I have multiple rasters of the same area and I want to mix them into a composite raster, with each of the said rasters becoming one band of this new image, But the input images are very large and I won't have enough storage space to save the resulting raster.

I want to do something similar to how mosaic raster works (referencing raster files to be used, but not actually creating a raster file on the HDD). I want to export deep learning data from this composite raster and temporarily need the layers stacked like a multi-band image.

How can I do this? most of the solutions I tried didn't work.

  • You are using ArcMap?
    – Bera
    Jun 8, 2021 at 6:58
  • If you provide one of those solutions and how it didn't work, you'll have a focused question.
    – Vince
    Jun 8, 2021 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


Since you're referring to an ESRI tutorial, I'm assuming you are trying to combine the rasters in ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap. When working with large raster datasets, you can opt for creating a virtual raster. A virtual raster is not actually a raster, but a way of storing multiple rasters.

As I mostly work with QGIS myself, I do not know how you can create virtual rasters in ArcGIS software. In QGIS, however, it is a simply operation. QGIS uses the GDAL library to build a virtual raster (see link). You can follow this tutorial if you would like to use QGIS.

Edit: ArcGIS offers something similar, called a mosaic dataset. You can find a detailed explanation here.

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