Creating raster catalogs in a geodatabase

When you create a raster catalog in a geodatabase, you are creating an empty location to contain multiple raster datasets. You can then load one or more raster datasets into your empty raster catalog. You can create a raster catalog using the context menu in ArcCatalog or using the Create Raster Catalog tool.

Raster datasets within raster catalogs can be managed in two ways by the file and personal geodatabases: either managed by the geodatabase or not. To have the raster catalog managed by the geodatabase means that the raster datasets are copied and stored alongside the geodatabase. When a row is deleted from the catalog, it is deleted from the geodatabase. When you do not have your raster managed by the geodatabase, there is only a pointer connecting the raster catalog row to the file-based raster dataset.

When creating a raster catalog, the coordinate system needs to be set for the geometry column. If your coordinate system is unknown, you need to specify the domain for the geometry column. Otherwise, if neither of these is set, your datasets may not be visible in the display.


The SDERASTER command line loader loads raster catalogs with the 8.x schema. These raster catalogs must be upgraded by clicking Register With Geodatabase on the ArcCatalog context menu.

Learn more about raster catalogs

  1. Right-click a geodatabase and click New > Raster Catalog.
  2. Optionally, choose a template raster catalog on which to base your new raster catalog.

    You may want to use an existing raster catalog as a template if you have created additional fields in it that you want to have in your new raster catalog. The new raster catalog will then have the same fields as the template raster catalog.

  3. Type a name for the new raster catalog.

    The raster catalog name cannot have spaces. You can use underscores to separate letters.

  4. Optionally, click the Coordinate System for Raster Column button Spatial Reference Properties to choose a coordinate system for the raster catalog.
  5. Click the Coordinate System for Geometry Column button Spatial Reference Properties to set a coordinate system for the geometry column.

    If your coordinate system for the geometry column is unknown, you need to set the domain. Setting the domain for a raster catalog works the same way as it does for a feature class.

    Learn how to create feature datasets

  6. Optionally, you can set a configuration keyword.
  7. Optionally, set a spatial grid.

    You do not need to specify a spatial index grid for a file geodatabase since it uses its own optimized index.

  8. Choose whether you want your raster catalog to be managed or unmanaged by the geodatabase.
  9. Click OK.

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