Skip navigation
All Places > GIS > Imagery and Remote Sensing > Blog > Author: CBenkelman-esristaff

Drone2Map version 2.1 is now available.  Current users can view “About” in the main menu on the left side of the screen to verify your version, and download a new version if necessary.  You can also download from My Esri.



What’s new in Drone2Map for ArcGIS version 2.1? 

In this release we continue to improve the user experience in many areas of the workflow.


Camera Model Editor

  • Esri maintains an internal camera database which is updated along with Drone2Map several times per year. In addition to the internal camera database, Drone2Map also has a user camera database. With the Camera Model Editor, users are now able to edit existing cameras from the internal camera database and store the modified camera models in the user camera database.

  • An important use case supported by this capability is to provide support for high quality metric cameras, where the photogrammetric lens parameters such as focal length, principal point and distortion are stable and known. Since Drone2Map supports consumer cameras, these parameters may (by default) be adjusted during processing. For metric cameras, the Camera Model Editor allows users to input known, high accuracy parameters when applicable and maintain those values throughout processing.

  • Additionally, when a successful project has been processed and you are happy with the results, the .d2mx file from that project may be imported into the camera model editor of a new project and those optimized camera parameters from the imported project will be stored in the user camera database and allow those parameters to be used in future processing jobs. This helps to standardize results and reduce processing times.


Control Updates

  • In this release there is an improved user experience for managing control using the Control Manager.  Users can view properties of each control point, filter based on the type of control, and launch the links editor, all with a few button clicks.
  • Some geographic features, such as water, can be difficult to generate sufficient tie points and successfully match those tie points using automated algorithms. Now users can create and link manual tie points to images to successfully process imagery in geographic areas that previously caused problems.

  • Linking control to your images can be a time-consuming process. At Drone2Map 2.1, we have introduced assisted image links. This workflow requires initial processing to be run, and after you enter one link, the software is able to automatically find your control markers in subsequent images and provide visual feedback as to the accuracy of that link. Once satisfied with the positioning of the control to the images, simply click Auto Link and Drone2Map will link the verified control for you.



Share DEM as Elevation Layer

  • Drone2Map users are now able to publish their own custom surfaces on ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Portal for either an ortho reference DTM or top surface DSM. These surfaces can be used in 3D web scenes to ensure accurate height values for point clouds and meshes generated by Drone2Map.



Add custom DEM into the Drone2Map project

  • Users may add their own elevation surface into the project (on top of the default World Terrain surface), to ensure that any 3D views incorporate the authoritative elevation surface.  This can be very useful in project areas that are captured on multiple dates (e.g. agriculture) and/or where an accurate input terrain is important (e.g. an airport, construction site, or a site with material stockpiles).

  • In addition, if ground control points are subsequently extracted from the map, the Z values are provided by the custom elevation surface. This is important to ensure date-to-date consistency for sites that are captured repeatedly and analyzed over time.


Elevation Profile and Spectral Profile for additional analytical capabilities

  • Users are now able to generate cross-sectional elevation profiles in any Drone2Map projects that are processed to create output surfaces (DSM and/or DTM).

                                Imagery provided by GeoCue Group, Inc.                                                                


  • For users with multispectral cameras, Drone2Map also allows extraction of spectral profiles (defined by point samples, linear transects, or 2D areas of interest) to support detailed analysis of vegetation or other landcover surface types.



Colorized Indices

  • Indices created from multispectral imagery products are now colorized by default.


New Inspection Template

  • The inspection template has been added to all users who wish to create projects that are focused on inspecting, annotating, and sharing raw drone images.


Browse performance improvements

  • Performance has been improved when browsing folders and files on disk.

Exif reader improvements

  • The performance of reading and extracting Exif data from drone images has improved to significantly reduce the amount of time required to create a project.

Licensing Changes

  • Drone2Map for ArcGIS 2.1 is a “premium app” which is a for-fee add-on to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise.


Full release notes for Drone2Map 2.1 are available here

Do you have imagery from an aerial photography camera (whether a modern digital camera or scanned film) and the orientation data either by direct georeferencing or the results of aerial triangulation? If yes, you’ll want to work with a mosaic dataset, and load the imagery with the proper raster type.


The mosaic dataset provides the foundation for many different use cases, including:

  • On-the-fly orthorectification of images in a dynamic mosaic, for direct use in ArcGIS Pro or sharing through ArcGIS Image Server.
  • Production of custom basemaps from source imagery.
  • Managing and viewing aerial frame imagery in stereo
  • Accessing images in their Image Coordinate System (ICS).  

There are different raster types that support the photogrammetric model for frame imagery.  If you have existing orientation data from ISAT or Match-AT, you can use the raster types with those names to directly load the data (see
Help here). 


For a general frame camera, you’ll want to know how to use the Frame Camera raster type and we have recently updated some helpful resources:  

UI for automated script


Further information:

  • Note that if your imagery is oblique, the Frame Camera raster type supports multi-sensor oblique images. Refer to the for configuration advice.
  • If you want to extract a digital terrain model (DTM) from the imagery, or improve the accuracy of the aerial triangulation, see the Ortho Mapping capabilities of ArcGIS Pro (advanced license).
  • If you are seeking additional detail on the photogrammetric model used within the Frame Camera raster type, see this supplemental document

Esri has released a free app for iOS that interfaces with ArcGIS Online, allowing Esri users to view GIS content from ArcGIS Online to assist with the drone flight planning.   (This was originally developed by Esri business partner 3DR)


Flight Plan on top of prior Drone2Map orthomosaic


The Site Scan - Limited Edition app (formerly called "Site Scan - Esri Edition") provides mission planning and flight control for a number of leading drones to optimize drone collections for use in Drone2Map or Ortho Mapping in ArcGIS Pro.  This release is compatible with the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, DJI M200, DJI M210, DJI Inspire 2, DJI Mavic Pro, or Yuneec H520-G, as well as the 3DR Solo.


The Site Scan - Limited Edition app allows users to take advantage of substantial amounts of publicly accessible data, as well as custom data layers from the user’s ArcGIS Online account, as base and reference data for mission planning.



Site Scan - Limited Edition is free to everyone with an ArcGIS Online account. The app is available on iTunes at will be available soon via ArcGIS Apps.   


Try it out! 


Note that, as a free app, support for Site Scan - Limited Edition is based on Geonet:

For the full cloud-based SIte Scan service, see

Drone2Map for ArcGIS version 1.3.2 has been released today and is available for immediate download by all current and future users.  For users connecting to ArcGIS Online, download and install the new version directly from the software, or download from  All users, including those typically working in offline mode, are encouraged to download this new version.  

Esri Headquarters Building Q

This release of Drone2Map for ArcGIS is primarily focused on the following enhancements and bug fixes:



  • Volumetric calculations can now be shared to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise through the share as feature layer tool.

Publish volumetric measurements in your ArcGIS Online account

  • Decimal values in the contour interval field are now supported in all available language systems.



  • Always have success when creating orthomosaics. Additional camera models have been added to our camera database to greatly improve camera search options so that your orthomosaic gets completed.
  • Vector basemap users will no longer experience project creation issues with the vector basemaps in their default basemap gallery.
  • With improved camera support, the creation of NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) layers will no longer be an issue (for appropriate multispectral cameras).
  • You can now see spectral band metadata when viewing output data products in ArcGIS Pro.
  • Users with the Dansk regional language pack will now have correct image altitudes for more than one layer.


Try the new version, and please let us know what you think! 


Cody Benkelman

Drone2Map for ArcGIS Product Manager

For FMV in ArcGIS (ArcGIS Pro 2.2 with Image Analyst Extension, or ArcMap 10.x with the FMV add-in) to display videos and link the footprint into the proper location on the map, the video must include georeferencing metadata multiplexed into the video stream.  The metadata must be in MISB (motion industry standards board) format, originally designed for military systems.  Information is here, but drone users do not need to study this specification.  For non-MISB datasets, Esri has created a geoprocessing tool called the “Video Multiplexer” that will process a video file with a separate metadata text file to create a MISB-compatible video.  This is described more completely (e.g. format for the metadata about camera location, orientation, field of view, etc.) in the FMV Manual at


For those with DJI drones, the challenge then becomes “where is the required metadata?”.  DJI drones write a binary formatted metadata file with extension *.dat (or possibly *.srt, depending on drone and firmware) for every flight.  There is a free utility called “DatCon” at this link which will reportedly convert the DJI files to ASCII format. 


Key points:

  • Esri has not tested and cannot endorse this free utility. If you choose to use it, as with any download from the internet, you should check it for viruses etc.
  • DJI has changed the format of the metadata in this file on multiple occasions, so depending on your drone and date of its firmware, you will find differences in the metadata content. Esri does not have a specification for this metadata at any version, so cannot advise you what to expect to be included in (or missing from) this file.
  • Another key point is that the DJI *.dat file was created for the purpose of troubleshooting. It was not created with the intent of supporting geospatial professionals seeking a complete metadata record for the drone, gimbal, and camera.  As a result, users will typically find temporal gaps in the metadata.  As a result, processing this metadata through the FMV Multiplexer will likely generate inaccurate results, unless you are willing to apply manual effort (requiring trial and error, and substantial time) to identify the temporal gaps and fill in your own estimated or interpolated values for the missing times and missing fields.
  • IMPORTANT: This blog was written in September 2018, and it is very possible that DJI will make firmware changes in the future to change the readability and completeness of their metadata.


There is an alternative to this, but it is not an Esri solution.  CompassDrone, an Esri business partner and DJI authorized distributor, has built a flight planning and flight control application called CIRRUAS using the DJI API.  This application has access to the DJI metadata in flight, and (among other features) is explicitly designed to capture complete metadata as defined by Esri for FMV support.  If you are using the CIRRUAS app, a metadata file will be captured and exported from the drone, and this will feed directly into the FMV multiplexer. 


The CIRRUAS app is available here  For further discussion, please refer to the blog on this topic written by CompassDrone:


A few final notes:

  • Our testing of the CIRRUAS app has yielded good results, but Esri does not provide technical support for the app.
  • Note that the CIRRUAS app must be used to plan and fly the mission, and this will initiate the recording of complete metadata. It cannot be applied to video that was previously recorded, since the metadata records will not be complete.
  • It is not known if there are other alternatives which provide a solution for processing video from DJI drones for ArcGIS FMV.


Check back in this blog for updates as more capabilities are developed.


Drone2Map for ArcGIS version 1.3.1 is available for download from the ArcGIS Marketplace and the Drone2Map for ArcGIS Help Site.


Version 1.3.1 is an important maintenance and quality release that also includes feature enhancements.  Here are some of the highlights:


Classified Point Clouds – Point clouds will now be classified so that points include class codes (for Ground, Vegetation, Building, and Road Surface, as applicable).  A classified point cloud improves visualization as well as analysis when working with the 3D points in LAS or zLAS format.

Ground Control Point (GCP) Viewing – Users can now view GCP photo attachments from file geodatabases as well as hosted feature layers, improving the speed and accuracy of working with GCPs.

Improved Textured Mesh Creation – Better-quality 3D datasets are made possible with the addition of improved capabilities for creating textured meshes.

Additional Camera Support Included – Improved support of imagery from thermal infrared (DJI Zenmuse XT FLIR) and multispectral cameras (Sequoia, Sentera, Micasense) enables greater usage of drone imagery for users in utilities, natural resources, and other markets.


Additional information about other features and improvements can be found in the What’s New documentation.


If you’re a current user, download the latest version today!  And if you’re a new user, please download the trial version and let us know what you think!

With the Image Analyst extension in ArcGIS Pro 2.1 (or later), non-orthorectified and suitably overlapping images with appropriate metadata can be viewed in stereo!  This stereoscopic viewing experience can enable 3D feature extraction.  See more information at


If your organization has a collection of images and you’d like to use the stereo viewing capability in ArcGIS Pro, where do you start?   The key questions are: 

  1. What type of sensor collected the data, and
  2. What orientation data do you have along with the images?


In order to display images as stereo pairs, ArcGIS must have detailed information about the location of the sensor (x,y,z) as well as its orientation – and this is unique information for every image.  Information about the sensor (typically called a camera model or sensor model) is also required. 

Graphic Showing Geometry of One Stereo Image Pair


There are a few conceptually simple cases, although each has important details to follow within its own workflow and documentation.


  • If you have two overlapping satellite images, you can go directly to stereo viewing.
  • If you have a collection of satellite images, you can build a mosaic dataset and ingest the images using the specific raster type for that satellite, run the Build Stereo Model geoprocessing tool, then proceed to the stereo view.  The raster type for the satellite reads the required orientation data.
  • If your imagery came from a professional aerial camera system:
    • If you have an output project file from aerotriangulation (AT) software (e.g. Match-AT or ISAT), ArcGIS includes raster types which ingest the orientation data for you, so this is similar to the satellite case: build a mosaic dataset with the proper raster type, Build Stereo Model, and proceed to stereo viewing.
    • If you have a project file from AT software not currently supported, Python raster types are under development for additional sensors e.g. for the Vexcel Ultracam. For more information, watch for announcements on GeoNet or on  Alternatively, if you have a table of camera and frame orientation values, see the next bullet.
    • If you have a table of data values representing the exterior orientation as well as a camera model (interior orientation), you will build a mosaic dataset and ingest the images using the “Frame camera” raster type. 
    • If you have scanned film but without the results of AT software, refer to the FrameCameraBestPractices. With ArcGIS Pro 2.1, some values may have to be estimated, and the positional accuracy may not be optimum.  ArcGIS Pro 2.2 (and later versions) support fiducial measurement.
  • If your imagery was captured using a drone, you will need to use photogrammetric software to generate the camera model and orientation data.   
    • If you process your drone imagery using Ortho Mapping in ArcGIS Pro Advanced (see, after the Adjust step is completed, the Image Collection mosaic dataset will be ready for viewing in stereo (after Build Stereo Model).
    • If you are using Drone2Map, please see this item ArcGIS Online to download a geoprocessing tool which can ingest the images into a mosaic dataset.


For those interested in trying an example, a downloadable sample is available in this item on ArcGIS Online:

Drone2Map for ArcGIS version 1.3 is available for download from My Esri and the Drone2Map for ArcGIS Help Site.


Version 1.3 adds the ability to create compressed zlas point clouds, rolling shutter correction, GCP photo support, Integrated Windows Authentication, flight altitude adjustment tools, and more.


Zlas Point Clouds – Create compressed zlas point clouds for improved performance in ArcGIS Pro. Zlas is Esri’s compressed format for lidar and other point clouds that can be used directly, without decompression. This simplified ArcGIS Pro workflow saves time and disk space, and can still be directly published as a 3D scene service for the web.

Rolling Shutter Correction – Enable greater spatial accuracy and improved image quality in projects that use a camera with a rolling shutter.

Ground Control Point (GCP) Photo Support – This allows you to reference a ground-based photo taken by a handheld camera to describe the GCP. This is in support of Collector for ArcGIS and Survey123 for ArcGIS GCP templates. This will make it easier for you to clearly and uniquely identify ground control markers, reducing potential for confusion and error, and enable you to complete projects more quickly.

Integrated Windows Authentication – Based on many requests, Drone2Map now includes licensing support for organizations leveraging Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA) and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) for their Portal for ArcGIS identities.

Flight Altitude Adjustment Tools – This will improve the default workflow and avoid textured meshes either “floating above” or disappearing below the default elevation surface in ArcGIS Pro and Web Scenes.


Additional information about other features and improvements can be found in the What’s New documentation.

Esri and Garmin are pleased to announce that Garmin’s VIRB Action Cameras (VIRB Ultra 30, VIRB X, VIRB XE, and VIRB Elite) have full support for Full Motion Video (FMV) for ArcGIS!  


To leverage this feature, users can download the latest version of VIRB Edit software (version 5.1.1 and above) from or simply search for “Virb edit software” at


The Full Motion Video add-in is a free download for ArcMap 10.3 through 10.5, and will be coming in ArcGIS Pro version 2.1 by the end of 2017.  Current users of ArcMap can find information on FMV at  The Full Motion Video add-in allows users to manage, display, and analyze geospatially enabled videos within their GIS.  Feature data can be digitized from video frames, and GIS features can be overlaid onto the video during playback.  The video search tool provides a powerful data management capability, enabling users to quickly find archived videos based on attribute data or a simple geographic search. 


The Garmin VIRB cameras record GPS and camera orientation data with the video.  This position and orientation metadata enables FMV for ArcGIS to locate the sensor on the map, and if the camera footprint (field of view) is aimed toward the ground, the moving video footprint can also be displayed in ArcGIS. 


Instructions for extracting the VIRB position and orientation metadata and then processing with the Full Motion Video Multiplexer are available in this document:

Esri has released its latest version of the Full Motion Video (FMV) add-in, version 1.3.2, with a series of new features and updated support for the current version of ArcMap (10.5, also compatible with 10.4.x and 10.3.x).


For video captured with appropriate metadata (regarding camera location and orientation), FMV enables viewing and processing of video in a mapping environment.  The FMV add-in is compatible with a variety of common video formats, whether captured from fixed vantage points, airborne platforms, or drones. 


A highlight of new features and improvements includes:

  • Increased performance with support for 2.7K, 4K, and higher resolutions of digital video (performance may vary, depending on CPU/GPU)
  • A new workflow for digitizing GIS features directly in the video which automatically populates custom metadata fields: Video_Date, Video_Time, and Video_Source.
  • A new video search workflow, improved search algorithm, and an updated UI make searching for archived videos faster and more intuitive.
  • The Capture Groups of Images tool in the FMV Add-in allows users to extract individual frames while streaming live video.  Images can be easily added into a mosaic dataset using the Mosaic Video Frames GP tool.
  • The Mosaic Video GP tool now supports JPG, JP2, PNG, NITF, and TIFF file types. Georeferencing of each frame now uses the Projective transformation to increase overall accuracy and eliminate unnecessary resampling of the imagery.  
  • A new GP Tool called Extract Video Frames for Orthomosaic has been added.  This tool can be used to extract individual images and associated MISB metadata for input to the Ortho Mapping tools for ArcGIS or the Esri Drone2Map application.  There, the video frames can be processed to generate an orthorectified mosaic image and other derived products. Metadata captured with this tool is stored in external CSV’s or embedded as EXIF file headers.


As with prior versions, the FMV add-in remains free of charge to customers current on ArcGIS Desktop maintenance.  

Refer to the landing page at for further information, including a link to to download the software.