ArcGIS Spatial Analyst Blog

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(35 Posts)
Esri Contributor

ArcGIS Pro 3.0 makes some exciting new capabilities available to you for the Spatial Analyst extension. In the Suitability Modeler it is now easier to create more complex models, and there is an option to process large raster data efficiently with Raster Analytics. If you do water flow modelling, there are some very powerful new tools for hydrology analysis. There is a new tool to calculate a spatial relative risk surface. You can now perform zonal analysis with circular statistics.  Read on for details on these changes, and more.


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Esri Contributor

For ArcGIS Pro 2.9, we made a number of improvements to the Spatial Analyst extension. Key amongst them is an exciting new capability for the Suitability Modeler. We added new functionality for calculating statistics for a moving window across multidimensional raster data. Read on for more details on these and other new and improved capabilities available with this release.


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Esri Contributor

Esri's no-cost Going Places with Spatial Analysis massive open online course is for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of spatial data analysis tools and workflows.


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Esri Contributor

Spatial Analyst in ArcGIS Pro 2.8 offers improved Distance, Reclassification and Zonal analysis. New help content is available for Distance.


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Esri Contributor

ArcGIS Pro 2.7 introduces a new tool, Surface Parameters, for analyzing the characteristics (slope, aspect, and curvature) of a surface such as an elevation surface or DEM. It is available with either a Spatial Analyst or 3D Analyst license. If you use the existing Slope, Aspect, and Curvature tools, the Surface Parameters tool is your new, better alternative with quite a few improvements. Some of these improvements are useful across most surface analysis metrics so we put them all in a single tool for a consistent experience, which also make it easier for us to add new analysis metrics in the future. This blog introduces the tool and some of its notable improvements.


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Esri Contributor

Listed here are the main functional areas that have been improved in ArcGIS Pro 2.7 (December 2020) release:

  1. Density
  2. Distance
  3. Generalization
  4. Hydrology
  5. Overlay
  6. Segmentation and classification
  7. Surface
  8. Zonal
  9. ArcPy

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Esri Contributor

Reclassification is the process of reassigning one or more values in a raster dataset to new output values. The Reclassify tool is available in the Spatial Analyst extension in both ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro. If you are used to working with ArcMap, there are some noticeable differences in the Reclassify workflow in ArcGIS Pro. Here is a blog post about the best practices of using the Reclassify tool in ArcGIS Pro Spatial Analyst extension, especially when migrating from ArcMap.

Reclassify Raster Data in ArcGIS Pro Spatial Analyst Extension

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Esri Contributor

Suitability modeling is one of the most common applications for a GIS analyst. It can be used to determine the best location to build a shopping center, housing development, or ski resort. You can also use it to find the best areas for parks, endangered wildlife habitat, or flood control. Suitability modeling is one of the first applications you are taught when learning GIS. It is the application that made you fall in love with GIS.

Traditionally, creating a suitability model is a linear process. You needed to understand the steps in the workflow in which you independently specify the parameters for each criterion with little knowledge of their effect on the output. You had to trust the process when creating the output.

The new Suitability Modeler is an interactive, exploratory environment for creating and evaluating a suitability model. It is available now for ArcGIS Pro 2.6 with a Spatial Analyst extension license.

The basic premise underlying the Suitability Modeler is that a model is a dynamic process. Constructing a suitability model is a nonlinear, iterative process. At each step of the workflow, analytical feedback is provided through interacting maps, plots, and panes. This allows you to make informed decisions on the parameters you specify and easily see how they will affect the final output.

The Modeler allows seamless back and forth movement between each stage of the model development. What you learn in one stage of the process may influence the decisions you make in another.

Because of the exploratory and interactive nature of the Suitability Modeler, you can justify each step of your modeling process. As a result, you will be more confident in the model output leading to better decisions.

The best way to understand the Suitability Modeler is to see it in action. The following video was presented at the Plenary of the 2020 Esri User Conference.

To learn more about the Suitability Modeler, see What is the Suitability Modeler?

To understand the general steps of a suitability model, see The general suitability modeling workflow.

The content of the blog The new Suitability Modeler: Changing the way suitability models are created is written by Kevin Johnston. Kevin has been a Product Engineer on the Spatial Analyst development team for over 29 years. He has degrees in Landscape Architect from Harvard and in environmental modeling from Yale. At Esri, Kevin’s current focus is developing suitability and connectivity tools. He hopes the tools that he works on can help users make more informed decisions.

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Esri Contributor

The Spatial Analyst extension has many new and improved capabilities in ArcGIS Pro 2.6.  One of the most exciting things is the new Suitability Modeler, which is an interactive way to identify the best location to site things. New and improved tools and functions are available across several analysis categories, including density, distance, extraction, generalization, local, multidimensional, segmentation and classification, surface,  and zonal.  Many more tools, functions and operators have been updated to directly support multiband raster data. If you have been using the Raster Cell Iterator in ArcPy, we’ve added a way to improve the performance.

In addition to this overview, we will have several blog posts that cover some of these changes in more detail coming out soon, so remember to check back regularly.

Where do I get it?

ArcGIS Pro 2.6 was released on July 28, 2020. Click the following link to get to Download page.

For a complete summary of all the changes that have been made for this release, have a look at What’s New for ArcGIS Pro 2.6.

What’s changed for Spatial Analyst?

Here are the main categories of the changes for this release:

  1. Suitability
  2. Density
  3. Distance
  4. Zonal
  5. Multiband
  6. Surface
  7. Segmentation and classification
  8. General tool and function enhancements
  9. ArcPy

1. The new Suitability Modeler

If you have used the capabilities of the Spatial Analyst extension in the past to do site selection, you will be familiar with the back-and-forth, iterative and manual process it can take to get to your final answer.

Well, there is now a better way!

The new Suitability Modeler is a dynamic, exploratory environment of interacting panes, plots, and maps allows you to create refined suitability models. It guides you through the steps and provides immediate feedback, so what you learn in one step may influence your decisions in another. Please give it a try and let us know what you think

The following graphic shows the primary interface elements of the Suitability Modeler, including the ribbon, the tabs of the modeler pane, and the transformation graphs.  We’ll have more information coming out soon that will fully introduce the capabilities and the workflow to follow.

2. Density analysis

The Kernel Density tool has a new parameter that allows barrier features to be considered when calculating kernel density for the planar method. The tool has also been enhanced to work with the parallel processing environment, and efficiency has been improved by using a new search algorithm.

3. Distance analysis

The Optimal Region Connections tool has a new parameter that determines if the paths will continue within the input regions.

To follow the pattern established in the Distance toolset where the original tools were moved into their own Legacy Distance category,  the raster functions for distance analysis have been similarly restructured.  In the list of raster functions, those in the Distance group should be the ones used for analysis going forward.  The functions provided in previous releases have been relocated to the new Distance (Legacy) group.

The new Optimal Path As Raster raster function has been added to the Distance group.

4. Zonal analysis

The Tabulate Area tool now processes overlapping polygon zones and calculates the area for each zone separately. You can also represent the input classes as rows or fields using the Classes as rows in output table parameter.

The Zonal Statistics and Zonal Statistics as Table tools and the Zonal Statistics raster function have a new percentile statistics type to compute extreme events. These tools and function can now also process both multidimensional zone and value rasters. Also, have a look at the How the zonal statistics tools work help topic, which has been substantially rewritten to better explain the operation of these tools.

The Zonal Histogram tool can now create histogram graphs. You can also represent the input zones as rows or fields using the Zones as rows in output table parameter.

5. Multiband raster analysis

Most local operations now have the capability to perform band-wise aggregation for multiband input rasters.  This includes nearly all of the Math tools, functions and operators, as well as the Con tool and Con function.

The Equal To Frequency, Greater Than Frequency, Less Than Frequency, Popularity, and Rank tools have a new parameter, Process as multiband, that gives you more control over how multiband input rasters are processed when creating single-band or multiband output.


6. Surface analysis

The Aspect tool has a new parameter, Project geodesic azimuths, to correct the angle distortion caused by the output spatial reference. These angles can be used to accurately locate points along the steepest downhill slope. This parameter is available only when the Method parameter is set to Geodesic.

The Cut Fill tool now calculates cut and fill operations using eight-way connectivity.

7.  Segmentation and Classification analysis

The Train Maximum Likelihood Classifier, Train Random Trees Classifier, and Train Support Vector Machine Classifier tools have a new parameter to contain dimension values in the input training sample feature class.

The Export Training Data For Deep Learning tool has a new default option for the Meta Data Format parameter, changing from KITTI Labels to PASCAL Visual Object Classes.

The Segment Mean Shift tool has a new parameter for setting the maximum size of a segment.

8. General tool and function enhancements

Several other tools have been optimized for improved performance or had specific new capabilities added.

Extraction analysis:

  • The Sample tool can now create a point feature class output or a table with new Generate feature class parameter.

Generalization analysis:

Local analysis:

  • The Combine tool has been rewritten to perform better. There is now no limitation on the number of input rasters that can be specified.

Multidimensional raster analysis:

9. ArcPy enhancements

In the Raster Cell Iterator class in ArcPy, you can now handle NoData cells more efficiently by optionally skipping them with the skipNoData key to increase the performance of your analysis.

Spatial Analyst resources

Do you have our Spatial Analyst resources blog post bookmarked?

Not only does it include a list of links to informative content, it is also updated as new resources become available.  For example, here are some blog posts that explain the Raster Cell Iterator that was introduced in the previous Pro release:


As you can see, quite a lot of new functionality and capabilities have been made available in this release. Please download it and give it a try.  As always, we welcome your feedback.  If you happen to encounter any difficulties, please let us know.

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Esri Contributor

We are excited to share with you some of the important improvements that we did in the Zonal toolset for ArcGIS Pro 2.6 and ArcGIS Image Server 10.8.1 to make your workflows more intuitive and powerful. We have significantly improved and enhanced the geoprocessing tools, the corresponding raster functions, the ArcGIS API for Python and the ArcGIS REST API.

New enhancement in zonal functionalities now included new capabilities, options, and ways of accessing the tools. Read on to learn more about it.

Process overlapping polygon zones

The Tabulate Area tool in ArcGIS Pro 2.6 Spatial Analyst extension now process overlapping zones and calculates area for each individual feature.

Calculate percentile

The zonal statistics tools and the function have an additional statistics type, percentile, to compute extreme events. Using the Zonal Statistics as Table tool, you can also calculate multiple percentile values at one go, as shown below:


This capability can be accessed from:

ArcGIS Pro 2.6 Spatial Analyst and Image Analyst extensions:

- Zonal Statistics as geoprocessing tool and function

- Zonal Statistics as Table as geoprocessing tool

ArcGIS Image Server 10.8.1:

- Summarize Raster Within as Map Viewer toolPortal tool in ArcGIS ProArcGIS API for Python and ArcGIS REST API

- Zonal Statistics as Map Viewer function and ArcGIS API for Python

- Zonal Statistics As Table as Portal tool in ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS REST API

Process multidimensional zone and value rasters

The zonal statistics tools and function can now process both multidimensional zone and value rasters. This capability is enabled by checking the parameter Process as multidimensional, as shown in the example below.


These tools are also available from the Multidimensional ribbon, which was introduced in ArcGIS Pro 2.5.


The zonal operation occurs slice-by-slice between the slices of the zone raster and the slices of the current variable from the value raster. See How the zonal statistics tools work to learn more about the multidimensional processing in these tools.


Multidimensional zone and value input rasters with the resulting zonal statistics raster are shown.

This capability can be accessed from:

ArcGIS Pro 2.6 Spatial Analyst and Image Analyst extensions:

- Zonal Statistics as geoprocessing tool and function

- Zonal Statistics as Table as geoprocessing tool

ArcGIS Image Server 10.8.1:

- Summarize Raster Within as Map Viewer toolPortal tool in ArcGIS ProArcGIS API for Python and ArcGIS REST API

- Zonal Statistics as Map Viewer function and ArcGIS API for Python

- Zonal Statistics As Table as Portal tool in ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS REST API

See what else is new with multidimensional raster analysis from this blog post: Let’s do data science III: Multidimensional Raster Analysis in ArcGIS Pro

New output table schema

A new table output schema is available for the Tabulate Area and Zonal Histogram tools with ArcGIS Pro 2.6 Spatial Analyst extension, which facilitates further query and analysis on the output tables. In the Tabulate Area tool, you can now choose between representing the input classes as rows or as fields in the output table with the Classes as rows in output table parameter. Similarly, to improve analysis workflows, in the Zonal Histogram tool, you can represent the input zones either as rows or as fields, using the new Zones as rows in output table parameter.


Create histogram 

The Zonal Histogram tool in ArcGIS Pro 2.6 Spatial Analyst extension can now create histogram graphs. Just note that the zonal histogram graph is not generated by default. In order to create the graph, first check the Zones as rows in output table parameter and specify an output graph name.


Also, do not forget to check out the What’s New for Spatial Analyst in ArcGIS Pro 2.6 to know about everything that is new with the Spatial Analyst tools.

What else is new in ArcGIS Image Server?

The Zonal Statistics As Table tool is now available in ArcGIS Image Server as a Raster Analysis portal tool and as an ArcGIS REST API task to calculate the values of a raster within the zones of another dataset and report the results to a table.

To learn more about what’s changed in ArcGIS 10.8.1, see What’s new in ArcGIS Image Server.

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