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Raster Clip in GIS

Raster Clip

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.

In this example, we are using the Natural Earth data. Alternatively, you can use GIS data in our list of 10 free vector and raster data sets.

Step 1. Select Clip Tool in ArcToolbox

In ArcToolbox (Data Management > Raster > Raster Processing > Clip), double-click the clip tool.

Clip Tool in ArcToolBox

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.

Image Analysis Toolbar

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.

Select Raster in the Image Analysis Toolbar

Step 3. Select Polygon Boundary to Clip To

Select the record of the polygon that you want to clip the raster with.

Wyoming polygon record

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.

Image Analysis Toolbar Clip Button

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.

Export raster 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.

For example, satellite imagery and LiDAR data are a beast to work with. Wouldn’t it be nice to cut processing time down?

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.

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  1. Hard to say without seeing the data.

    But my guess is that it sounds like your original raster was Esri grid format. The raster table was a value attribute table (VAT).

    After you clip the raster and export, did you try running the tool “build raster value attribute table”. Make sure you backup your data before you test it out. If it’s a GeoTIF, then this format does not support VAT (at least from what I can remember).

    So, you might want to try using the clip tool and keep the same format of your original raster. If you want to use the Image Analysis toolbar, there’s a drop-down list where you can pick the format.

    If you could fimd the original raster format, that would be helpful. Then, you can export with that same format.

    Any more information would be helpful for me. Let me know how things work out.

  2. I am pretty new to rasters and I have been stumbling around for a while so I was glad to find this post, but I am still having a problem.

    I don’t actually know the format of my input raster, but it had float values attached to some attribute data. My output raster had no attribute data when I clipped using the image analyzer. Is this because I outputted as TIFF or was there a box somewhere that I needed to check and didn’t?


  3. Are the pixels actually shifting? For example, the input raster will have different values compared to the output raster in different locations of the raster? Or is the shift associated with how/where the shapefile is clipping the raster?

    If you were to resample your raster to a finer resolution and then clip the raster, what would be the result? Would there still be a shift?

    Is the shapefile used to clip the input raster in the same coordinate system?

    Sorry, but I’m a bit confused with the question

  4. Would you please address the cell shift that Adam mentioned? All my rasters that I clipped with a shapefile have a slight shift right. Is there a way to avoid this?

  5. I’m trying to clip a 2D processed map from pix4d but I can’t delete the unwanted edges
    How can I delete the unwanted edges?

  6. No unallowed characters – no special characters, no spaces, no numbers, just lower and upper case letters. I was memorably burned once a quarter century ago. I won’t get burned again.

  7. I wish Split Raster worked. Tried it on 10.3 and 10.5. Empty folder resulted. Maybe a file size issue? Inputs were source_dem, output folder, output base name, split method of polygon features, output format tiff (and ENVI, and GRID), Resampling nearest, split polygon feature class was a ~200 feature polygon shape file, other options were set to units:meters, cellsize specified same as imput DEM, and no data -9999. The output folder was empty on every try.

  8. Using the example data sets, how could one generate a DEM for each polygon? That is, a DEM extracted for (and named) Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, etc.?

  9. You can clip each separate sheet and then join, or you can mosaic the sheets and then clip.

    Sometimes if you have a border around each sheet you will have to clip each sheet beforehand

  10. Hi
    I georeferenced 7 geological map (1:100,000 geological map sheets next to each other) and now I want to clip parts of the 7 aforementioned maps. Is it necessary to join the 7 maps and after that to clip part of it?

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