Author, Serve, Use – ArcGIS Image Server

At the 2007 ESRI User Conference a popular topic of discussion (and a popular session) was that of ArcGIS Server – recall the solution was released last year along with ArcGIS 9.2. So, why so popular? Given that imagery is a natural background for many GIS applications Image Server really can be thought of as a no-brainer. Imagery is also useful for direct interpretation, statistics and analysis, used for vectorization (80% of vector data collected using imagery backdrop), and data verification after GIS analysis. Read on for more on ArcGIS Imager Server, the road ahead, and the number One enhancement for ArGIS 9.3!

ArcGIS image server provides fast access and visualization of large quantities of file-based imagery processed on the fly and on demand. With ArcGIS Image Server, you can maximize the value of your imagery by making it accessible and usable as soon as possible, enterprise-wide.


ArcGIS Image Server maximizes the value of your imagery:


- Enterprise-wide data availability… large datasets available to CAD, GIS users

- Direct read of imagery in native format

- On-the-fly server-based image processing

- End users get fast image access


In a demonstration we saw a sample service serving 500 2GB images (about 1TB)� very rapid pan and zoom, pixels are being ortho-rectified, fused, pan sharpened on the fly for distribution� nice! Click the image and view meta data within ArcMap� very handy. Optionally, the user can alter image compression value to speed up navigation� then eliminate compression value once you’ve discovered an area of interest.


Components of Image server

Author (arcmap, service editor), Serve, Use

Authoring an image service definition is conducted within the Service Editor – available as a toolbar within ArcMap. Use this tool to create and edit image service definitions. Add rasters, extract raster properties, georeference and process, define metadata � preview your service before serving to clients.


In another demonstration we saw how simple it is to create a service. The sample saw 100 TIF files (4.5 GB) made of imagery that was 1.5 ft, NAD 83 and combine with Landsat imagery obtained data from � 1 GB Landsat scenes, TIF in UTM format.


Input Rasters

Working with raster data is a snap, particularly with direct access without data conversion, enabling rapid application or web service development. Imagery can be easily tiled (DOQQ, NAIP, SRTM, CADRG) using rectified or non-rectified (Quickbird basic scenes). Various formats supported including TIF, NITF, BIL, SDE Raster Mosaic, JP2000, MrSID, and others.


Another demonstration I witnessed saw the quick setup, configuration, and publishing of a server. Some of the tasks accomplished:

-           identify location and name of cfg file (wizard)

-           create a service provider cfg file

-           export data format

-           create data projection parameters

-           establish resampling method or compression for transmission

-           set background color, establish mosaic method, control for overlap


Create dynamically updated image services

Available image server processes include: stack bands, image algebra, spectral matrix, grayscale, stretching, convolution filters (sharpen), pan-sharpen (fuse low-res with high-res), trend, classify, color map (show results of classifications), elevation visualization (hill shade, shaded relief), and histogram


Simple to install, no DBMS, no data conversion� fast implementation.

A typical performance scenario would see 2 sec/request processed per core, 72,000 requests/hr, support 120 concurrent users. Performance depends on image format (TIF is ideal), processing to be applied can add to performance.



Why Image Server??

- Use of imagery growing exponentially

- Available from many sources (aerial cameras, scanned maps, satellites)

- Depth of imagery increasing, more bands of imagery, higher resolution, overlap in imagery (same image from multiple dates or diff. angles)

- Imagery is often available but simply not accessible (obviously Google Earth has addressed this)

- Fast access to imagery and metadata


ArcGIS Image server � The Road ahead

- Tighter Integration with ArcGIS server

- Image service added to ArcGIS server � similar to a map or globe service

- Integration with ArcMap

- Add compiled service definitions from ArcGIS service manager or ArcCatalog

- Fast access to imagery and metadata

- Directly read of multiple image formats and types

- Accessible from multiple clients

- On the fly server based processing

- Changeable image service properties

- Much more!


At the opening keynote seesion on Day 1 of the UC we heard Jack Dangermond discuss how ArcGIS Server will support Mashups. AImagine… “we allow our servers to be mashed up. Integrating multiple GIS services and making use of consumer map services. Use data from Google Earth and other services � this will help us tell stories of geography on the web and integrate content into our GIS�s.” Obviously, down the road ArcGIS Image Server will be a very important piece of the puzzle!


Finally, in a cool segment during the conference keynote sessions we heard about “the Favorite 7 enhancements of ArcGIS at 9.3″ – The NUMBER 1 improvement was.. added security for your web app and services. This via the new Security ArcGIS Server Manager� create profiles for custom users and define their roles (ie. unrestricted usage for a manager etc�)


John Calkins, ESRI shares the Top 7 improvements in ArcGIS 9.3


For more on Image Server see


See Also:


Notes on ArcGIS Imager Server were obtained from a session at the 2007 ESRI UC titled ArcGIS Image Server by Peter Becker, Feroz Abdul-Kadar



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