This might surprise you to hear… But there are two ways to clip rasters in ArcMap.
First, the classic technique is the raster clip tool in the “Data Management” toolset of ArcToolbox. This has been around for a while.
And second, the ArcGIS Image Analysis Toolbar can clip rasters as well. The main advantage of the “Image Analysis Toolbar” is that you can visualize the end result before you export it.
Sounds neat? Let’s take a look at both techniques to clip rasters in ArcMap.
Clipping Rasters in ArcMap
If you want to clip out any digital imagery, the first thing you will need is a polygon boundary that you want to clip out. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to clip rasters using two techniques in ArcGIS.
Option 1. ArcToolbox Clip Raster Tool
In the first example, we use the Raster Clip tool in the Data Management toolbox.
Here are the steps to follow to clip rasters using this method. If you want to follow along, you will need a raster image and a polygon boundary.
Step 1. Select Clip Tool in ArcToolbox
In ArcToolbox (Data Management > Raster > Raster Processing > Clip), double-click the clip tool.
Step 2. Fill in fields
INPUT RASTER (REQUIRED): This is the raster you want to clip. We want to clip the “Shaded Relief” raster.
OUTPUT EXTENT (OPTIONAL): This is the polygon boundary you want to clip to. You can select specific records in the polygon dataset and it will only clip this boundary. In our case, we would select the polygon of Wyoming before dragging and dropping it in the field. If you have coordinates instead of a polygon extent, type the maximum and minimum X and Y values.
USE INPUT FEATURE FOR CLIPPING GEOMETRY (OPTIONAL): This checkbox clip rasters to a polygon boundary. We want to clip to the state of Wyoming so insert a checkmark in the checkbox.
OUTPUT RASTER DATASET: This is the name of the output (clipped raster). Add an extension for the output such as TIF, IMG, or JPG.
NODATA VALUE (OPTIONAL): This means all the pixels with the specified value will be set to NoData in the output raster dataset. You can change this value in this field.
Step 3. Run tool
Run the “clip” tool by clicking OK. Finally, the tool will clip the raster to the polygon extent.
Here’s a video that demonstrates how to clip a raster using ArcGIS Pro. In this tutorial, we clip out a golf course in Los Angeles, California.
Option 2. Clip Raster with the Image Analysis Toolbar
For the Image Analysis Toolbar method, the main advantage is that you can visualize the end result before you export it.
Essentially, you create a temporary raster. If you like the temporary result, you can save it to memory.
Here are the steps to clip rasters using the Image Analysis toolbar in ArcGIS:
Step 1. Enable Image Analysis Toolbar
Enable the Image Analysis Toolbar (Windows > Image Analysis). After, this will display the image analysis window pane in ArcMap.
Step 2. Select Raster to Clip
In the image analysis toolbar, select the raster that you want to clip. Make sure you select the checkbox and highlight the raster. If you don’t highlight the raster in the image analysis toolbar, the clip button will be greyed out.
Step 3. Select Polygon Boundary to Clip To
Select the record of the polygon that you want to clip the raster with.
Step 4. Click Clip Icon
Click the “clip” button in the image analysis toolbar. This will create a temporary raster. You can view the temporarily clipped raster for an idea of how it will look when exported. All you have to do now is save this clipped raster.
Step 5. Export Raster
In the Image Analysis Toolbar, highlight the new clipped raster the tool creates. Save the new clipped image by clicking the export button.
Choose the location and name of the file that you want to save. You can also change the cell size and the format of the clipped raster. Finally, click save to export the raster.
Why clip rasters?
Clipping rasters means that you can save time. Processing data to a larger extent can really put a crunch on you and your processor.
The good news is that you can save time when working with raster data.
How? Clip rasters to shapefiles (your area of interest). When you clip rasters, you generate workable subsets of data. All in all, we limit analysis to only the area of interest.