Skip To Content

Visualizing stereo imagery

Stereoscopy is the science of using overlapping imagery acquired from different locations to produce a 3D model that emulates true binocular vision. The technique was developed to identify and accurately measure topography and ground features visible in aerial photographs. The main applications of photogrammetric stereo techniques are the identification, measurement, and manual digitization of 3D features from vertical overhead imagery, including:

  • Buildings, infrastructure, forest stands, and other ground features
  • Topography, slopes, landforms, elevation points, and breaklines due to abrupt topographic discontinuities.

To view and exploit stereo imagery, you need specialized software for viewing stereo pairs and collecting 3D features. You also need suitable imagery with appropriate orientation data, associated data models, and specialized hardware.

The stereo mapping capability in the ArcGIS Image Analyst extension for ArcGIS Pro is designed for analysts to view stereoscopic imagery and collect 3D features, improving image interpretation. You'll also benefit from an integrated stereo workflow, with no need for a separate photogrammetric package and no data conversion. Stereo mapping also leverages the familiar editing experience in ArcGIS Pro—you can use existing layers, symbols, and templates, and the output of your feature creation or editing session is saved directly to a geodatabase. Esri also provides guidance regarding supported data sources, hardware requirements, and the associated data models needed to manage stereo.

Explore the following resources to get started visualizing and exploiting stereo imagery in ArcGIS Pro. (Not sure where to start? Look for the star by Esri's most helpful resources.)


To view and edit mosaic datasets, you need ArcGIS Desktop Standard or Desktop Advanced. To enable stereo mapping in ArcGIS Pro, you need the ArcGIS Image Analyst extension.

To view stereo, you need one of the following: anaglyph (red/blue) glasses, or shutter glasses. (To use shutter glasses, you also need a graphics card with stereoscopic capability and a suitable monitor with a minimum screen refresh rate of 120 hertz (like this). For more information, see hardware specs.)

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:

ArcGIS blogs, articles, story maps, and white papers

Supplemental guidance about concepts, software functionality, and workflows:


Esri-produced videos that clarify and demonstrate concepts, software functionality, and workflows:

Esri Community

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

* Esri's top picks

Related topics