How do you think about acquiring raster data?

10-07-2015 06:30 AM
New Contributor III

I'm looking to understand how experts may begin thinking about raster data acquisition for trail maps. Basically, where do you get your orthophotos for local use.

I'd like to build trail maps that include all the elements of a good trail map - routes, legend, compass, elevation change, and scale. I prefer to build them on ArcGIS 10.3 instead of ArcGIS online for practical purposes. I understand the data we need to be raster data, boundary lines, and gps data. Esri can help build the rest. I plan to use gps data that local trail users have created, ArcGIS 10.3 functions, and topographic raster data.

One thing I have learned is data can have a high monetary and disc space cost. That being said there are often free data sources, such as clearing houses, government sites, and third party sites. How do you navigate the network of sources? Or how does one, when tackling a project that requires raster data acquisition, start to think about getting their hand on useful raster data for ArcGIS use?

12 Replies
New Contributor III

​Chris, thank you! "leaf off" what a great term!

There are really great suggestions in this thread. After reviewing the sites and their associated data, I feel like I have more questions and answers! A quick analysis makes it clear that there many formats and styles to consider while building maps. Oh but how exciting!? It's really starting to become clear to me that data acquisition plays a major role in a GIS project, and that becoming familiar with the sources can play a crucial role in time management.

MVP Frequent Contributor

Just zoomed into upper state NY in ArcMap.

The online imagery basemap is using NAIP 1m 2013 imagery.

At the very least you could see if it is suitable before acquiring your own.

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New Contributor II

Hi Daniel,

Here is a link to a site that might help you navigate some of the issues in the world of public domain geodata:

Spatial Reserves | A guide to public domain spatial data

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