Three key components of digital imagery are resolution, projection, and image format.  With several delivery options available, it is important to understand each term and how they relate to your project.


Resolution refers to the size of each pixel that comprises the entire image.  Each pixel contains data related to spatial location and color.  The smaller the pixel size, the better the quality of the image will be allowing you to zoom in further without the image losing clarity (ie. 6 inch > 1 foot).  As resolution improves, the file size becomes larger since more pixels are needed to complete the full raster and hence, more data is present.  Learn more


Projection, or coordinate system, relates to the method by which the curved 3-dimensional surface of the earth is portrayed on a flat 2-dimensional surface.  This generally requires a systematic mathematical transformation of earth’s lines of longitude and latitude onto a plane.  Generally the plane is either, flat and placed tangent to the globe (a planar or azimuthal projection), or formed into a cone or cylinder and placed over the globe (cylindrical and conical projections).  Every map projection distorts distance, area, shape, direction, or some combination of each.  Popular projection formats are UTM, State Plane, and WGS84.

NOTE: Some mapping programs require a specific projection in order to be used within the interface.  Please confirm which projection(s) are needed prior to ordering imagery to avoid errors or potential conversion fees.


Image format is simply the file extension the imagery is saved or converted into.  Although most mapping and graphic design systems today recognize a variety of image formats, it is critically important to confirm which extension(s) are compatible with your software, prior to ordering, to ensure immediate usability once the imagery is received.  Popular spatial image formats for mapping applications include .TIFF, .JPEG, .SID and .ECW.  Non-spatial image formats for graphic design platforms include .PDF, .GIF, and .BMP.

NOTE: If you need an image format that differs from the ones listed here, please notify your sales representative.