Get started with image and raster processing

ArcGIS Pro contains many tools that work with raster and imagery data. Regardless of whether your pixel-based data is an image from a satellite, an aerial sensor, a raster dataset representing gravitational modeling, or a DEM, there are many ways that you can work with this data when performing analysis.

If the data you are displaying is satellite imagery, it's likely supported as a raster product within ArcGIS. Raster products have a few different templates with various band operation already performed on the fly.

Raster functions

Using raster functions is a straight forwarded and efficient way to process and analyze your rasters in ArcGIS. Raster functions are operations that apply processing directly to the pixels of imagery and raster datasets, as opposed to geoprocessing tools, which write out a new raster to disk. Calculations are applied to the pixels of the original data as the raster is displayed, so only pixels that are visible on your screen are processed. A raster function can be applied to all types of rasters, and the output will be a virtual raster layer.

The Imagery tab provides access to functions that you can use to perform analysis and process your data. The Process gallery contains some of most commonly used functions. It is a subset of the entire suite of raster functions, but these process functions are set up for quick access and analysis and allow you to recognize the difference between two selected raster layers or to mosaic multiple rasters into one. The Indices gallery contains multiple indices that can be used to analyze multiband data, such as performing a Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI) or a Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR). The Imagery tab also provides access to the Raster Functions pane , which contains many raster functions to process and analyze your imagery and raster data. You can modify these functions to control how they process your raster data. You can chain functions together to perform more complex analysis.

Ortho mapping

The tools and capabilities provided in the ortho mapping suite of capabilities focus on aerial photogrammetry products to support map generation and revision, change detection, and other feature extraction applications. These tools allow users to take their aerial or satellite imagery and process it to produce a variety of products.


If you are interested in land use or land coverage, ArcGIS Pro has tools that help classify imagery. The Classification Wizard guides you through the steps to classify your data. To learn more about image classification, see Overview of image classification.

Distributed analysis

Portal for ArcGIS has been enhanced with the ability to perform distributed server-based processing on imagery and raster data. This technology enables you to process large raster data faster even at full resolution and full extent. If you are connected to such a portal, you can use raster functions to perform distributed raster analysis.


Geoprocessing is the traditional way to process raster and image data. The raster-related geoprocessing tools are dispersed in various toolsets in the geoprocessing toolboxes. The majority of the raster tools are located in the Data Management toolbox in the Raster toolset. To learn more about geoprocessing, see What is geoprocessing?


There are many ways to use raster data in analysis operations. When performing these operations, your main concern will be how the data is represented by the values of the pixels; therefore, you will be performing operations that manipulate these values. There are many tools that allow you to work with raster data for data management, conversion, transformation, and analysis. If you require additional tools to perform more specific analysis, you can use one of the following extensions:

  • ArcGIS 3D Analyst extension—Allows you to effectively visualize, analyze, and generate surface data and provides the tools for 3D modeling and analysis.
  • ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst extension—Provides the capability for surface modeling using deterministic and geostatistical methods.
  • ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension—Provides a comprehensive set of advanced spatial modeling and analysis tools that allow you to perform integrated raster and vector analysis.

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