Stacking layers of imagery in ArcGIS

This blog is in response to a comment about how to create a layer stack in ArcGIS.

We try really hard at Esri to make imagery management as easy as possible. It’s often an overlooked aspect of image analysis, but if you’re waiting a long time for an image to load, or to put together a band composition, it takes the fun out of it.

There are two ways that you can make a layer stack in ArcGIS. One is to use a raster product. From the Catalog pane, navigate to the folder where you have your imagery, and if you see this icon next to one of the items, you’re in luck.

A raster product in the Catalog window

Here’s what it looks like zoomed in. It’s a satellite over a generic raster.

raster product zoomed in

Now, we don’t support raster products for every single sensor that’s out there. If you want to know if the type of imagery you are working with is supported as a raster product, check out this page.

If you’re imagery is not supported, what you can do to create a layer stack is select all of the bands in the image analysis window. Then click on the band composition button. You won’t have all of the functionality that you get from a raster product (you won’t have a pansharpened image already set up for you, for example) but this will create the layer stack that you’re looking for.

how to create a layer stack

About the author

Kevin Butler is a Product Engineer on Esri’s Analysis and Geoprocessing Team working as a liaison to the science community. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography from Kent State University. Over the past decade he has worked on strategic projects, partnering with customers and other members of the science community to assist in the development of large ecological information products such as the ecological land units, ecological marine units and ecological coastal units. His research interests include a thematic focus on spatial statistical analytical workflows, a methodological focus on spatial clustering techniques and a geographic focus on Puerto Rico and midwestern cities.


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