In ArcGIS, is it possible to create a raster with an associated attribute table where each pixel is represented by a "row" in that table. I would like to specify unique attributes for each raster pixel, rather than for each "Value" of pixels (the default raster attribute table in ArcGIS seems to be one row per "Value" attribute of pixels).

  • Indirectly, if you use 'raster to point' this will create a point feature class with one point (row) for each cell, then export the table. I don't know how useful this would be in the situation of the raster but it totally depends on what you want to do with these values. Mar 30, 2014 at 22:05
  • Looking to create a raster whose cells are a simple 1 or 0 value, but which also have about 50 attribute values of type boolean (or short integer if boolean is not possible) representing suitability for specific land use types. In the end, user can use info tool to click a pixel and see the attributes of that pixel.
    – Joebocop
    Mar 30, 2014 at 22:15
  • Perhaps this is not actually possible? I have done a fair amount of Googling but have not located an instance of a raster attribute table having one row for each pixel. If I give every pixel a unique value, I can then join a table of any "width" on that foreign key, I suppose.
    – Joebocop
    Mar 30, 2014 at 22:57
  • Could you create a long int raster that has a different value for each cell, thus one row per cell... raster to point, point to raster using the OID/FID as the cell value? Mar 30, 2014 at 23:05

1 Answer 1


Storing data in a raster has to be done in a "one band <--> one information" logic, and this is valid for any software (not only ArcGIS). Raster "attribute tables"(when they are supported) need to be understood as "look up table", in other words they are tables providing additionnal information about the unique value that is stored in the pixel (full class name, RGB values for the color of the class...). The number of columns in a raster attribute table is not limited, but if you want to store different thematic attributes, you need to create a raster with multiple bands (one band per thematic information). A user clicking on this multi-band image would see all attributes. Note that this set of bands would probably have a good compression ratio and should be stored in band interleave per pixel for fast access to the series of values.

The alternatives are

1) the conversion into point data (vector)

2) the creation of a single complex attribute value (which could have its look up table). If you stack your booleans like this (1001101011010011...101), it creates a binary number which can store any combination. Note that this number will be potentially very large (> 10^15 in your case) and you will need a 64bit integer to store it. However, all combinations are not possible: you will never have more entries than the total number of pixels in your map.

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