Working with image and raster data (ArcObjects .NET 10.6 SDK)
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Working with image and raster data

This topic provides a brief introduction to managing raster data in ArcGIS and describes what is available for developers building their applications with raster data. It covers creating raster data (raster dataset, raster catalog, and mosaic dataset), displaying raster data, serving raster data, and processing raster data.

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Raster data models

ArcGIS manages raster data using the following three data models:
  • Raster dataset—Any supported raster format that is organized in one or multiple bands, such as a TIFF image or a grid. For a list of related topics, see Accessing raster datasets.
  • Raster catalog—A collection of raster datasets that are managed in a table with both geometry and raster fields. A raster catalog can be managed (raster data is loaded to the raster field in the geodatabase) or unmanaged (raster files are referenced in the raster catalog). For a list of related topics, see Working with raster catalogs.
  • Mosaic data—An optimized raster data model that is used to manage a large collection of images. Mosaic datasets store references to the raster files. They do not load pixels to the geodatabase and can ingest many raster formats and multiple sensor types. Mosaic datasets can also ingest services including image services, Web Coverage Service (WCS) capabilities, and cached map services. A unique feature of a mosaic dataset is that it stores the operations that will be applied to the rasters, then processes them on the fly. This dynamic processing capability allows you to create multiple products from one data source. For a list of related topics, see Working with Mosaic datasets.
For more information, see What is raster data? and What is a mosaic dataset?
ArcGIS provides geoprocessing tools for creating raster datasets, raster catalogs, and mosaic datasets. See An overview of the Raster toolset for more information. An easy way to develop applications is to use these geoprocessing tools directly. However, if you have special requirements for loading data or you need to work with pixel blocks in creating data, you need to work with ArcObjects.
ArcGIS supports many formats, which are listed in Supported raster dataset file formats. To add a custom raster format to ArcGIS, you can create a Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL) format driver. For information on creating and configuring a custom raster format for ArcGIS, see Building a customized raster format and Support custom raster formats with GDAL driver.

Displaying raster data

ArcGIS uses raster layers, raster catalog layers, and mosaic layers, as well as raster renderers to display raster data. To understand the display capabilities that ArcGIS offers, see Image Analysis Window and Renderers used to display raster data. To develop applications that can visualize raster data in a stand-alone application using the Map control, you need to work with the ArcObjects raster layer and raster renderer application programming interfaces (APIs). For a list of related topics, see Displaying raster data. Those topics include examples on how to create raster layers, raster catalog layers, mosaic layers, and raster renderers.

Image service and WCS 

Raster data can be published by ArcGIS Server as an image service, a WCS, a Web Map Service (WMS), and a map service. For more information about publishing and consuming image services and WCS capabilities, see About serving raster and image data. For a list of related topics, see Working with image services and WCS services.

Processing raster data

ArcGIS provides rich raster processing capabilities, such as projecting raster data, georeferencing raster data, orthorectifying raster data, and image pan-sharpening. Most of these are available to end users through geoprocessing tools and ArcMap toolbars. See Processing raster data for details on extending raster capabilities through ArcObjects.

See Also:

Accessing raster datasets
Working with raster catalogs
Working with mosaic datasets
Working with image services and WCS services
Processing raster data
Displaying raster data