In previous blogs, I have spoken about how imagery can be utilised within the ArcGIS Platform and how it can be analysed. Through all this it has been about imagery can be viewed downstream. What about the prepossessing or specialised analysis not through web services? Well this is where ArcGIS Pro comes in.
In 2017 Esri has stated that their goal is for ArcGIS Pro to be functionally equivalent or better than the current toolsets in ArcMap. To this end in ArcGIS Pro 1.4 Esri have included a new core tab, Imagery. Core tabs are always on and accessible unlike layer specific tabs which only appear when an entry is selected in the Table of Contents.
Why is this so important? Well Esri has recognised that that imagery is a core spatial layer that many organisations utilise on a regular basis in their GIS Workflows. So Esri wanted to provide as much common image processing and pre-processing right out of the box.
To start with Esri have provided a brand-new Ortho Mapping toolset. In the past if you wanted to correct imagery for terrain, stitch imagery together from an image capture mission or block adjust images you would have to have done this in a specialised image processing package. ArcGIS Pro now provides a guided workflow to perform these tasks. There is no need for additional software and at the end of the process you can share the corrected imagery with your organisation.
Perhaps one of the most requested functions from ArcMap is the ability to Geo-referencing imagery. As in the case of the ortho mapping, Esri went beyond the current capability in ArcMap and added new functionality. Traditionally the geo-reference workflow is to find common tie points and shift the image to these locations. Now Esri has added auto tie point generation. Simply fit the image to the approximate correct area over the imagery basemap and the software will attempt to find areas of commonality and adjust.
You want to quickly analyse the imagery then there is the raster function analysis toolset but to go one step further and classify an image then there is the Classification toolset. This is where it gets interesting. This is an entire workflow that guides the end user through; gathering training samples, choosing a classifier, and segmenting the image. Then, and this is the really exciting part, you can hand the whole process off to the new Image Server. This enables you to processes not one image but vast stores of imagery and have the results served back as organisational image services, thereby removing the processing load from the workstation. Going forward you will see more functionality come through like this where the desktop products will leverage web processing services
Finally, there is the Indices and Process under the tools section. Process is designed to perform quick common functions against an image selected in the table of contents. Processes such as image clip, image mask, image difference and image mosaic are available. While Indices toolset is designed to process multiband imagery such as Landsat. Characteristics such as vegetation health, fire scar mapping and geological analysis can be quickly performed against the selected image.
So, with the release of ArcGIS Pro 1.4 Esri has introduced image analysis as a standard function. In future versions, imagery will evolve further and we will see more leverage of the Image Server web service capabilities. Web services are the future of GIS.