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My need to dwell with geographical tools is only temporary, thus I am not well versed and my question is difficult to pinpoint exactly. But here it goes:

-I have about 5-10 sites, for which I need to assemble geographic info from many sources (satellite data, aerial images, meteorological data, geological info, many of these sources having several layers). These come with many formats (JPEG2000, Geotiff, HDF5, ...)

-I can use either Matlab, python (arcpy?), QGIS or ArcGIS.

-The essential part is to drop the extra data from various files, to clip the raster to contain only the small rectangular area (the location is known) and write this down (likely in ASCII format for debugging purposes). How to do this with some of the tools? The process is not repetitive. (This is just for practical value: instead of 2G of data I will have only 20Mb or so.)

-the next phase establishes a new raster grid and interpolates the data to those grid points. It is nice if this can be done with the tools but quite likely I have to do it in the script, since the grid point data vectors are later fed into other data analysis software.

The grid sizes vary from 2km to 2 meters. Is one of the tools enough? Should I use several tools for addressing different formats? Is there reason to learn the tools or just use one week to code a script in Python?

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Could you refine the question please. As it stands, I'm not sure where to start answering your question. Thanks – Aaron May 30 '13 at 19:28

In ArcGIS, you can crop rasters by using Spatial Analyst toolbox (Spatial analyst-> Extraction -> Extract by mask), where mask if your small rectangular files.

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you can use mask for interpolation . in ArcGIS 10 => select one of the interpolation tools(kriging,IDW,..) in Arctoolbox => click on Environment button =>Raster Analysis => Mask

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You can also set the analysis extent after interpolation, then export to a new raster

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The Clip (Data Management) tool will allow you to clip and image based on a polygon shapefile.

The tool can be found here: Toolboxes\System Toolboxes\Data Management Tools.tbx\Raster\Raster Processing\Clip

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