Image service preparation

Before hosting raster data in ArcGIS as an image service, you should take steps to optimize the raster data. This will ensure the best performance and user experience to perform analysis and visualization.

In most cases you will use your own raster data, but you can also use existing data hosted in ArcGIS. This section outlines the tools to optimize downloaded and curated raster data locally for image services.

How to prepare raster data

The general steps for preparing raster data:

1. Get the raster data

There are two types of data sources to create an image service: your own raster data and data hosted in ArcGIS.

Data SourceDescription
Your dataFor example: GEOTIFF, PNG. See supported raster input formats.
ArcGIS OnlineProvides a platform for users to host and share their own raster data that can then be accessed and used for visualization and analysis purposes.
ArcGIS HubContains many imagery layers from various sources that you can use in your applications. Some of the raster data can be obtained from the original sources and hosted in your ArcGIS Online organization.
ArcGIS Living AtlasA collection of geographic information that includes a raster data. You can access and visualize raster data in your maps and apps.

2. Optimize raster data

There are data preparation toolbox tools available in ArcGIS Pro to optimize your raster data before creating an image service:

Building pyramids and statisticsBuilding pyramids enhances raster display performance. Calculating statistics aids raster data display. All raster formats are processed. Learn more in Build Pyramids And Statistics (Data Management).
Calculate statisticsCreate important statistical information like minimum, maximum, mean, and standard deviation values are generated for your raster data. This statistical information is important for tasks like applying contrast stretches and classifying the raster data. Learn more in Calculate statistics

3. Decide image service capabilities

Some considerations to account before creating an image service and how it will be used:

  • Return a static image if the user will only adjust transparency, brightness, and contrast but not alter the image's appearance significantly.
  • Enable analysis if the image service will be used for spatial analysis and generating surfaces from elevation data.
  • Enable measurement if the user will take measurements using mensuration tools, such as those for height.
  • Enable download operation to support downloading the source raster files.

Benefits of data preparation

The key benefits of preparing your data before creating an image service in ArcGIS Online are:

  • Improved Performance

    By optimizing your data, such as creating image pyramids and statistics, you can ensure that the image service delivers data quickly and efficiently, even when users are panning and zooming. This enhances the overall user experience.

  • Enhanced Functionality

    Properly preparing your data can add additional capabilities within the image service, such as on-the-fly processing, dynamic mosaicking, and access to metadata. This allows users to interact with the raster data in more meaningful ways.

  • Flexible Sharing

    Preparing your data can enable you to publish the image service with different capabilities, such as Web Map Service (WMS) or Web Coverage Service (WCS), allowing users to access the raster data through a variety of applications and devices.

Best practices

Listed below are the best practices to optimize raster data to create an image service:

Raster Dataset Considerations- Decide whether to publish a single raster dataset or multiple datasets. If multiple datasets compose a single image service, consider creating and publishing a mosaic dataset.

- Learn about workflows and tools for creating and editing mosaic datasets.
Image Service Usage- Determine the purpose of the image service, whether it's for viewing, analysis, mensuration, or measurements.

- Consider whether users will need to download or upload imagery from the service.

- Differentiate between capabilities such as Image Service, WCS, and WMS for various usage scenarios.
Data Enhancements and Processing- Explore options for enhancing image appearance, such as adjusting band combinations or histogram stretch.

- Define processing functions for server-side application, including orthorectification, hillshading, band algebra, and pan sharpening.

- Understand the support for raster functions and chaining them together using raster function templates.
Speed and Accessibility- Evaluate caching options to improve access speed for users.

- Consider cache limitations based on band count and the choice between accessing cached or dynamic image services.

- Explore configuration settings for caching in ArcGIS Pro, including enabling or disabling cache view mode.


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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