New to ArcGIS Pro - I want to add a spatial reference to a raster file I have downloaded (in this case from Nearmap.com).

When I click properties of the raster file through the new project TAB in ArcGIS Pro I can not edit/change the spatial reference.

Is ArcCatalog 10 still the only way to do this?

  • It's best to do this in Catalog anyway, if you update the raster properties in Map it may not be properly applied until you reopen the image (like SetRasterProperties for NoData). It used to be that the spatial reference was carried by a prj file and all you need do is copy one and give it the same base name as the raster - worked for GDAL, ArcGis... Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 0:46
  • I don't think there was ever a time when ArcCatalog was the only way to do this. Whenever I need to do it during automation I use the Define Projection tool of the Geoprocessing Framework which I access using ArcPy or ModelBuilder, but it is also easy to run as a one off from one of the Python, Search or Catalog windows.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 1:17
  • Catalog is not the only way @PolyGeo, define projection works just fine in ArcMap or within a python script but if the raster is already in the dataframe the updated spatial reference may not be applied correctly and the layer needs to be removed and added again, ArcGis Pro may be different but from 9.0 (toolbox in ArcMap, prior to that it was separate) up to 10.1 setting raster properties in ArcMap is not guaranteed to update immediately. Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 3:17
  • @MichaelMiles-Stimson You may be trying to answer another question because this one only mentions "raster data" and "raster file" - no mention of layers, data frames or ArcMap even. I'm not questioning the distinction between layer and data properties it's just that this question seems to only be talking about data and stated that ArcCatalog was the only way to apply a coordinate system - and it's not. As an aside Geoprocessing seems way more embedded in ArcGIS Pro than it ever was in ArcMap (or ArcCatalog).
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 3:32

1 Answer 1


You should be able to do this in ArcGIS Pro 1.0 by using the ANALYSIS tab to click the Tools button and open the Geoprocessing pane to find and load the Define Projection tool:

This tool overwrites the coordinate system information (map projection and datum) stored with a dataset. The only use for this tool is for datsets that have an unknown or incorrect coordinate system defined.

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