Where They Started

Much of USACE’s imagery is in the MrSID format, the industry standard for compressed imagery. It includes USGS Digital Raster Graphic hill shade and flat topographic sets, black and white DOQQs, historic photography, and recent orthophotography. The sets include edge-matched tiles and multi-gigabyte mosaics.

The Geospatial Unit built its current image viewer using Geocortex Essentials version 3.7 designed for ArcGIS Server. This system enables the Geospatial Unit to take advantage of the increasing availability of cloud-cached imagery offered by third-party providers such as Esri Online and Microsoft’s Bing Maps.

The foundation of the Geospatial Unit’s image distribution workflow, however, has always been to serve the thousands of in-house raster files that make up the enterprise’s image libraries.

Their Goals

  • Create a comprehensive distribution environment for imagery
  • Reproject images on the fly
  • Integrate a flexible system that interoperates with other business systems


The Geospatial Unit enlisted Express Server image serving software in conjunction with a Geocortex IMF web GIS viewer running on top of ArcIMS to deliver its thousands of image files. When they switched to ArcGIS and Essentials, they also upgraded their Express Server, which added support for reprojecting images “on the fly” to coordinate reference systems used most prevalently in the industry.

A hurdle arose in the new workflow surrounding the Web Mercator projection, a coordinate reference system widely used in cloud service repositories that has not been standardized, which prevented Express Server from properly reprojecting imagery on the fly for use with Esri ArcGIS Online and Microsoft’s Bing Maps. Working with Peterson and his team, Extensis engineers recreated a coordinate reference system script for the Web Mercator projection that resolved the incompatibilities. Says Peterson, “Express Server is interoperable with both ArcIMS and ArcGIS Server as well as both GeoCortex IMF and Essentials front-end products and proved to be an indispensable component in a solution made up of software products from multiple providers.”

The Results

The Albuquerque District’s Geospatial Unit is serving both in-house image holdings and cloud-based imagery to its USACE-wide audience

All of the image holdings in the enterprise system reproject on the fly which eliminates having to reprocess existing image libraries

The system remained flexible as Express Server operated both with the new back end (ArcGIS Server) and with the new web application software (Geo-cortex Essentials)


system flexibility


the reprocessing of image libraries

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+ Customer Testimonial

Express Server enables us to serve all of our MrSID-formatted data out of the same enterprise web map service as those coming from cloud services, making for a comprehensive distribution environment.

- John Peterson

Next Steps

Enhance Your Geospatial Imagery

Create the exact image you need with the powerful suite of editing tools in GeoExpress to crop, color balance, reproject, mosaic, decompress to other file types, and more.


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