Problem: No attribute table in the output raster when running To Raster conversion tools in ArcMap
In some instances, when running the Polyline To Raster or Polygon To Raster conversion tools on a feature layer with a geographic coordinate system (GCS), the conversion tool does not generate an attribute table for the output raster.
The raster conversion tools calculate the default and optimal cell size for the output raster based on the shortest extent of the width or height of the input feature dataset in the output spatial reference, divided by 250.
As the GCS uses decimal degrees as the unit of measurement, the extent is limited to 360 degrees. If the extent of the input feature exceeds the limits of the GCS, the default calculated cell size value is inappropriate to produce an output raster with an attribute table.
This issue can also occur if the input feature is changed from a projected coordinate system (PCS) to a GCS through the XY Coordinate tab of the feature class properties. The coordinate system is changed but the extent of the feature is retained.
Solution or Workaround
The following methods can be used as a workaround for this issue:
- Retain the default cellsize value in the raster conversion tools
If the input feature is originally in a GCS, the Cellsize parameter of the raster conversion tool must not be larger than 360 degrees. Use the default value of the Cellsize parameter as this value is the optimal value based on the extent of the input feature dataset.
- Change the coordinate system of the input feature layer using through the Project tool
If the coordinate system of the input feature is changed from PCS to GCS, use the Project tool to change the feature to a geographic coordinate system instead of converting the coordinate system through the feature's properties.
As the extent value of a PCS may contain up to eight digits, the Project tool converts the extent to an appropriate value for a GCS. This allows the cellsize of the feature layer to be calculated optimally by the raster conversion tool. For more information on the Project tool, refer to the following ArcGIS Help page: Project
- FAQ: Why do the distance measurements in ArcMap display in degrees instead of linear units?
- FAQ: Why does the scale bar measure incorrectly when the ArcMap Data Frame is in a Geographic Coordinate System?
- How To: Identify the spatial reference, projection, or coordinate system of data
- ArcGIS Help: Specifying a coordinate system
- ArcGIS Help: The geographic coordinate systems warning
- ArcGIS Help: What are geographic coordinate systems?
- ArcGIS Help: What are projected coordinate systems?