First, in Arcmap I set the data frame exactly equal to the page layout (2'hx3'w) and exported my hillshade, DEM, etc one after the other from layout view so that they were all the exact same size and extent.

enter image description here

Then, I did my editing in Photoshop to create a bump map/hillshade backdrop.enter image description here

Now I am trying to bring the image back in as a backdrop for a trailmap. I don't want to georeference based off common features if I can just use the exact corners of the data frame from my original export arcmap (I am already familiar with the process of georeferencing using common features). It seems like using the exact corners would prove more accurate and this process would be easier to streamline for future users.

If I am understanding correctly I can find the exact corners of the data frame in the Data Frame Properties>Data Frame>Extent>Fixed Extent. Is there a way to apply these coordinates to the corners of my image?

  • Did you export the file along with the world file ?
    Dec 7, 2015 at 21:45
  • Yes, our standard protocol is set up to export with georeferences -- is there a way I can just tack the world file from one of the arcGIS exports onto the single export from Photoshop? I am highly interested in locking down this workflow, so I can re-export and re-do the basemap with any specifications you think would help.
    – ChiefKleef
    Dec 10, 2015 at 19:31
  • 0ne thought is to export the world file and save it to your hard drive. So when you open the image and when you are done in Photoshop and rename it and then take the copy the world file and rename it to the same name as the image and ensure you add the right extension like .tiff and tfw.
    Dec 10, 2015 at 19:50
  • good idea, let me try this tomorrow and get back to you
    – ChiefKleef
    Dec 10, 2015 at 21:27

1 Answer 1


i've been stuck with this problem too lately. You need to rebuild the .pgw file and the .aux.xml file. If your file name didn't change you can just copy back the old file in the folder with the edited .png. Otherwise you'll have to rename them. If this doesn't work you might want to try this.

It will be a two step process. First use the define projection tool in the projection and transformation tool box. Set it to the correct projection. In my case it was geographic WGS84. Use the batch tool to do it quickly. (right click on the tool name) Set your environment variable and it will autofill the paths for you. This will build the .aux.xml

Next you rebuild the .pgw file. I've written a small R script that takes a text file consisting of 9 columns : ID, PATH, FILE, X, Y, ROTATION1, ROTATION2, X_RES, Y_RES, and it builds the .pwg file you need.

liste <- read.table(file="F:/WorkSpace/import_kml.csv", sep=",", header=TRUE)

path = "F:/WorkSpace/files/"
for(i in 1:length(liste){
write(paste(liste[[8]][i],liste[[6]][i],liste[[7]][i],liste[[9]][i],liste[[4]][i],liste[[5]][i], sep= "\n"), file=paste(path, liste[[3]][i], ".pgw", sep=""))


So the input file is custom build by hand since I didn't take the time to learn how to parse XML files. It's not long to create using the CMD command in the folder you files are type in dir /s /b *.png for the full file path and dir /b *.png for the file names use ">" to direct the output to a text file. Paste the outputs into a excell spread sheet. Save it as a .csv using the , as a separator. Input the north eastern corner coordinates, (this is the fastidious part) you need to fetch them from your dataframes. Then input the rotation coefficients. If they are perfectly lined up to the north use 0 both times. Then input the x and y resolutions. In my example they are in degree.

input file should look like this


the script will output a file that looks like that. It will be named the way you need it too.


It should display correctly after that. Hopefully you won't have to go through all this

  • thanks for the information, I will look into this as a solution and get back to you
    – ChiefKleef
    Dec 10, 2015 at 19:28

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