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 Data Management of ArcToolbox. This has been around for a while.

And second, the ArcGIS 10 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.

How to Clip Rasters in ArcMap

If you want to clip out the state of Wyoming, the first thing you will need is a polygon boundary which is the exact shape of the state boundary.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to clip rasters using two techniques in ArcGIS.

Of course, if you are looking for more time-saving tools in ArcGIS, check out our ArcGIS tips and tricks section for more.

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 raster 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.

Raster Clip Toolbox

Step 3. Run tool

Run the “clip” tool by clicking OK. Finally, the tool will clip the raster to the polygon extent.

Wyoming Shaded Relief

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.

Other Resources
ArcGIS 10: Using Imagery Video

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