Warp (Data Management)


Transforms a raster dataset using source and target control points. This is similar to georeferencing.


Example of two-dimensional coordinate transformations


  • You must specify the source and target coordinates. The transformation type (polynomial order) from which to choose is dependent on the number of control points entered.

  • The default polynomial order will perform an affine transformation.

  • Warp is useful when the raster requires a systematic geometric correction that can be modeled with a polynomial. A spatial transformation can invert or remove a distortion using polynomial transformation of the proper order. The higher the order, the more complex the distortion that can be corrected. The higher orders of polynomial will involve progressively more processing time.

  • To determine the minimum number of links necessary for a given order of polynomial, use the following formula:

    n = (p + 1) (p + 2) / 2

    where n is the minimum number of links required for a transformation of polynomial order p. It is recommended that you use more than the minimum number of links.

  • This tool will determine the extent of the warped raster and will set the number of rows and columns to be about the same as in the input raster. Some minor differences may be due to the changed proportion between the output raster's sizes in the x and y directions. The default cell size used will be computed by dividing the extent by the previously determined number of rows and columns. The value of the cell size will be used by the resampling algorithm.

  • If you choose to define an output cell size in the Environment settings, the number of rows and columns will be calculated as follows:

    columns = (xmax - xmin) / cell size
    rows = (ymax - ymin) / cell size
  • You can save your output to BIL, BIP, BMP, BSQ, DAT, Esri Grid , GIF, IMG, JPEG, JPEG 2000, PNG, TIFF, MRF, CRF, or any geodatabase raster dataset.

  • When storing your raster dataset to a JPEG file, a JPEG 2000 file, or a geodatabase, you can specify a Compression Type and Compression Quality in the Environments.

  • This tool supports multidimensional raster data. To run the tool on each slice in the multidimensional raster and generate a multidimensional raster output, be sure to save the output to CRF.

    Supported input multidimensional dataset types include multidimensional raster layer, mosaic dataset, image service, and CRF.


Warp(in_raster, source_control_points, target_control_points, out_raster, {transformation_type}, {resampling_type})
ParameterExplanationData Type

The raster to be transformed.

Mosaic Layer; Raster Layer

The coordinates of the raster to be warped.


The coordinates to which the source raster will be warped.


The name, location, and format for the dataset you are creating. When storing a raster dataset in a geodatabase, do not add a file extension to the name of the raster dataset. When storing your raster dataset to a JPEG file, JPEG 2000 file, TIFF file, or geodatabase, you can specify a compression type and compression quality.

When storing the raster dataset in a file format, you need to specify the file extension:

  • .bilEsri BIL
  • .bipEsri BIP
  • .bmp—BMP
  • .bsqEsri BSQ
  • .dat—ENVI DAT
  • .gif—GIF
  • .jpg—JPEG
  • .jp2—JPEG 2000
  • .png—PNG
  • .tif—TIFF
  • .mrf—MRF
  • .crf—CRF
  • No extension for Esri Grid
Raster Dataset

Specifies the transformation 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.

The resampling algorithm to be used. The default is Nearest.

  • NEAREST Nearest neighbor is the fastest resampling method; it minimizes changes to pixel values since no new values are created. It is suitable for discrete data, such as land cover.
  • BILINEAR Bilinear interpolation calculates the value of each pixel by averaging (weighted for distance) the values of the surrounding four pixels. It is suitable for continuous data.
  • CUBIC Cubic convolution calculates the value of each pixel by fitting a smooth curve based on the surrounding 16 pixels. This produces the smoothest image but can create values outside of the range found in the source data. It is suitable for continuous data.
  • MAJORITYMajority resampling determines the value of each pixel based on the most popular value in a 3 by 3 window. Suitable for discrete data.

The Nearest and Majority options are used for categorical data, such as a land-use classification. The Nearest option is the default since it is the quickest and also because it will not change the cell values. Do not use either of these for continuous data, such as elevation surfaces.

The Bilinear option and the Cubic option are most appropriate for continuous data. It is recommended that neither of these be used with categorical data because the cell values may be altered.


Code sample

Warp example 1 (Python window)

This is a Python sample for the Warp tool.

import arcpy
from arcpy import env
env.workspace = "c:/data"
source_pnt = "'234718 3804287';'241037 3804297';'244193 3801275'"
target_pnt = "'246207 3820084';'270620 3824967';'302634 3816147'"
arcpy.Warp_management("raster.img", source_pnt, target_pnt, "warp.tif", "POLYORDER1",\
Warp example 2 (stand-alone script)

This is a Python script sample for the Warp tool.

##Usage: Warp_management in_raster source_control_points;source_control_points... 
##                       target_control_points;target_control_points... out_raster
##                       {POLYORDER_ZERO | POLYORDER1 | POLYORDER2 | POLYORDER3 | 
##                       ADJUST | SPLINE | PROJECTIVE} {NEAREST | BILINEAR | 
##                       CUBIC | MAJORITY}

import arcpy

arcpy.env.workspace = r"C:/Workspace"

##Warp a TIFF raster dataset with control points
##Define source control points
source_pnt = "'234718 3804287';'241037 3804297';'244193 3801275'"

##Define target control points
target_pnt = "'246207 3820084';'270620 3824967';'302634 3816147'"

arcpy.Warp_management("raster.img", source_pnt, target_pnt, "warp.tif", "POLYORDER2",\

Licensing information

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

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