Category: Imagery

Welcome to the Imagery Blog!

We’re excited to be launching a new Imagery Blog. Originally, most of your image and raster related blog postings were found on the Geodatabase Blog or the Server Blog. Now we have a blog section specifically for the imagery and raster community.

The scope of this blog will range from introductory information regarding general raster functionality to some more advanced topics and developer related material. We’ll be blogging on things like best practices, new and existing functionality, example workflows and updates from events team members are part of.

Also, when new help documentation or SDK content is written we’ll post it on here first, not only so that you’ll know it’s available, but also to give you a fresh first glance.

On top of this there will be other media content such as:

  • Code Examples
  • Graphics
  • Instructional Videos
  • Power Point Presentations
  • Podcasts
  • Etc…

This blog is written by three development teams: Core Raster, 3D Analyst, and Spatial Analyst. Hopefully this blog will become a valuable resource for the user community and the development teams. We appreciate and encourage any feedback that you may have for us on here.



By: Simon Woo

Posted in Analysis & Geoprocessing, Imagery, Services | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Symbolizing the bump map

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Bump Map Symbology thumbnail

In our previous blog post, we introduced the ArcGIS Bump Map tools and described the structure of the model and how to run it. Now we want to talk about how you can symbolize the results and use additional tools to create stunning bump maps!  The Bump Map Tools can be downloaded from the ArcGIS Resources-Model & Scripts page of Mapping Center. Symbolizing the results of bump mapping involves three steps – 1) symbolizing the hillshade, 2) symbolizing the elevation with a hypsometric tint, and 3) symbolizing the vegetation overlay with a layer tint or other color. Continue reading

Posted in Imagery, Mapping | Tagged | 1 Comment

Introducing the ArcGIS bump map tools

By Rajinder Nagi, Esri Research Cartographer

Bump Map thumbnail

We are pleased to announce the release of the new ArcGIS Bump Map Tools! This new toolbox contains tools to help you create and symbolize “bump maps” which are used by cartographers to add texture to a hillshaded surface. This technique is most often used to give the illusion of a realistic vegetated surface, though Jeff Nighbert has also talked in some of his papers and presentations about using it to represent rocky outcrops and other surfaces as well. Jeff introduced the technique to ArcInfo users at the 2003 Esri User Conference.

Continue reading

Posted in Imagery, Mapping | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Mathematical relationships among map scale, raster data resolution, and map display resolution

By Dr. A Jon Kimerling, Professor Emeritus, Oregon State University

Resolution Diagram thumb

If you have used any raster data to make maps you may have at one time or another asked yourself, “What is the appropriate resolution of raster data for the map I am making?” This question is tied closely to a basic principle of map compilation that you may have learned in your beginning cartography course: “Always compile your map from source materials of the same or larger map scales”. In our age of digital elevation models and other raster datasets, this basic principle of map compilation can be restated as: “Always create your raster map from data at the same or higher spatial resolution than the ground resolution of your map display grid cells”. The ground resolution of your map display grid cells will depend on the scale of your map. Continue reading

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Symbolizing the hillshade for the World Topographic map

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Symbolizing the Hillshade thumb

One of the things I promised myself that I would do last summer was write about some of the key design solutions used in the World Topographic Base Map. Our symbolization of the hillshade is one of the design characteristics that most distinguishes this map. The design intent was two-fold: 1) show shading similar to how hachures were used on hand-drawn maps [to see what I mean one of my favorite 18th century maps depicting the Battle of Bunker or properly Breeds Hill is a good example], and 2) display the low slope areas in white because this creates a ”non-competitive” background for data that is mashed up on this base map. Continue reading

Posted in Imagery, Mapping | Tagged | 3 Comments

Hillshades for analysis maps

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Hillshades for Analysis Maps Thumbnail

It is often useful to use a hillshade raster to show terrain to support other information in a map such as an analytical surface like population density, or a thematic overlay like soils. There is one significant problem with this; however, which is that the shading from the hillshade modifies the colors of the main information layer making them artificially dark or washed out. That makes map reading and applying what you learn from a legend a frustrating task.

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Hypsometric tinting

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Hypso Tinting - Thumb

Hypsometric tinting (also called layer tinting, elevation tinting, elevation coloring or hypsometric coloring) is used to enhance elevation zones so map readers can better see differences in relief. You can think of it as “coloring between the lines” where the lines are contours (lines of equal elevation) or isobaths (lines of equal depth below the surface of a body of water). Hypsometric tints are often laid transparently over a hillshaded surface. Continue reading

Posted in Imagery, Mapping | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Choosing color ramps and displaying for hillshade rasters

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer


Using ArcMap to symbolize a hillshade raster layer (the output of the Spatial or 3D Analyst’s Hillshade tool) is pretty straightforward, and the default symbology (black to white ramp) doesn’t look too bad. In fact, if your hillshade layer is the only layer in your map, and if you don’t mind not seeing some of the details that have been visually absorbed into the darker tones, the default symbology is okay. To be fair, the default symbology for hillshades is useful for much more than just terrain depictions, so it’s good to know what might be helpful when depicting terrain with a hillshade. The image to the left is an example of a hillshade using the default color ramp. Continue reading

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Setting the Z Factor parameter correctly

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Z factor - Thumbnail

We set the Z-Factor parameter based on our latitude.

The Z-Factor parameter is in many Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst tools; Hillshade and Slope are the two that I use most. Not setting the Z-Factor correctly makes the hillshades look heavy or leaden. It will also make slope values, e.g., for percent slope very small, like 0.00023% – 0.00032% instead of 1.8% to 7.2%.

Continue reading

Posted in Imagery, Mapping | Tagged | 8 Comments