I have a polyline shapefile of streams that I am attempting to convert to a raster using the "Polyline to Raster" conversion tool. However, rather than outputting a raster with distinct stream pixels, my output is a seemingly empty raster with a greyscale value scale of 0 to 255. My methodology is as follows:

1) I have created a field within "streams" called "rastervalue"
2) I assigned values of "1" to each stream feature in hope that all stream pixels within my output raster are represented by this value.
3) I ran "Polyline to Raster" using the following script:


I have attempted this with varying cell sizes, and my results seem to be the same. How can I generate the desired output?

  • 1
    Have you tried playing around with the symbology of your raster? If the cell values are 1 for streams, and 0 or NoData for the rest, the default display with greyscale 0-255 may appear uniform. Maybe you could also try setting the value to 255 and check out the results.
    – FSimardGIS
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 22:37
  • @FSimardGIS I have played around with it. I tried to display the results categorically, but it seems like there aren't any values to add.
    – Ashton
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 22:39
  • What is the field type of your values?
    – FSimardGIS
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 22:41
  • My "rastervalue" field is a short integer.
    – Ashton
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 22:42
  • 1
    Set up environment extent and cell size .
    – FelixIP
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 23:57

1 Answer 1


The issue is with the Cellsize input. When I tested the tool the default was quite large. Reduce the Cellsize value to something that suits your data. Here I have lines that are several hundred feet in length. I made my Cellsize 100 to create a rough raster representation of my lines.

enter image description here

arcpy.PolylineToRaster_conversion(Streams,"rastervalue", cellsize = 100)

  • As mentioned in my original post, I have set various cell sizes. I have tried large and small values, and the default value that the toolbox UI suggests. I still get the same result...
    – Ashton
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 17:44
  • Ah sorry, I'm a skimmer. What's the Linear Unit of your input polyline feature class? (Properties -> Source or XY Coordinate System) Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 17:52
  • No worries :) The linear units are US Feet.
    – Ashton
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 17:58
  • Actually, I think you were correct after all! The UI shows a default value in feet, but it looks like it actually converts it to decimal degrees?? (I'm not sure if this is a default or if it is because my dataframe is set to decimal degrees). So, the values that I thought were small, were actually not small at all. Once I choose an appropriate cell size in decimal degrees, I get my desired results. Thank you for getting me to look at this some more.
    – Ashton
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 18:07
  • Being a skimmer pays off once again! Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 18:14

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