In ArcGIS for desktop I'm trying to create a TIN from an Orthophoto that has control points, the photo is high quality and has a huge amount of control points.

I'm just having issues creating the TIN properly.

I've been using the raster to TIN tool. When I'm creating the TIN is there certain limits I should apply to the Z factor, and those other options?

  • The raster to TIN tool is to convert a DSM or a DEM raster to TIN. These are rasters representing elevation. An orthophoto is just a photo with no elevation information. Why would you want to convert it to TIN?
    – Techie_Gus
    Dec 18, 2016 at 10:14

2 Answers 2


If your GCPs have Z values(usually they don't) you can create an XY event in ArcMAP. The steps are: File -> Add data -> Add XY Data(where you load your csv/txt file with lat/long/z) -> right click on the created table -> Data -> Export Data as shapefile -> load the shapefile -> Create TIN.

You wont be able to create a TIN out of a ortho because as @Techie_Gus said, "An orthophoto is just a photo with no elevation information". You could create a TIN from an external source(SRTM, GTOPO, ASTER) and drape the ortho on the model to check its accuracy.


Technically speaking you would not be able to make an elevation dataset (ie TIN) from an ortho image as it does not allow for parallax (overlapping pixels). If you are interested in generating elevation data from imagery (ie phodar - "photo LiDAR") you will want to utilize stereo imagery. Stereo imagery has overlapping pixels that allow for elevation extracts with the use of photogrammetry software, such as PCI Ortho Engine.

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