Georeference a raster to x,y coordinates

You can georeference a raster to specific x,y or degrees/minutes/seconds (DMS) coordinates. When georeferencing to specific target coordinates, you must choose the appropriate well-defined objects in your images, such as road intersections, crosswalks, or similar ground level features.

To perform this workflow, you must know the ground control points on the source image and the coinciding latitude and longitude coordinates.

Saving the ArcGIS Pro project does not save the current state of a georeferencing session. Export your control points before you close the project.

  1. In ArcGIS Pro, add the source raster that you want to georeference.
  2. In the Contents pane, click the source raster layer you want to georeference.
  3. Right-click the source raster and click Zoom to Layer.
  4. Click the Imagery tab and click Georeference to open the Georeference tab.

    The tools on the Georeference tab are divided into several groups to help you use the correct tools in the different phases of your georeferencing session.

  5. In the Prepare group, click Set SRS Set spatial reference system.

    If your raster dataset already has a spatial reference, it is automatically used as the coordinate system for the map and the georeferencing session. If your raster dataset does not have a spatial reference, the Map Properties dialog box appears, and you can choose the coordinate system for the georeferencing session. The default spatial reference is the current coordinate system of the map.

  6. In the Adjust group, turn off the Auto Apply tool Auto Apply.

    Turn this off so the image does not move each time you create control points.

  7. In the Adjust group, click the Add Control Points tool Add Control Points to create control points.

    To add a control point, first click a location on the raster you are georeferencing (the source layer); then enter the corresponding x- and y- coordinates.

    1. Click a known location in the raster you are georeferencing (the source layer).
    2. Right-click to open the Target Coordinates dialog box.
    3. Enter the corresponding x- and y-coordinates for this location.
    4. Click OK.
  8. Repeat the previous step with all the known coordinate points you have.
  9. On the Transforms drop-down menu Transformation, choose the transformation you want to use.

    Zero-order polynomial

    Minimum of one control point required

    First-order polynomial

    Minimum of three control points required


    Minimum of three control points required

    Projective transformation

    Minimum of four control points required

    Second-order polynomial

    Minimum of six control points required

    Third-order polynomial

    Minimum of ten control points required

    Spline transformation

    Minimum of ten control points required

  10. In the Adjust group, turn on the Auto Apply tool Auto Apply again.

    Turn this on so the image adjusts to the control points that you have just created. You may need to zoom to your layer in case the image is not in the same display extent.

  11. In the Review group, click the Control Point Table button Open Control Point Table to evaluate the residual error for each control point.

    Press the L key to switch the transparency of your source raster on and off.

  12. Delete any unwanted control points using the Control Point table. Alternatively, edit the inaccurate points by selecting them and moving the vertices.
  13. When you're satisfied with the current alignment, stop entering control points.
  14. In the Save group, choose how you want to save your georeferencing information.

    Save Save

    Save the georeferencing information with the raster and its auxiliary files.

    Save as New Save as new

    Create a raster file with the georeferencing information.

    Export Control Points Export Control Points

    Save the control points in a text file.

You can now use your georeferenced raster dataset in your GIS projects.

For more georeferencing workflows, see Georeference historical imagery in ArcGIS Pro.

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