Adding raster data to a mosaic dataset

This topic applies to ArcEditor and ArcInfo only.

When you add raster data to a mosaic dataset, a pointer to the location of the data is stored within the mosaic dataset. The actual raster data is not transferred to or stored within the mosaic dataset.

Raster data is added to a mosaic dataset by specifying a raster type. The raster type identifies metadata, such as georeferencing, acquisition date, and sensor type, along with a raster format. A raster format defines how pixels are stored such as number of rows and columns, number of bands, actual pixel values, and other raster format-specific parameters. However, by adding raster data according to a raster type, the appropriate metadata is read and used to define any processing that needs to be applied. For example, when adding a QuickBird Standard scene, a scene may be defined by an .imd file. The .imd file contains metadata information about the raster dataset and may point to one or more .tif files. To add this data correctly, use the QuickBird raster type because it searches for this combination of file types. If you add the raster data using the Raster Dataset raster type, only the .tif files will be recognized and added, they will be added as TIFF files, and any metadata information that can affect the needed functions or the georeferencing will be missing.

The Raster Dataset raster type refers to any raster format supported by ArcGIS. The other raster types are specific to a product (sensor, data provider, or vendor) or the associated metadata information. You have the option to edit any raster type when adding data. For example, you might want to define a specific band combination or add a filter when the data is added rather than later. You can modify any raster type by changing its default properties, such as the band combination, or defining the elevation model to use when orthorectifying data. You can even add or modify the function chains. Anytime you make an edit to the raster type when adding rasters to a mosaic dataset, you can save it to a new .art file so you can load additional data at another time using the same modified parameters.

Learn more about the supported raster types

Raster data can be added from many different sources, including a single raster file, a raster catalog, a table, a mosaic dataset, one or more folders, ArcSDE, a WCS coverage, an image service, or cached map service.

If you're going to use the Add Rasters To Mosaic Dataset tool more than once to add data to your mosaic dataset, you might want to uncheck Update Cell Size Ranges and Update Boundary until you've added all the raster data you intend to include in the mosaic dataset.

If you add raster data to a mosaic dataset that has overviews generated, you will need to update the overviews or add new ones. This can be done at the same time the raster data is added by checking the Update Overviews option on the Add Rasters To Mosaic Dataset tool dialog box. Or you can do it later using the Build Overviews tool.

  1. Open the Add Rasters To Mosaic Dataset tool.
    • Do this in ArcCatalog or ArcMap by right-clicking a mosaic dataset and clicking Add Rasters.
    • Navigate through System Toolboxes to the Add Rasters To Mosaic Dataset tool.
    • Use the Search window to locate the Add Rasters To Mosaic Dataset tool.
  2. Choose the raster type and the location of the data and complete the remaining parameters.
  3. Click OK.

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