Introduction to image services

Image service showing global land cover raster data at 10 m resolution.

What is an image service?

An image service is a data service that provides access to raster data, making it accessible for use in applications like web clients, desktop applications, and field apps. You create (publish) an image service using data management tools or scripting APIs to upload and host your raster data in ArcGIS. Data can be output in different formats such as static tiles or exported images. An image service has supported capabilities such as dynamic processing, on-the-fly mosaicking and raster analytics.

You use image services to efficiently store, manage, process, analyze and display large collections of raster data such as:

  • satellite imagery
  • drone imagery
  • weather radar data
  • aerial photography

What can you do with an image service?

You use image services when you want to:

  • Efficiently visualize and explore large collections of raster data.
  • Use raster analysis operations and functions to extract information and perform analysis.
  • Merge overlapping, multiresolution imagery and raster data from various sensors and sources.
  • Manipulate and preprocess raster data, such as applying filters or performing geometric correction.
  • Share imagery data with others, such as specific users, groups or applications.
  • Organize and manage large collections of imagery.
  • Search for specific images based on location, time, or other attributes.
  • Perform on-the-fly processing, such as reprojection, orthorectification, clipping, and applying complex image processing algorithms.

What do you need to work with image services?

To get started working with image services, you need the following:

  1. An existing collection of raster data.
  2. An ArcGIS account with the following prerequisites:

Image services are not currently supported with Location Platorm Accounts. Learn more

What does a service URL look like?

When you publish a new image service, the URL is created by the system. To find the URL you can use the hosted imagery layer (item) in the portal associated with your ArcGIS account.

The service URL format to access the service is:

Image services are not currently supported with Location Platorm Accounts. Learn more


  • The option to share dynamic imagery layers with Everyone (public) is not supported. Static imagery layers, also known as tiled imagery layers, can be shared publicly.

  • The maximum request size limit for the ArcGIS Online dynamic image service is 4,000 x 4,000 pixels.

API support

Use data management tools or Client APIs to create, manage, and access data services. The table below outlines the level of support for each API.

ArcGIS Maps SDK for JavaScript1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Kotlin1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Swift1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Java1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for .NET1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Qt1
ArcGIS API for Python
Esri Leaflet2
MapLibre GL JS23
Full supportPartial supportNo support
  • 1. Use portal class and direct REST API requests
  • 2. Access via ArcGIS REST JS
  • 3. Requires manually setting styles for renderers


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