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Given the growing number of people using commercial drones these days, a common question is: “What do I do with all this imagery?”

 

The simple answer is that it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

 

If you just want to share the imagery as-is, and aren’t worried about making sure it’s georeferenced to be an accurate depiction of the ground, Oriented Imagery is probably your answer. If you’re capturing video, Full Motion Video in the Image Analyst extension for ArcGIS Pro is your best bet. Ultimately, though, many users plan to turn the single frame images acquired by drones into authoritative mapping products—orthorectified mosaics, digital surface models (DSMs), digital terrain models (DTMs), 3D point clouds, or 3D textured meshes.

 

Esri has three possible solutions for producing authoritative mapping products from drone imagery, each targeted for different users— (1) Drone2Map for ArcGIS, (2) the ortho mapping capability of ArcGIS Pro Advanced, and (3) the Ortho Maker app included with ArcGIS Enterprise. Read on to get an overview of all three solutions, and to figure out which one is best for your application.

 

Drone2Map for ArcGIS

For individual GIS users, Drone2Map is an easy-to-use, standalone app that supports a complete drone-processing workflow.

 

Drone2Map includes guided templates for creating orthorectified mosaics and digital elevation models. It’s also the only ArcGIS product that creates 3D products from drone imagery, including RGB point clouds and 3D textured meshes. Once you’ve processed your imagery, it’s easy to share the final products—2D web maps and 3D web scenes can be easily published on ArcGIS Online with a single step. ArcGIS Desktop isn’t required to run Drone2Map, but products created with Drone2Map are Desktop-compatible. That’s important, because it gives you the option to use ArcGIS Pro as an image management solution, or to serve your imagery products as dynamic image services using ArcGIS Image Server.

 

Ortho mapping capability of ArcGIS Pro Advanced

For GIS professionals, the ortho mapping capability of ArcGIS Pro Advanced enables you to create orthomosaics and digital elevation models from drone images (as well as from modern aerial imagery, historical film, and satellite data) in the familiar ArcGIS Desktop environment.

 

There are added benefits to processing your drone imagery in ArcGIS Pro. For users with very large imagery collections, Pro’s image management capabilities are especially valuable. Managing drone imagery using mosaic datasets makes it easy to query images and metadata, mosaic your imagery, and build footprints. Image management and processing workflows in ArcGIS Pro can also be automated using Python or Model Builder. Finally, sharing your imagery is straightforward. While you can publish your products to ArcGIS Online, you can also use ArcGIS Pro in conjunction with ArcGIS Image Server to publish drone products as dynamic image services.  

 

Ortho Maker app in ArcGIS Enterprise 10.6.1+

For ArcGIS Enterprise users, the Ortho Maker app offers a solution for organizations with multiple users who want simple, web-based workflows to create orthomosaics and DEMs from drone imagery.

 

Ortho Maker provides an easy-to-use web interface for uploading drone imagery and managing the ortho mapping workflow, while behind the scenes it uses the distributed processing and storage capability of Enterprise and ArcGIS Image Server to quickly process even very large collections of drone imagery. (That also means it requires ArcGIS Image Server configured for raster analysis.) The ArcGIS API for Python can be used to automate the ortho mapping process. Sharing Ortho Maker products is virtually automatic—they become imagery layer items accessible in your Enterprise portal, easily shared with users throughout your organization.

 

What do typical users say?

things typical users of each ArcGIS option for processing imagery might say

Next steps

Now that you have a better idea which solution makes sense for your application, it’s time to take one for a test drive. Drone2Map offers a free 15-day trial, plus a hands-on Learn lesson to get started. You can try ArcGIS Pro Advanced free for 21 days, and read more about getting started with ortho mapping for drone imagery.  For users with Enterprise 10.6.1+ and raster analysis enabled, Ortho Maker is included—find out how to get started.  Other Enterprise users should contact their administrator to see about getting access. If you still have questions, contact Esri for more product information.

Imagery and lidar are an indispensable part of your GIS. From background imagery to change detection to feature extraction and more, imagery and lidar are transforming the geospatial world. At the Esri Imaging & Mapping Forum (Saturday, July 8 – Tuesday, July 11) and the Esri User Conference (Monday, July 10 – Friday, July 14) in San Diego next month, check out the following events to learn the latest about Esri’s imagery and lidar capabilities. (And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to register online for the Esri UC and IMF!)

 

 

Esri Imaging & Mapping Forum

Before the UC kicks off, you can dive into the world of imagery, lidar, and 3D at the Esri Imagery & Mapping Forum in San Diego (Saturday, July 8 – Tuesday, July 11). At this unique forum, you'll get a close, hands-on look at capturing and mapping technologies that integrate imaging, lidar, 3D, drone technology, multidimensional analysis, and modeling to meet organizational challenges. Register online today.

 

Imagery@UC

At the 2017 Esri UC, Imagery@UC sessions offer a valuable opportunity to hear about the latest developments in imagery from Esri’s imagery leaders. Check them out Tuesday morning:

 

Room 29C, San Diego Convention Center

Tuesday, July 11

8:30 am –9:45 am             Modernizing Remote Sensing with the Science of Where in Esri’s New Imagery Products

10:15 am –11:30 am        Expanding the ArcGIS Platform with Advanced Image Processing and Analytics

 

Imagery Showcase

Check out the Imagery Showcase in the Esri Expo, where you can:

  • Learn the latest about best practices for managing, analyzing, and sharing your imagery and lidar using the ArcGIS platform
  • Explore how Esri helps you leverage imagery and lidar to support scalable, real-world workflows
  • Connect with Esri professionals to answer your imagery and lidar questions and help you get started

 

The Imagery Showcase will be open:

Exhibit Hall B1, San Diego Convention Center

Tuesday, July 11                9:00 am–6:00 pm

Wednesday, July 12         9:00 am–6:00 pm

Thursday, July 13              9:00 am–1:30 pm

 

2017 Esri UC Imagery and Lidar Sessions

Finally, don’t forget to explore the imagery and lidar demo theaters and technical workshops offered this year at Esri UC. See something interesting? Use the links below to add the session to your online 2017 Esri UC Agenda.

 

Still have more questions about imagery at the UC? Check out the Esri UC Q&A for Imagery and Remote Sensing.

 

Tuesday, July 11

8:30 am–9:45 am

Modernizing Remote Sensing with the Science of Where in Esri’s New Imagery Products

SDCC Room 29C

9:30 am–10:15 am

Automating Imagery Workflows with Python Scripting

SDCC Demo Theater 14

9:30 am–10:15 am

Geoprocessing Sample Tools for LiDAR

SDCC Demo Theater 07

10:15 am–11:30 am

Drone Technology and Solutions with the ArcGIS Platform

SDCC Room 27B

10:15 am–11:30 am

Expanding the ArcGIS Platform with Advanced Image Processing and Analytics

SDCC Room 29C

10:15 am–11:30 am

Archaeology - Remotely Sensed Aerial Imagery

SDCC Room 23A

10:30 am–11:15 am

Building Python Raster Functions

SDCC Demo Theater 14

10:30 am–11:15 am

Creating a Hydrologically Conditioned DEM

SDCC Demo Theater 07

10:30 am–11:15 am

Working with Elevation Services

SDCC Demo Theater 05

11:00 am–11:30 am

Producing Ortho Imagery in ArcGIS

SDCC Tech Theater 19 Exhibit Hall A

11:30 am–12:15 pm

Creating Story Maps with Imagery

SDCC Demo Theater 14

12:00 pm–1:00 pm

3D Mapping from Lidar and Imagery Special Interest Group

SDCC Room 24A

1:30 pm–2:45 pm

2D and 3D Feature Extraction from New and Historical Lidar / Imagery for Change Detection with ArcGIS

SDCC Room 29C

1:30 pm–2:45 pm

Applying Elevation in your Analytic Workflows

SDCC Room 09

1:30 pm–2:15 pm

Best Practices for Managing and Serving Processed Ortho Imagery

SDCC Demo Theater 14

1:30 pm–2:45 pm

Drone2Map: An Introduction

SDCC Ballroom 06C

2:30 pm–3:15 pm

Enterprise: Building Raster Analytics Workflows

SDCC Demo Theater 14

3:15 pm–4:30 pm

Empowering Your Organization with Time Enabled Imagery and Bathymetry

SDCC Room 29C

3:15 pm–4:30 pm

Imagery Analysis and Use in Desktop

SDCC Room 07A

3:30 pm–4:15 pm

Drone2Map: Workflows for Processing a Dataset

SDCC Demo Theater 14

3:30 pm–4:15 pm

LiDAR Analysis in ArcGIS: An Introduction

SDCC Demo Theater 07

4:30 pm–5:15 pm

Enterprise: Sharing Imagery in Portal

SDCC Demo Theater 14

5:30 pm–6:15 pm

Workflows for Frame Cameras

SDCC Demo Theater 14

 

Wednesday, July 12

8:30 am–9:45 am

Drone2Map: An Introduction

Hilton Sapphire Ballroom I

8:30 am–9:45 am

Imagery Modernization Best Practices for Organizational Sharing and Management with ArcGIS

SDCC Room 28C

8:30 am–9:45 am

LiDAR and GIS: Applications and Examples

SDCC Room 08

8:30 am–9:45 am

Scientific and Multidimensional Raster Support in ArcGIS

SDCC Room 17A

9:30 am–10:15 am

ArcMap and Pro: Working with FMV Data using the Multiplexer

SDCC Demo Theater 14

9:30 am–10:15 am

Working with Elevation Services

SDCC Demo Theater 10 Online

10:15 am–11:30 am

LiDAR and ArcGIS Pro: What’s New

SDCC Room 16A

10:30 am–11:15 am

Enterprise: Managing Imagery in the Cloud

SDCC Demo Theater 14

11:30 am–12:15 pm

Enterprise: Standing Up NAIP and Landsat Image Services as a Processing Resource

SDCC Demo Theater 14

11:30 am–12:15 pm

Refining 3D Buildings Extracted from LiDAR

SDCC Demo Theater 13

12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Imagery in Electric Transmission Special Interest Group

SDCC Room 24C

12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Statistics (Imagery Focus) Special Interest Group

SDCC Room 26B

12:30 am–1:15 pm

Point Clouds and 3D Mesh

SDCC Demo Theater 13

12:30 am–1:15 pm

Working with Historical Aerial Imagery

SDCC Demo Theater 14

1:30 am–2:15 pm

Enterprise: Building Multi-Modal Image Services

SDCC Demo Theater 14

2:00 am–2:30 pm

Producing Ortho Imagery in ArcGIS

SDCC Tech Theater 19 Exhibit Hall A

2:30 pm–3:15 pm

Pro: Introduction to Stereo Imagery

SDCC Demo Theater 14

3:00 pm–3:30 pm

FMV Support in ArcGIS

SDCC Tech Theater 18 Exhibit Hall A

3:15 pm–4:30 pm

Raster Analytics in Image Server: An Introduction

SDCC Room 15B

3:15 pm–4:30 pm

Using Living Atlas Elevation Layers in Your GIS Workflows

SDCC Room 01A

3:30 pm–4:15 pm

Web AppBuilder Imagery Widgets

SDCC Demo Theater 14

4:30 pm–5:15 pm

Workflows for Managing and Serving Elevation Data

SDCC Demo Theater 14

5: 30 pm–6:15 pm

Workflows for Sharing Oblique Imagery

SDCC Demo Theater 14

 

Thursday, July 13

8:30 am–9:45 am

Image Management Using Mosaic Datasets and Image Services

SDCC Room 03

10:15 am–11:30 am

Desktop ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro: Exploiting Imagery

SDCC Room 16A

10:15 am–11:30 am

Imagery Analysis and Use in Desktop

SDCC Room 07A

10:15 am–11:30 am

LiDAR and GIS: Applications and Examples

SDCC Room 03

10:30 am–11:15 am

Raster Function Processing

SDCC Demo Theater 14

11:30 am–12:15 pm

Image Segmentation and Classification

SDCC Demo Theater 14

12:30 am–1:15 pm

Enterprise: Building Mosaic Datasets

SDCC Demo Theater 14

12:30 am–1:15 pm

Using the National Water Model to Inform Flood Preparedness and Response

SDCC Demo Theater 16

1:30 am–2:45 pm

Imagery Sources and Uses in ArcGIS

SDCC Room 01A

3:15 pm–4:30 pm

Imagery Support for Emergency Management

SDCC Room 29D

3:15 pm–4:30 pm

Image Segmentation and Classification in ArcGIS Pro

SDCC Room 15A

 

**SDCC = San Diego Conference Center

With the largest release of data to date, the Polar Geospatial Center (PGC) has significantly expanded the high-resolution coverage of the Arctic Elevation dataset. The new data is available to ArcGIS users as a part of Esri’s ready-to-use Arctic DEM and Arctic Elevation layers, as well as Esri’s ArcticDEM Explorer and ArcticDEM Change web apps.

The Arctic Elevation dataset provides two-, five-, and eight-meter elevation data for land north of 60°N; to date, 65% of the Arctic is covered—over 51 million square kilometers. As the PGC releases new digital elevation models (DEMs) throughout 2017, high-resolution, two-meter DEMs will gradually expand and replace the coverage of older, eight-meter data. This release alone expands Esri’s Arctic Elevation dataset by an additional six terabytes of two-meter data and one terabyte of five-meter data covering Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and more. The result is more detail than ever—see the improvement for New Siberian Islands (left), Ellesmere Island (center), and Wrangel Island (right).

Improvement using high-resolution elevation data

Arctic Elevation, offered as easy-to-access layers, maps, and apps, has numerous applications. Users can deploy these elevation layers in ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap, and custom web apps, viewing and analyzing them on-the-fly using dynamic functions like slope, aspect, hillshade, multi-dimensional hillshade, and others. Check out the Columbia Glacier below, for example, visualized with the ArcticDEM Explorer web app using an elevation tinted hillshade.

Columbia Glacier in ArcticDEM Explorer web app

Users can also explore Arctic elevation by acquisition date to analyze how Arctic topography changes in different seasons or years. Ever wonder how quickly a particular glacier is receding? Now you can find out for yourself.

Interested in learning more? Dive in to Esri’s ArcticDEM Explorer web app to interactively explore the latest high-resolution elevation data. Or, if you’re ready to start using Esri’s Arctic Elevation in your own applications, get started today with the Arctic DEM or with a free 60-day trial of ArcGIS Desktop Advanced.

Explore the planet more deeply with Esri’s new Landsat Explorer web app! Use the app to both visualize our planet and understand how the Earth has changed over time. Now you can instantly analyze more than 500,000 Landsat 8 and GLS scenes, offering global coverage with over 500 new scenes added every day. The app is free, with no download or installation required.

 

Landsat Explorer enables you use different spectral bands to go beyond what the eye can see. But the Landsat Explorer app isn’t just about viewing images using different band combinations or enhancements. The analysis tools enable you to perform change detection, create custom masks, make your own indexes, generate spectral and temporal profiles, and more, all on the fly. Use the app to instantly access multispectral and temporal Landsat imagery to reveal how the Earth's surface has changed over the last forty years.

 

Curious to see how your hometown has expanded since you were a kid? Zoom to your hometown and use the time slider to compare before and after images.  Want to quantify areas of agriculture usage or forest burn? Use the Mask tool to identify specific types of landcover, interactively setting thresholds. Want to measure the extent of a flood, like in Allahabad, India, below? Select two points in time and use the Change Detection tool to highlight the affected areas.

With Landsat Explorer, you can easily and dynamically investigate questions about geology, vegetation, agriculture, and cities anywhere in the world, including the places that matter most to you. And, if you want to share your discoveries, you can save your results to ArcGIS online or as local files. The app is driven by publicly accessible images services hosted on AWS and directly usable in a wide range of applications including ArcGIS Desktop.

 

Ready to get started? Open the Landsat Explorer app and click the Tutorial icon for a guided tutorial, or check out the Unlock Earth’s Secrets page to learn more about all our Landsat apps.

Planet’s high-resolution satellite constellations image the entire world every single day. If you rely on imagery from Planet, managing this wealth of available data can be a challenge. That’s why Esri has added tools for managing PlanetScope and RapidEye imagery to its array of free, open-source tools that simplify image management in ArcGIS.

 

Planet satellite image of Key West

 

With the Python toolbox for managing Planet imagery, users can create mosaic datasets to manage Planet imagery within the familiar ArcGIS environment. With these scripts, data managers can streamline or automate the creation of scalable mosaic datasets, which can then be shared as image services with internal users or users outside your organization.

Imagery from Planet’s PlanetScope and RapidEye satellite constellations supports numerous applications—including mapping, deep learning, disaster response, precision agriculture, or simple temporal image analytics—which generate rich information products. Once managed with mosaic datasets, it’s straightforward for GIS or image analysts to exploit the temporal aspects of Planet imagery via an image service, to analyze the spectral data to draw actionable conclusions, to use the imagery to provide context within a GIS, and more.

The Python tools work by drawing on the Planet API to query, activate, and download PlanetScope or RapidEye Basic scenes over a given timeframe and area of interest. The imagery is then made accessible to users via the Planet Explorer app or the Planet API.  The Planet toolbox is supported in ArcMap 10.5, and can also be used in ArcGIS Pro.

Ready to get started? Download the Python toolbox for managing Planet imagery, learn more about Planet’s high-resolution imagery, or try ArcGIS’s imagery capabilities with a free 60-day trial of ArcGIS Desktop.