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Ortho mapping workspace for digital aerial imagery

Available with Advanced license.

Creating an ortho mapping workspace computes the interior and exterior orientation for one or more images in your project. If you have imagery from a camera system with metadata that provides accurate interior and exterior orientation information, you can use this workflow. Computing the photogrammetric solution for an aerial image is determined by its exterior orientation which represents a transformation from the ground to the camera and its interior orientation which represents a transformation from camera to image.


Most aerial camera systems provide imaging platform data in the form of longitude, latitude and flying height (X, Y, Z) using airborne GPS data, and orientation data in the form of Omega, Phi, and Kappa using an inertial measurement unit (IMU). These data are provided for each image collected by the airborne sensor, and stored either in the header of the image or in a separate metadata file.

The Ortho Mapping Workspace wizard allows you to create an ortho mapping workspace for your digital aerial imagery, such as Applanix, ISAT, and Match-AT raster types. For aerial imagery from generic digital mapping camera systems such as UltraCam, Leica DMS, Intergraph DMC or similar, you need to create a camera table that defines the camera model and resulting interior orientation, and frame table that defines the exterior orientation of the images. These tables are also created using the Ortho Mapping Workspace wizard as described in the workflow below.

For the exterior orientation, you must provide image names, and perspective points (X, Y, Z), Omega, Phi, and Kappa in a tabular form or an Esri frames table. For interior orientation, input your camera type information for supported cameras, or input the required camera parameters such as focal length, pixel size, principal point, and lens distortion from your camera calibration report. See Build Frame and Camera Tables, Frames table schema and Cameras table schema for more information.

Create an ortho mapping workspace using frame camera imagery

You can create the digital aerial mapping workspace for your project using the wizard that guides you through the workflow.

  1. On the Imagery tab, click New Workspace.
  2. On the Workspace Configuration page, type a name for your workspace.
  3. Use the Workspace Type drop-down arrow to choose Aerial - Digital.
  4. Click Next.
  5. On the Image Collection page, choose Generic Frame Camera as the Sensor Type.
    • If you have Match-AT, ISAT, or Applanix raster type data, choose the corresponding Sensor Type .
  6. Specify the Exterior Orientation File / Esri Frames Table. This table enables specification of parameters that compute the exterior orientation (EO) of your imagery. It is a .csv file generated by the Build Frame and Camera Tables tool. If you do not have a frames table, you can select your .csv metadata file associated with your image collection.

    If you input an Exterior Orientation File that is not an Esri Frames Table file, the Frames page will open for you to input field mapping information. The Frames page is the same page incorporated in the Build Frame and Camera Tables tool.

  7. The Spatial Reference parameter will be automatically set by the spatial reference of the perspective points defined in the Esri Frames Table. If the Spatial Reference parameter is not specified, click the Spatial Reference icon spatial reference to set the spatial reference to be the same coordinate system as the perspective points.
  8. Specify the Cameras table file. This is the .csv file that contains the camera configuration information, generated using the Build Frame and Camera Tables tool.

    If you Add a camera Add, or Import Import a camera file that does not conform to the camera table schema generated by the Build Frame and Camera Tables tool, the Add New Camera page will open for you to enter the camera information. The Calibration tab on the Add New Camera page is where you enter the camera information, usually available from the manufacturer.

    Use the Distortion tab to enter the camera distortion information, if available. This type of information is often available in the camera calibration report when your mapping camera is calibrated.

    You can use the Export button Export on the Source Data Properties tab to store the camera calibration parameters as an Esri Cameras Table for future use.

  9. Optionally, click the Data Loader Options tab on the Image Collection page to further refine your output workspace.
    1. Creating an ortho mapping workspace from aerial imagery needs elevation data. The DEM parameter wizard provides an elevation service with a 90 meter resolution by default. You can use a different DEM service or file by navigating to it. Choose your Elevation Source.
      • If you have access to the internet, use the default elevation service for the DEM parameter, and Average Elevation from DEM for the Elevation Source option.
      • If you do not have access to the internet, provide a DEM file covering the project area, and choose Average Elevation for the Elevation Source option.
    2. Check the Estimate Statistics check box to estimate the statistics for your output workspace.
    3. Edit the Band Combination parameters, if you want to reorder the band combination from the default order.
    4. Choose either of the Pre-processing options to Calculate Statistics or Build Pyramids on your data before your create your workspace.
  10. Click Finish to create the workspace.

When the ortho mapping workspace is created, the image collection will be loaded in the workspace and displayed on the map. You are now ready to perform adjustments and generate ortho products.

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