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Problem: Why can't I see the rasters in my raster catalog ?

Description

Raster Catalogs can fail to draw their respective Raster Dataset members in ArcGIS applications, and rather only show the blue wireframe display.

Cause

The first thing to check is the raster file locations in the raster catalog. The IMAGE column needs to point exactly to each of the raster datasets on disk before they can be found. Quite often, these can have a mapped drive letter in the pathname that is no longer valid, due to someone moving the Raster Catalog table itself, or perhaps a change in the mapped drive letter designation can cause this problem.

A more involved reason might be where the raster datasets listed in the raster catalog may not have the same associated georeferencing as the Raster Catalog fields (ie XMin, YMin, XMax, YMax). In ArcView 3.x, these Raster Catalog table fields controlled the placement of the individual Raster Dataset, and if you are migrating to ArcGIS 8.x, this has changed. At ArcGIS 8.x, the Raster Dataset files that are referenced in the Raster Catalog need to have the same georeferencing as the respective XMin, YMin, XMax, YMax columns inside the Raster Catalog table. ArcGIS uses a raster's internal georeferencing over any external georeferencing (opposite to ArcView 3.x), and this is usually the cause of why the differences between versions of software occurs.

Solution or Workaround

If you need to georeference your Raster Datasets, then you can use ArcMap to do so, using the Georeferencing toolbar.

If you want ArcGIS to use the Raster Datasets' internal georeferencing (within the format) as having precedence over the external georeferencing (within an associated world file), then a registry setting can be modified. This registry setting is available starting at ArcGIS 8.2.

(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ESRI\Raster\Preferences; String value key name = "filepref.favor_world_file").
Changing this key from the default of 'false' to 'true' causes Raster Dataset world files to be used instead of its internal georeferencing.