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Stereo map

Available with Image Analyst license.

A stereo map is a stereoscopy-enabled map that provides stereo vision through a stereo model, which is composed of two images of the same geographic area taken from two different locations. Binocular stereo vision facilitates better image interpretation than singular mono vision. With stereo display, you can perceive 3D depth, such as slopes and topography, complex building structures, feature heights and elevation, and you can collect 3D features from the stereo images in the ArcGIS Pro stereo map.

A stereo map's data source is a stereo model consisting of a stereo image pair, or a collection of stereo models managed as a mosaic dataset. The stereo mosaic dataset is created as a workspace in the Ortho Mapping application and must be block adjusted to derive the stereo model.

The stereo map uses the left and right images in the stereo model to establish the stereo display, where one band from the left image is displayed in the red channel and two bands from the right image are displayed in the blue and green channels. ArcGIS Pro supports two types of stereo display using anaglyph red and cyan glasses or active shutter eyewear. The minimum speed requirement for shutter glasses is 120 hertz.

Stereo Map view with
Stereo Map view with anaglyph stereo pair and model selector pane.

A stereo map has a projection that is defined by the current stereo model. The spatial reference of the map cannot be changed, but the stereo map can display the supported layer in any projection. If the layers have a different coordinate system than the stereo map, they are projected on the fly to the spatial reference of the stereo map. The best practice is to avoid reprojection when possible.

When a stereo pair is loaded, the Stereo Map view displays two images where the epipolar lines are parallel to the x-axis. The stereo cursor always returns to x, y, and z, which are displayed in the stereo view status in current projection units. If no vertical datum is defined, the z-unit will be the same as that defined in the mosaic dataset.

Stereo Map tab

The Stereo Map tab contains several groups: Clipboard, Navigate, Stereo Source, Layer, Stereo Display, Stereo Model, Cursor Type, Subviews, and Inquiry.

The Clipboard, Navigate, and Layer groups are duplicated from the map view. The Inquiry group contains the Locate and Measure tools. The other groups are unique to the stereo workflow.

Stereo Source

The Stereo Source group has a split button to set and clear the stereo source. When a stereo map is initiated, you need to identify the data source for the stereo project. The Set Source button Set Source allows you to choose which stereo images to use in your project. You can choose a mosaic dataset or an image pair. When the stereo source is loaded, the first stereo pair of the mosaic data is used by default. Once you choose your stereo source, you can use the various stereo tools on the source images and perform your stereo workflow.

A stereo map can only have one stereo source. If the stereo map already has a stereo source defined, the new stereo source will replace the previous stereo source. If the source mosaic dataset does not have a stereo model built, the system gives you a warning message to build a stereo model before it can be used as a stereo source. When you use two images as your stereo source, ArcGIS Pro checks the files for rational polynomial coefficients (RPCs), frame camera models, and overlap between the two images. If any of the necessary requirements are missing, you are notified.

When you are finished using the current stereo source and you want to remove it from the stereo map, use the Clear Source button, which is located in the menu below Set Source Set Source.

Stereo Display

Stereo Display group

The Stereo Display group has tools to set up your selected image pairs for your stereo workflow. The Display Mode has a drop down menu to choose how to display your stereo pairs. The Default Display both option will display both images. If you only want to see the left or the right image, click the Left Image Only button Left Only or the Right Image Only button Right Only, respectively. None Display none will not display either of the stereo images.

If your stereo pairs are in the wrong order and you want to swap the left and right images, you can click Invert Invert.

Display Stretch Stretch Type opens the Stereo Model Symbology pane, allowing you to adjust the image display setting for the left and right images. You can adjust the brightness, contrast, and gamma for each image. Additionally, you can adjust symbology settings such as band combination, contrast stretch, and dynamic range adjustment. If the settings for both the left and the right images are the same, you can check on the Use same settings for both images check box, then make your display adjustments for both images simultaneously.

Zoom to Stereo Model Zoom to Model updates the map display with the chosen stereo pair. This is helpful when you are exploring the map and you want to return focus to the extent of the stereo pairs.

The Resolution drop-down list allows you to set the display scale based on a factor of the current stereo model's resolution. These resolution choices help you work at the same level of detail for all your stereo models.

Stereo Model

Stereo Model group

The stereo model collection can include many stereo pairs. The Stereo Model group has the tools to choose the stereo pair you want to work with in the stereo source. The Stereo Model Selector button Model Selector opens the Stereo Model Selector pane, which allows you to manage and select stereo pairs to work with. The top of this pane displays the footprints of all the stereo pairs in your stereo source. The bottom of the pane lists all the available stereo pairs, which can be filtered by polygon, map extent, or attribute. For more information about the Stereo Model Selector pane, see Stereo Model Selector pane.

Stereo Model Selector pane

The other tools in the Stereo Model group gives you different ways to choose which stereo pair to work with. Best Stereo Model Best Model displays the most appropriate stereo pair based on your location in the map display and the stereo model metadata. Next Stereo Model Next Model displays the next stereo pair in the stereo model based on the current sorting order. Conversely, Previous Stereo Model Previous Model displays the previous stereo pair in the stereo model based on the current sorting order. Undo Stereo Model Undo Model goes back to the previous stereo pair that was displayed in the map. Redo Stereo Model Redo Model shows the next stereo pair that you were working with in the stereo map.

Cursor Type

There are seven different cursor shapes you can choose from:

  • Box Dot Box Dot
  • Circle Dot Circle Dot
  • Cross Dot Cross Dot
  • Cross only Cross Only
  • Dot Dot
  • X Dot X Dot
  • X Only X Only

Each cursor shape has its pros and cons, but it is mainly a personal preference as to which one to use.

Sub Views

Sub Views group

The Sub Views group has tools to help you view stereo imagery in the following windows:

  • Overview
  • Magnifier

The Overview window Overview shows the zoomed-out location of your current extent. This can help you navigate around the stereo pairs in your project without leaving your current stereo display resolution. The Magnifier window Magnifier shows a zoomed-in view of the location of your cursor. This can help you view an object closely, without having to leave your current stereo display resolution.

Stereo map navigation

In the Stereo Map view, you can change the cursor's location by moving it to the desired x and y location. To change the z location (height), you can rotate the mouse wheel to change the cursor's z-value. Click the left mouse button to enter the current 3D point.

You can use the standard Pan and Zoom tools to navigate around your stereo map. The multiple predefined pixel resolution scales allow you to quickly navigate to the desired display scale. The 1 : Square root of 2 scale is often an optimal scale for stereo display clarity.

Sometimes you will need to adjust the X parallax to see the features clearly, or if you want to zoom in to or out from features. You can also adjust the Y parallax if the adjustment accuracy of the stereo model is limited.

The following table lists the navigation keys used to manipulate the cursor and the display:

TaskMouse or keyboard operation


Left-click mouse button and drag.

Decelerated change in XY

Turn on Caps Lock and move the mouse in the desired direction. Turn off Caps Lock to return to the standard speed of change in XY.

Accelerated change in XY

Hold the Shift key and move the mouse in the desired direction.


Press and hold the Q key, and move the mouse in the desired direction.

Zoom in/Zoom out

There are several ways to change the zoom factor:

  • Press and hold the Ctrl key and roll the mouse wheel.
  • Use the tools in the Navigate group.
  • Use the + and - keys.

Change the z-value

Roll the mouse wheel. To increase the z-value, rotate the wheel backward. To decrease the z-value, rotate the wheel forward.

Alternatively, hold the Z key and move the mouse horizontally. To increase the z-value (height), move the mouse to the right. To decrease the z-value, move the mouse to the left.

Accelerated change in Z

Hold the Shift key and roll the mouse wheel.

Alternatively, to change the z-value 15 times faster, hold the Shift + Z keys and move the mouse either left or right.

Decelerated change in Z

Turn on Caps Lock and roll the mouse wheel.

Alternatively, to change the z-value five times slower, turn on Caps Lock, hold the Z key, and move the mouse left or right.

Roaming cursor mode/Fixed cursor mode

Press F8 to switch between the roaming cursor mode and the fixed cursor mode.

Fixed cursor mode off/Fixed cursor mode on

Press the key containing ~ to switch the fixed cursor mode off.

This will turn off the fixed cursor mode to allow you to perform other tasks. To return to the fixed cursor mode, press the ~ key again.


There is no need to press the Shift key, just press the key containing the tilde ~ key.

This shortcut applies to US standard keyboards. Other types of keyboards may have a different character on the key. For detailed information, check which key the VK_OEM_3 (Microsoft virtual key code) is mapped to for your keyboard.

Adjust the x-parallax

Press and hold Ctrl + Left arrow or Ctrl + Right arrow to change the x-parallax. The two images move towards or away from each other in the X (horizontal) direction.

Alternatively, hold the V key while you move your mouse to the left or the right.

Adjust the y-parallax

Press and hold Ctrl + Up arrow or Ctrl + Down arrow to change the y-parallax. The two images move towards or away from each other in the Y (vertical) direction.

Reset to the default parallax

Press the Ctrl + F7 keys to return the parallax back to the default.

Set source as the best model

Press the M key.

Pan to the center of the stereo pair

Press the E key.

Open the Overview window

Press the O key.

Open the Magnifier window

Press the G key.

For more keyboard shortcuts, see Keyboard shortcuts for navigation and Keyboard shortcuts for editing.

The Stereo Map view supports two cursor modes: a roaming cursor Roaming cursor and a fixed cursor Fixed cursor. A roaming cursor is typical cursor behavior, when you move the mouse, the cursor moves; this is the default behavior. A fixed cursor, stays in the center of the display and the imagery roams in the direction you move the mouse. The fixed cursor is efficient when collecting features since it reduces the need to pan in the map. While in the fixed cursor mode, you can temporarily switch to the roaming cursor mode by pressing the F8 key.

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