display an image properly and set up processing parameters with minimal user input. Processing parameters, whether defined manually or by raster type, are specified using raster function templates (RFTs), which apply a processing workflow in-memory for fast, dynamic visualization or analysis.
A mosaic dataset is also optimized for sharing your imagery collection. When served as an image service, it makes the imagery, metadata, and RFTs accessible to desktop, web, and mobile applications. Alternatively, a mosaic dataset can be cached as tile cache and efficiently shared as a static basemap.
Explore the following resources to get started using mosaic datasets to manage your imagery and rasters. (Not sure where to start? Look for the star by Esri's most helpful resources.)
Note:To view mosaic datasets or create tile cache, you'll need ArcGIS Desktop Basic. To create and edit mosaic datasets, you need ArcGIS Desktop Standard or Desktop Advanced. To serve mosaic datasets as dynamic image services, you need ArcGIS Enterprise with 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:
- Explore a gallery of downloadable scripts and tools for managing imagery.
- Read detailed documentation describing best practices for creating mosaic datasets.
- Read detailed documentation describing best practices for structuring and formatting imagery and rasters.
Reference material for ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Enterprise:
- What is a mosaic dataset?
- Find out how to create a mosaic dataset.
- Learn more about using the Mosaic Dataset toolset in ArcGIS Pro to create and manage mosaic datasets.
- Learn more about how raster types support a wide range of sensors.
- Learn how to use raster function templates to define mosaic dataset processing parameters.
- What is an image service?
- Read an overview of the tile cache toolset.
- Find out how to share imagery as an ArcGIS Online tiled map service.
ArcGIS blogs, articles, story maps, and technical papers
Supplemental guidance about concepts, software functionality, and workflows:
- Learn how to georeference items in a mosaic dataset.
Videos that clarify and demonstrate concepts, software functionality, and workflows:
- Watch a technical workshop on managing imagery using mosaic datasets and image services. (1 hour) *
- See how to create a source mosaic dataset from a Collection of Tiled MrSID Files. (12 minutes)
- See how to create a derived mosaic dataset to manage multiple imagery collections together. (12 minutes)
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.
Online places for the Esri community to connect, collaborate, and share experiences:
- See what the imagery community is saying about mosaic datasets.
* Esri's top picks