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I have 650 individual raster tiles (MrSID format) representing aerial imagery of a county. Each one is approx. 72 MB in size. As with a lot of aerial imagery, I use this as a base image for other layers, e.g. parcels, roads, subdivisions, etc, for planning purposes.

What is the best way to store/use these for such a purpose? I attempted to create a raster dataset within a personal geodatabase (ArcGIS Basic 10.2), but it was taking an incredibly long time so I cancelled the process. Perhaps my settings could be tweaked to speed up the process? This raster is for my own personal use, not as an image service over a server.

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What state is the county located in? What type of imagery, e.g. NAIP? Are you only interested in RGB or do you need NIR too? Finally, are you only using this imagery for visual purposes or do you need to process imagery? – Aaron Mar 6 '14 at 22:34
It's Orange County, VA; the imagery is flown by VGIN and delivered as an exclusive product to localities; only interested in RGB; I may need to process it in the future to determine impervious surfaces (among others). – Josh Mar 7 '14 at 13:19

I suggest you to do a Mosaic Dataset Mosaic Dataset ArcGIS 10.2

I did the same thing with lots and lots of ecw files and decided to give this a try and it really works beautifully but you have to have your original files local to prevent you from getting checkerboard.

Read very carefully and it took me a while to understand how this works. Use File Geodatabase instead of Personal Geodatabase.

Good Luck !

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+1 This is a really good option. Once you actually load you tiles into the FGDB, rendering is amazing. I second the part about using FGDB rather than PGDB. – Aaron Mar 6 '14 at 22:35
Problem is that the asker says at the outset that he is using a Basic level license and at least Standard is needed to create a Mosaic Dataset. – PolyGeo Mar 7 '14 at 8:35
I guess I'm stuck with the raster dataset at this point (it mosaics the tiles together as well). I used this process to try to load the raster dataset within the gdb. Can anyone explain why it was taking so long with only 2 GB of data (1.5 hrs to load 20 tiles)? – Josh Mar 7 '14 at 13:36
josh if you create personal geodatabase, it will hold up to 2 GB, so you need to create File Geodatabase it will hold as much as up to 1TB. I did mine and the geodatabase I had was 635 GB! – PROBERT Mar 7 '14 at 14:18

I think from 10.0 and on, the suggested route may be attempting to create a mosaic This blog entry may be useful As for storing all those images, the resource center may be a good place for you to poke around Good luck!

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Problem is that the asker says at the outset that he is using a Basic level license and at least Standard is needed to create a Mosaic Dataset. – PolyGeo Mar 7 '14 at 8:36
I'm trying this again using the mosaic tool, as suggested, within a file geodatabase this time. It seems to be running a lot faster than the right click > load data I tried yesterday to load the rasters into the dataset. – Josh Mar 7 '14 at 14:00

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