Register Raster (Data Management)


Automatically aligns a raster to a reference image or uses a control point file for georegistration. If the input dataset is a mosaic dataset, the tool will operate on each mosaic dataset item. To automatically register the image, the input raster and the reference raster must be in a relatively close geographic area. The tool will run faster if the raster datasets are in close alignment. You may need to create a link file, also known as a control point file, with a few links to get your input raster into the same map space.


  • The input raster will have its georeferencing information updated.

  • A control point table can be created using the Georeference tab.

  • The Reset keyword (register_mode = "RESET" in Python) allows you to remove any geographic transformation that has been applied using this tool.

  • This tool allows you to register all the items within a mosaic dataset, a subset of items, or a single item within a mosaic dataset. If you only want to register a specific item, you will need to enter the full path of the mosaic dataset and a unique query for the item you want to update.

    The following are examples of how to choose an item within a mosaic dataset as your input raster:

    • \\Myserver\MyFolder\MyMosaicDataset\OBJECTID=1
    • \\Myserver\MyFolder\MyMosaicDataset\NAME='tileName01'

    If you want to choose a subset of the items, you can make a selection on the mosaic dataset layer.

  • When the input raster is a mosaic dataset with pan-sharpened items, this tool can register the multispectral raster to the panchromatic raster when you choose the Register multispectral keyword within the Register Mode parameter (register_mode = "REGISTER_MS" in Python). Make sure you leave the Reference Raster and the Input Link File parameters empty.


RegisterRaster(in_raster, register_mode, {reference_raster}, {input_link_file}, {transformation_type}, {output_cpt_link_file}, {maximum_rms_value})
ParameterExplanationData Type

The raster that you want to realign. Registering a mosaic dataset item will update that particular item within the mosaic dataset.

A mosaic dataset item will have the path to the mosaic dataset followed by the Object ID of the item. For example, the first item in the mosaic dataset would have the following path: .\mosaicDataset\objectid=1.

Mosaic Layer; Raster Dataset; Raster Layer

Choose the registration mode. You can either register the raster with a transformation or reset the transformation.

  • REGISTERApply a geometric transformation to the input raster.
  • REGISTER_MSRegister the multispectral input to the panchromatic input. This is only used for mosaic datasets that have a misalignment between the two.
  • RESET Remove the geometric transformation previously added by this tool.
  • CREATE_LINKSCreate a link file with automatically generated links.

Choose the raster dataset that will align the input raster dataset. Leave this parameter empty if you want to register your multispectral mosaic dataset items to their associated panchromatic raster datasets.

Image Service; Internet Tiled Layer; Map Server Layer; MapServer; Mosaic Layer; Raster Dataset; Raster Layer; WMS Map

The file that has the coordinates to link the input raster dataset with the reference. The input link table works with one mosaic item in the mosaic layer. The input must specify which item is being processed, either selecting the item or specifying the ObjectID in the input. Leave this parameter empty to register multispectral mosaic dataset items with the associated panchromatic raster datasets.

Text File

The method for shifting the raster dataset.

  • POLYORDER0 This method uses a zero-order polynomial to shift your data. This is commonly used when your data is already georeferenced, but a small shift will better line up your data. Only one link is required to perform a zero-order polynomial shift.
  • POLYSIMILARITY This is a first-order transformation that attempts to preserve the shape of the original raster. The RMS error tends to be higher than other polynomial transformations because the preservation of shape is more important than the best fit.
  • POLYORDER1A first-order polynomial (affine) fits a flat plane to the input points.
  • POLYORDER2A second-order polynomial fits a somewhat more complicated surface to the input points.
  • POLYORDER3A third-order polynomial fits a more complicated surface to the input points.
  • ADJUST This method combines a polynomial transformation and uses a triangulated irregular network (TIN) interpolation technique to optimize for both global and local accuracy.
  • SPLINE This method transforms the source control points precisely to the target control points. In the output, the control points will be accurate, but the raster pixels between the control points are not.
  • PROJECTIVE This method warps lines so they remain straight. In doing so, lines that were once parallel may no longer remain parallel. The projective transformation is especially useful for oblique imagery, scanned maps, and for some imagery products.
  • FRAMEThis method uses an image resection algorithm on aerial images. The image resection algorithm refines the exterior orientation (perspective, omega, phi, and kappa) of the image from known ground control points, using a least-square fitting method. Each image must have at least three noncollinear points. When the input is a mosaic dataset, it will register the selected images one at a time.

If specified, a text file will be written containing the links created by this tool. This file can be used in the Warp From File tool. The output link table works with one mosaic dataset item in the mosaic layer. The input must specify which item is being processed, either selecting the item or specifying the ObjectID in the input.

Text File

Set the amount of modeled error (in pixels) that you want in the output. The default is 0.5, and values below 0.3 are not recommended as this leads to overfitting.


Derived Output

NameExplanationData Type

The output raster dataset.

Raster Dataset

Code sample

RegisterRaster example 1 (Python window)

This is a Python sample for the RegisterRaster tool.

import arcpy
     "\\cpu\data\nonref.tif", "REGISTER", "\\cpu\data\yesref.tif",
     "\\cpu\data\links.txt", "POLYORDER1", "#")
RegisterRaster example 2 (stand-alone script)

This is a Python script sample for the RegisterRaster tool.

# Register raster using only control points

import arcpy
arcpy.env.workspace = "C:/Workspace"
rdname = "irs_ps.img"
mode = "REGISTER"
refrd = ""
linkfile = "C:/Workspace/irs_controls_13.txt"
order = "POLYORDER2"
     rdname, mode, refrd, linkfile, order)

Licensing information

  • Basic: Yes
  • Standard: Yes
  • Advanced: Yes

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