ArcGIS Spatial Analyst

What’s New for Spatial Analyst and Raster Analysis in ArcGIS Pro 2.3/2.4 and ArcMap 10.7

The latest updates to the ArcGIS platform are now available!  If you are a user of the Spatial Analyst extension, or do Raster Analysis in general, read on for all the details on what’s new and what’s changed.

Where do I get it?

We released ArcGIS Pro 2.3 and ArcMap Desktop 10.7 and Enterprise 10.7 in January of this year.  Just in time for UC2019, we’ve also released the follow on versions of ArcGIS Pro 2.4, ArcGIS Desktop 10.7.1 and ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7.1, with updates and even more new functionality.  You can click on those links to download and install the software right now.

For a quick summary of all the changes that have been made for these releases, have a look at their respective What’s New topics:


What’s changed?

 Here are the main categories of the changes.

  1. New and updated geoprocessing tools in ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap.
  2. New and updatead Raster Functions available in Pro.
  3. Updates to the Raster Object and new ArcPy Functions in the Spatial Analyst module.
  4. Updates to the Raster Analysis toolbox.
  5. Raster Analysis through the Map Viewer.
  6. Raster Analysis in the ArcGIS REST API.

 The specific version and platform that new functionality was first introduced at will be identified.

1.  Geoprocessing with the Spatial Analyst extension

Many geoprocessing tools have been updated for the Spatial Analyst extension for ArcGIS Pro 2.3 and 2.4, as well as for ArcMap 10.7 and 10.7.1.  We have a new toolset with some tools for multidimensional analysis in Pro2.4.  Also, a new environment was introduced in Pro 2.3 and ArcMap 10.7 that gives more control over how cell size is managed during projection.

 New environment for controlling cell size during projection

In Pro 2.3 and ArcMap 10.7, a  new analysis environment setting, Cell Size Projection Method was introduced, and is available for the majority of Spatial Analyst tools.  This setting gives you control over how the output raster cell size will be calculated when datasets are projected during analysis. The default method is equivalent to the method used in previous releases, so there won’t be any change in your results unless you choose one of the other two methods.  As for the new options, one method is geared to preserve the resolution, so that the same number of square cells are preserved in the projected extent as are in the original extent.  In the other new method, the center of the original extent is projected to the output coordinate system and used to calculate an average output cell size.

The following links give more details on this environment:

Distance toolset

In Pro 2.4 and ArcMap 10.7.1, a new Euclidean Back Direction tool calculates the direction to the neighboring cell along the shortest path back to the closest source, while avoiding barriers.  The Euclidean tools, Euclidean Allocation, Euclidean Direction, and Euclidean Distance, have two new parameters to support calculating direction around barriers. The new parameters are input_barriers and out_back_direction_raster.  The Cost Path As Polyline tool has been expanded to use the new back direction raster, being output from the Euclidean tools, as input, so that paths can be created around barriers.

Extraction toolset

In the extraction toolset for Pro 2.3 and ArcMap 10.7, the following tools have been re-engineered for better performance: Extract Multi Values to Points, Extract Values to Points, and Sample. The interpolation methods have also been improved for these tools.  The Sample tool now supports image services on multidimensional data.

Generalization toolset

The Expand and Shrink tools in Pro 2.4 each have a new parameter giving you a choice of method to perform the operation.  The default Morphological option returns the same result as in previous releases. The Distance option uses a distance-based method that also supports parallel processing for improved performance on large inputs.

Hydrology toolset

The Flow Distance tool in Pro 2.3 and ArcMap 10.7 has a new parameter, statistics_type, that determines the statistics type used to compute flow distance over multiple flow paths.

Multidimensional Analysis toolset

A new Multidimensional Analysis toolset is now available in ArcGIS Pro 2.4. It contains two new geoprocessing tools with which you can aggregate your data over time and calculate anomalies in your variables. The Aggregate Multidimensional Raster tool generates a CRF multidimensional raster dataset by aggregating existing multidimensional dataset variables along a dimension. The Generate Multidimensional Anomaly tool computes the anomaly for each slice in a multidimensional raster to generate a multidimensional dataset.

Neighborhood toolset

The Focal Statistics tool in Pro 2.3 and ArcMap 10.7 now supports the Parallel Processing Factor environment, allowing multiple processors to be used when calculating statistics of the output raster for improved performance.

In Pro 2.4 and ArcMap 10.7.1, this tool has a new Percentile statistics type available. With this option selected, a new parameter percentile_value is available, which allows you to specify the which percentile you wish to calculate. The value range is from 0 to 100, with a default of 90. The Median statistic option now supports floating point input rasters, and for increased accuracy, the output will always be floating point.

Segmentation and Classification toolset

The Export Training Data For Deep Learning tool in Pro 2.4 has two new parameters to help generate image chips for deep learning workflows. The in_mask_polygons parameter allows you to limit the area where image chips will be generated, and rotation_angle specifies the angle to use for data augmentation. Additionally, Labeled Tiles is now a supported metadata format.

Surface toolset

The Contour tool in Pro 2.3 and ArcMap 10.7 has improved performance for most polygon and polyline output.

The Contour and Contour List tools in Pro 2.4 and ArcMap 10.7.1 now support multicore processing with the Parallel Processing Factor environment.

2. Raster Functions available in Pro with the Spatial Analyst extension license

Raster Functions are a great way to quickly perform raster operations on your data. In ArcGIS Pro 2.3 and 2.4, several new Global raster functions are available, and enhancements have been made to many Local raster functions.  Listed below are links to those functions, and indication of what version of Pro that capability appears.  On each of the help function pages, you’ll see it noted if a Spatial Analyst or Image Analyst is required.

Data Management

Distance analysis

Hydrology analysis

Neighborhood analysis


Multidimensional data support in raster functions

In Pro 2.4, most local raster functions now support multidimensional rasters as input. The exceptions are the global raster functions, and a few functions that do not have a raster as the primary input.

3. ArcPy Spatial Analyst module

In ArcGIS Pro 2.4, the ArcPy Spatial Analyst module has been extended to support multidimensional data.

The Raster object in ArcPy Classes has new capabilities for managing and processing multidimensional data in the Python environment.

Several new Functions are available in the Spatial Analyst ArcPy module for creating raster objects that support multidimensional data.

4. Raster Analysis tools with ArcGIS Enterprise

When signed in to an Enterprise portal that is configured for raster analysis, the following toolsets have new and enhanced functionality available.

Hydrology toolset

Use Proximity toolset

5. Raster Analysis in the Map Viewer with ArcGIS Enterprise

 10.7 release

Two new tools are exposed in Map Viewer through the Enterprise portal:

The Raster function editor is a visual programming interface for building imagery and raster analysis processing chains. The workflows can be saved as raster function templates (RFTs), which can automate your image analyses and processes. You can create and modify RFTs in the function editor panel. The Raster function editor is exposed in Map Viewer through the Enterprise portal.

10.7.1 release

Enhancements have been made to two existing tools exposed in Map Viewer through the Enterprise portal.

6.  Raster Analysis in the ArcGIS REST API

For performing Raster Analysis through a REST API, one new service task was added, and several others have new parameters available.

 Tasks that perform hydrologic analysis (10.7)

Tasks that use proximity for performing analysis (10.7.1)

Tasks that use deep learning to detect objects  (10.7.1)

New resources

 Do you have our Spatial Analyst resources blog post bookmarked?

Not only does it include a list of links to informative content, we also work to keep it updated as new resources become available.  For example, here is some of the material that was added recently :


That’s a quick survey of the new and improved functionality we’ve been working on over the past year.  Once you’ve downloaded and installed the latest versions of ArcGIS Pro, Desktop, and Enterprise, try them out, and be sure to explore the new capabilities on offer.  As always, please report back any issues you encounter through the Support channels or GeoNet, so we can get started on studying them.

About the author

Juan is a Product Engineer and Documentation Lead on the Spatial Analyst team.

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