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Creating raster catalogs in a geodatabase

Release 9.2
Last modified September 22, 2008
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About creating raster catalogs in a geodatabase

When you create a raster catalog in a geodatabase, you are creating an empty location to contain multiple raster datasets. You can then load one or more raster datasets into your empty raster catalog. You can create a raster catalog using the context menu in ArcCatalog, or using the Create Raster Catalog tool.
When creating a raster catalog, the coordinate system needs to be set for the geometry column. If your coordinate system is unknown, you will need to specify the domain for the geometry column. Otherwise, if neither of these are set, your datasets may not be visible in the display.

Learn more about raster catalogs

How to create raster catalogs in ArcCatalog

  1. Right-click a file geodatabase, point to New, then click Raster Catalog.
  2. Make sure that the output geodatabase is correct. If not, navigate to the proper geodatabase.
  3. Optionally, choose a template raster catalog on which to base your new raster catalog.
  4. You may want to use an existing raster catalog as a template for your new raster catalog if you have created additional fields in the raster catalog that you want to have in your new raster catalog.
  5. Type in a name for the new raster catalog.
  6. Optionally, click the Spatial Reference Properties button Spatial Reference Properties to choose a coordinate system for the raster catalog.
  7. Click the Spatial Reference Properties button Spatial Reference Properties for the coordinate system for the geometry column and set the coordinate system. If the coordinate system is unknown, then set the x, y domain for the geometry column. Make sure that the domain is set to adequately surround the entire set of raster datasets that will comprise the raster catalog.
  8. Optionally, you can set a configuration keyword.
  9. Optionally, set a spatial grid.
  10. Choose whether you want your raster catalog to be managed or unmanaged by the geodatabase.
  11. Click OK.


  • The raster catalog name cannot have spaces. You can use underscores to separate letters.
  • If you want to base your new raster catalog on a template, you can specify a template raster catalog. The new raster catalog will then have the same fields as the template raster catalog.
  • If your coordinate system for the geometry column is unknown, you will need to set the domain.
  • Setting the domain for a raster catalog works the same way as it would for a feature class.
  • Learn how to create feature datasets
  • You do not need to specify a Spatial Index Grid since the file geodatabase uses its own optimized index.
  • Once you have created your raster catalog, you can load raster datasets into it using the Load Data command from the context menu in ArcCatalog.
  • Raster datasets within raster catalogs can be managed in two ways by the file and geodatabases: managed by the geodatabase or not managed by the geodatabase. To have the raster catalog managed by the geodatabase means that the raster datasets will be copied and stored alongside the geodatabase. When a row is deleted from the catalog, it is deleted from the geodatabase. When you do not have your raster managed by the geodatabase, there will only be a pointer connecting the raster catalog row to the file-based raster dataset.
  • To upgrade an ArcSDE 8.x embedded raster catalog to a new geodatabase raster catalog, right-click the old raster catalog and click Register With Geodatabase. This can only be performed with an ArcSDE geodatabase.
  • The SDERASTER command line loader loads raster catalogs with the 8.x schema. These raster catalogs must be upgraded by clicking Register With Geodatabase found on the ArcCatalog context menu.

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