I work with raster data and my task is to digitize a big image. This consumes much time just for digitizing roads and buildings!

I'm looking for tools to simplify working on raster data to digitize features, such as automate road extraction, smooth features, etc. For examples, check these videos: RoadTracker & Overwatch.

I have ArcGIS 9.3 and 10 but other suggestions are welcome too.

  • do you have access to arcscan?
    – johanvdw
    Sep 2, 2011 at 12:56
  • my request is not relate to your question, i want to any tools extension to make easy digitize and make more analyst, like (Feature Analyst, Road Tracker), (featureanalyst.com)
    – GIS Man
    Sep 2, 2011 at 13:24
  • 2
    That is exactly what arcsan does.
    – johanvdw
    Sep 2, 2011 at 13:26
  • 1
    limitation with ArcScan is to vectorise the raster it need to be only black&white 2-bit or greyscale bitmap renders - ArcScan will only work if the image is comprised of 0 and 1 values.
    – Mapperz
    Sep 2, 2011 at 13:51
  • This question should be reworded and retitled to indicate that you're looking for a program or extension that does the same thing as RoadTracker and Overwatch Feature Analyst. Those tools perform feature extraction in a very specific way. It doesn't seem like you're interested in tools that accomplish the same thing in a different manner, so the question is poorly worded and too general (for what is desired). Thus the downvote.
    – user3461
    Sep 2, 2011 at 17:06

2 Answers 2


Your question is kind of similar to one I asked before about land cover extraction. The solution that I was given was to use the open source GIS software called GRASS (see my question/answer below).

Land Cover Feature Extraction from Satellite Imagery


There is a whole list of Raster to Vector software here


Potrace is free and quite good.

"Potrace(TM) is a utility for tracing a bitmap, which means, transforming a bitmap into a smooth, scalable image. The input is a bitmap (PBM, PGM, PPM, or BMP format), and the default output is an encapsulated PostScript file (EPS). A typical use is to create EPS files from scanned data, such as company or university logos, handwritten notes, etc. The resulting image is not "jaggy" like a bitmap, but smooth. It can then be rendered at any resolution. Potrace can currently produce the following output formats: EPS, PostScript, PDF, SVG (scalable vector graphics), DXF, PGM (for easy antialiasing of pixel-based images), Gimppath, and XFig. Additional backends might be added in the future. "


(but you will have to georeference your vector data (DXF) afterwards) then convert to shapefile or geodatabase.

Have had mixed success with ArcScan - dependent on the original quality of the raster scan and noise.

  • Thanks for all, but so far no one understand me, i want to programs extension for arcgis 9.3 or 10, to make easily work on raster data (iamge), like this youtube.com/watch?v=86TVj88BaLE&feature=related, and watch the video in this link overwatch.com/products/feature_analyst.php, so i want other production because this products is a commercial and i cant find any license for it, just i want any other programs work as this products.
    – GIS Man
    Sep 2, 2011 at 15:53
  • I understand what you're looking for. This RoadTracker also would reduce my current task effort to probably half!!! It would be wonderfull to have somthing like that in QGIS, for example. Oct 24, 2011 at 9:53

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