I have a BMP file where I know the coords of the corners, and hence have a generated a World File according to ESRI's standards. It has the the right filename, but when I add the image in ArcMap, it complains there's no spatial information.

Things I've tried:

  • Turned on the "Use world file to define the coordinates of a raster" option
  • Different extensions for the world file - BMPW, BMW, BPW
  • Trying the help... the directions it gives are for a link file, which has to be imported manually for each raster (I'll have hundreds to these rasters)

So the question is: how do I get ArcGIS to use the world file?

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    World file—extension *.bpw webhelp.esri.com/arcgiSDEsktop/9.3/… needs to be formatted correctly webhelp.esri.com/arcgisdesktop/9.3/… – Mapperz Jul 19 '13 at 14:20
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    Would recommend png or tif rather than bitmap from experience (mainly due to file size and resolution) – Mapperz Jul 19 '13 at 14:21
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    Did you give it a projection definition as well? The world file won't contain that. – johns Jul 19 '13 at 14:30
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    Perhaps you could post your world file. In my experience ESRI software is very picky about formatting, right down to being sensitive to the placement of whitespace. (The most reliable way to create a world file that will be correctly read is to start with an existing, working one--ask the software to create it if you need to--and modify it very carefully.) BTW, a "link file" is for "warping," not for establishing the affine transformation connecting (row, col) coordinates to world coordinates. It sounds like you may be reading an irrelevant help page. – whuber Jul 19 '13 at 14:41
  • There are two possible issues: 1) ignoring the warning message, does the image overlay with other data when the data frame is set to the bmp's coordinate system? If so, the world file is working correctly. 2) As johns says, you still have to define the coordinate system of the image. Once that's done, ArcGIS will be able to project it to other coordinate systems. – mkennedy Jul 19 '13 at 15:44

If the message you see is something like "you are missing a Spatial Reference", then the world file is alright. The world file cannot define the SR (spatial reference). To do this, right-click your image in Catalog, select Properties, scroll down to the Spatial Reference section, click "Edit" to define the Spatial Reference. This will generate a *.aux.xml file (for BMP) containing the SR information. Now, as you add the BMP image to ArcMap, you will not see the "missing SR" message.

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