It sounds complicated, but this approach would be quite simple. I'm just not sure, if I can solve my problem in this easy way.

I have a raster image and a set of vector data, that are all not georeferenced and stored in a vector program. The task is to georeference all data, but keep the image as raster, and the vector data as shapefiles.

The plain raster image I have already georeferenced.

Now I am wondering, if the following approach would work: I could take the raster image with the vector data on top and export that all together as image file. As I have the raster already georeferenced, georeferencing this raster should be easily, as it is exactly the same, only with a few more data (plain image information) on it. Could I now take each vector dataset and georeference it based on the already georeferenced raster with the vectors (as image information)? This would result in setting the links between the real vector data (the one that should be spatially adjusted) and the same vector data (but as image information). Spatially adjusting would in this case just be to always click on the same point between the real vector and the same vector, which is on the raster though.

I am not sure if my explanation makes sense, or how I could better describe my idea. Hopefully anyone understands me.

  • 2
    Yes that should work - I've done similar in the past
    – Midavalo
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


I think what you are saying, for ArcGIS Desktop, can be described simply as:

  • when you want to make raster or CAD data match existing control points use georeferencing
  • when you want to make vector data match existing control points use spatial adjustment
  • control points can come from various sources like existing raster, vector or entered coordinates
  • It is rather, when I georeference a raster with the vector information on it, if I can then spatially adjust the vector, on the same dataset, but already georeferenced as raster. Does this make sense?
    – the_chimp
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 18:13

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