Does anyone have any ideas on how to best handle many large georeferenced files in an ArcMap Document?

I have somewhere around 250 individual historic aerials (none being in the same place or from the same year) that I'd like to have in the same document, rather that having to open a different ArcMap document for every grouping of aerials.

Not all aerial layers have to be open in the ArcMap document at a time, to that could help, but I was wondering if anyone had come across this issue before.


1 Answer 1


Whenever you handle large amounts of raster-data it is comfortable to use a raster-catalog. The raster-catalog is an option of the file-geodatabase format.

You can create the database via right-clicking on your folder in the catalog-window where you want to have the database, just choose "new" -"file-geodatabase". Then choose "new" - "raster-catalog". The most important option is if to save your raster-files in the database. You can choose between "managed" (will copy the data into the database) and "unmanaged" (will only reference to the files). When its done you can right-click your new catalog and "load" your files into it. After that you can open it in your project and it will have different options in the preferences where you can set how it should load your files. Standard is to just show your rasters as outlines when there are more than 9 on your map visible until you zoom into the map.

  • That worked perfectly! Thank you - this is exactly what I needed.
    – Matthew
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 17:20

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