Monthly Archives: November 2009

To Mosaic or not to Mosaic?


Hi, my name is Jeff, and I am a member of the Geodata Raster team at the Eastern ESRI Support Services located in Charlotte, NC. I posed the question above because whether to mosaic or not is one of the most common workflow questions when dealing with rasters. There are many raster formats and depending on the format and the ultimate data product, the answer may change. Some immediate questions to ask are:



    1. Am I looking to create a backdrop for a map or provide imagery capable of being analyzed?


    1. Are the rasters highly compressed, for example .sid or .ecw?


  1. Is file storage a concern for the mosaic? How much room do I have for the mosaic?


There are many more specific questions to consider, but these general questions can prevent future headaches when determining if creating a mosaic is the best course of action.


The mosaic process can create one file that contains several other rasters, but the creation of it can be time consuming and problematic. Plus, there are plenty of other situations where an unmanaged raster catalog may provide the functionality you desire without changing the format or creating a new file.


If you are looking for the ease of adding one file to a map document rather than multiple files or are looking to maintain the format of your compressed raster data, then an unmanaged raster catalog may be the answer. The unmanaged raster catalog resides in a geodatabase and will maintain the extents of all of the rasters added to it, but will not import the rasters. They will maintain the format and then can be added all at once to a map document by simply adding the raster catalog. The unmanaged raster catalog will maintain the location of the original file. This workflow can be particularly handy if you have a large number of SID files that have a file size of 1 gig but an uncompressed size of 20 gigs. A mosaic of several SID files would be considerably large, but the unmanaged raster catalog can utilize the files as they are and load them together at once.


The creation of an unmanaged raster catalog is much quicker than creating a mosaic and can be a great way to display a large number of rasters.


While unmanaged raster catalogs cannot be used for analysis in many of the geoprocessing tools, they can be used for digitizing and backdrops for many different maps.


Below are a few Web Help documents that pertain to this discussion:


Creating a Raster Catalog
Mosaicking Raster Datasets
Exploring Geodatabase Raster Catalogs


- Jeff S., Support Analyst, Geodata Raster team, ESRI Support Services

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Looking to the Future – ArcGIS 9.4 Beta!

Many of you have probably heard about ArcGIS 9.4 Beta since the UC back in July. At this point, you might be wondering what is going on and where ESRI is at with it. Well, we launched the ArcGIS 9.4 Beta Program with the release of ArcGIS 9.4 Beta 1 on October 22. We have already been receiving lots of feedback and hope it continues to pour in for the next six months. In an effort to make this ESRI’s best beta program yet, we have made some changes to increase the amount of feedback we receive on ArcGIS 9.4:

  • We invited every site that is current on maintenance, including all subscribers to the ESRI Developer Network (EDN) program. We are up to 3,000 customers world-wide in the program!

  • All software is available for download and beta testers can download any ArcGIS product they choose.

  • Beta is fully-supported by ESRI Technical Support; testers can contact us anytime.

  • New 9.4 Resource Centers and Support Center Web sites are being tested along with the software. Some highlights are improved navigation, search, documentation, galleries, discussion forums, as well as an easier to use Support Center for contacting ESRI by phone, Web, and (coming soon) online text chat.

Some of you might be thinking…”I know my company is current on ESRI maintenance, but I’m not in this awesome program”. Here are few things you can do to get yourself into the program:

  • Contact your maintenance contact, the person at your site who is the primary to ESRI, as they are the person in your organization who we invited. They will have the e-mail invitation, or they are already participating in the program. If they are in the program, they can add you.

  • If you are unsure if you have maintenance or who your site contact is, contact ESRI Customer Service.

OK, enough about the beta program - check out What’s Coming in 9.4 to see some highlights of ArcGIS 9.4.

- Beth G., ArcGIS 9.4 Beta team

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Changing the Windows 7 Desktop theme for better viewing

Bringing back the Classic (view)

Hi, my name is Phillip, and I am a Server Support Analyst with ESRI’s Eastern Support Services. Windows 7 has arrived…and with it comes many dandy new features and advancements. One of our challenges at ESRI Support Services is to be able to provide support options for our customers who are using our software with new operating systems, such as Windows 7.


Recently, we received feedback that it can be difficult to work within ArcMap while using Windows 7’s Basic Desktop theme. The default theme color makes it difficult to read the file names within ArcMap (see below):

To change the Desktop theme setting:



    1. Right-click on the Desktop and select Personalize.


    1. Select Windows Classic from the Basic and High Contrast Themes or another theme of your choice (We here at ESRI Support Services find the Classic view to be the easiest to see and read.):

  1. Close the Window.


Now when you reopen ArcMap, it is easier to read the file names and everything else. Enjoy using the ArcGIS Desktop products with the latest Microsoft offering of Windows 7. Thanks!!!


-Phillip W., Server Support Analyst, ESRI Support Services


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