Stereo mapping in ArcGIS Pro

Available with Image Analyst license.

ArcGIS Pro stereo mapping provides the capabilities to view stereo pairs and collect 3D features. You can collect 3D point, line, and polygon features for various workflows such as parcel editing, creating simple 3D buildings, and measuring distances and heights. For stereo viewing, you can use either active shutter eyewear or red and cyan anaglyph glasses. The stereo map uses the left and right images in the stereo model to establish the stereo display. In anaglyph mode, 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. In active shutter glasses mode, the right and left images are flickered at 120 hertz, synchronized between the monitor and the shutter glasses.

The editing experience in a stereo map is consistent with the standard editing experience in ArcGIS Pro for creating and editing feature class data. While editing, you can use existing layers, symbols, and templates. The output of your feature creation or editing session is saved directly to a geodatabase and can support multiuser concurrent editing workflows.


Stereo mapping requires the ArcGIS Image Analyst extension.

Stereo data sources

Stereo mapping supports satellite data, aerial image data, ADS data, and drone data. The input for the stereo map can be a mosaic dataset that manages a collection of stereo models, or a single stereo model. A stereo model is two images that are taken over the same sensor with an overlap and intersection angle that can form a pair for stereo viewing; the two images must have correct georeferencing and orientation.

The quality of your stereo models can affect results of the features you collected. After the data source is defined for the stereo map, a stereo alignment quality control check should be performed. Add the images to your stereo map and locate an object; if the object in left and right images line up horizontally, the images are geometrically correct for stereo viewing and accurate feature compilation. The software has the capability to manually adjust the Y parallax for correcting the stereo misalignment, but it's recommended that this adjustment be performed using the block adjustment tools before using it in stereo mapping.

Geometrically correct
This image is geometrically correct for stereo viewing and feature compilation.
Geometrically incorrect
This image is not geometrically correct for stereo viewing.

If the images have not been geometrically corrected for stereo viewing, the Ortho Mapping tools can be used to perform block adjustment. The output is an adjusted mosaic dataset generated from an ortho mapping workflow that can be used in stereo mapping after building stereo models.

Recommended Stereo Mapping workflow

If the images have been geometrically adjusted, you can prepare the input by creating a mosaic dataset and adding the images using the appropriate raster type. Then build the stereo model using the Build Stereo Model tool. Stereo viewing relies on pyramids and statistics; therefore, it's recommended that you calculate statistics and build pyramids with bilinear interpolation for your images.


For ADS data, the stereo map can display L1 images directly without additional adjustment.

You can also quickly define a stereo image source using two separate images—a left and a right image—such as a stereo pair provided by satellite data distributers. If you use a stereo pair, make sure that the image pair has the geometric accuracy required for your feature collection. For practical application and better stereo display, use a mosaic dataset to manage the stereo models because satellite data and ADS data both need an elevation for projection metric fitting. With a mosaic dataset, you can define the elevation through the geometric function.

Enable stereo viewing

To enable stereo viewing, you must first turn on the appropriate stereo mode, which is dependent on the type of stereo eyewear you'll be using.

  1. Click the Project tab, and click Options.
  2. On the Options dialog box, click the Display tab.
  3. For Stereoscopic mode, choose either 3D shutter glasses or 3D cyan/red glasses.
  4. Click OK.

    The app restarts with the new settings enabled.

Now you can start your stereo workflow.

Shutter glasses requirements

The following requirements are needed to use active shutter eyewear with stereo mapping:

  • Active NVIDIA 3D Vision glasses and emitter, such as 3D vision kit
  • A NVIDIA 3D Vision-ready graphics card with the Stereoscopic 3D capabilities enabled in the NVIDIA Control Panel.
    • Examples include Quadro 600, K600, K1100M, or similar
    • NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready (3D Vision 1 and 2 kit-compatible) using NVIDIA G-SYNC Technology

      3D Vision panels are a subset of G-SYNC panels.

  • A 3D Vision-capable monitor that has a screen refresh rate of at least 120 Hertz
  • Display port or DVI port on the desktop
  • Operating system must be Windows 8.1 or later


If you are using a laptop, in addition to the above requirements, the output port must be either a dual-link DVI or a DisplayPort.

You can enable the NVIDIA Stereoscopic 3D settings from the NVIDIA Control Panel as follows:

  1. Open the NVIDIA Control Panel.
  2. Expand the Stereoscopic 3D section.
  3. Click Set up stereoscopic 3D.
  4. Check the Enable stereoscopic 3D check box.

Not all NVIDIA graphics cards and drivers support stereoscopic 3D capabilities. Only NVIDIA drivers at or before Release 418 include the 3D vision drivers needed to enable stereoscopic 3D. Click here to find the latest Release 418 driver for your graphics card.

Add stereo images

To start a stereo workflow, you need to have a stereo map view.

To insert a new stereo map, follow the steps below:

  1. Click the Insert tab.
  2. In the Project group, click the New Map button New Map, and click New Stereo Map New Stereo Map.

    When the Stereo Map view is active, the Stereo Map tab is available. The Stereo Map tab has all the tools you need to view and work with the stereo pairs.

  3. Click Set Source Set Source and choose your stereo map input. You can set the source as either Stereo model collection or Stereo model.

    Stereo model collection allows you to choose a mosaic dataset as your stereo source. The mosaic dataset must contain a collection of block-adjusted stereo models. Stereo model allows you to choose a left and right image pair as your stereo source. The stereo pair needs to have either a camera model or RPCs associated with the image data.

  4. Click Add Data Add Data to add other layers you want to view in your stereo view, including the feature layers you want to edit in stereo. Use the Model Selector Model Selector option in the Stereo Model group to open the Stereo Model Selector pane and choose the stereo pair.

See Feature compilation using stereo mapping for details on how to collect or edit feature data in Stereo Mapping mode.

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