Skip To Content

About converting from raster data

You can convert raster data to polygon, line, or point features. Select the appropriate feature type based on what the raster data represents.

You can also convert raster data to other file formats.

Converting raster data to polygons

When you convert a raster dataset containing area features, each group of contiguous cells with the same values converts to a polygon. Arcs are created from cell borders in the raster. NoData cells in the input raster do not become polygons in the output.

The following is a raster image (left) and what it looks like once converted to polygons (right):

Input raster to convert to polygons
Input raster to convert
Polygon features converted from raster
Output polygon feature data

Learn how to convert using the Raster to Polygon tool

Converting raster data to polylines

When you convert a raster dataset containing linear features, a polyline is created from each cell in the input raster dataset. The polyline is positioned so that it passes through the center of each cell. NoData cells in the input raster dataset do not become features in the output.

The following is a raster image (left) and what it looks like once converted to polyline features (right):

Input raster to convert to polylines
Input raster to convert
Polyline features converted from raster
Output polyline feature data

Learn how to convert using the Raster to Polyline tool

Converting raster data to points

When you convert a raster dataset containing point features, each cell in the input raster dataset converts to a point in the output. Each new point is positioned at the center of the cell it represents. NoData cells do not convert to points.

The following is a raster image (left) and what it looks like once converted to point features (right):

Input raster to convert
Input raster to convert to points
Point features converted from raster
Output point feature data

Learn how to convert using the Raster to Point tool

Converting raster data to other file types

Raster datasets can also be converted to other file types. Usually, these files simply hold the values of the raster dataset. Files with ASCII or floating-point values are examples of these types of files.

ASCII files consist of header information containing a set of keywords, followed by cell values in a row order. The information in an ASCII file is saved in a text file.

Float files are similar to ASCII files but contain floating-point values. Floating-point values are values that have decimal precision. These values can be either positive or negative. Float files are stored in a 32-bit signed binary file.