Difference Between Vector And Raster Images

Difference Between Vector And Raster Images

Difference Between Vector And Raster Images

What is a raster?

In digital photography and computer graphics, the term “raster” is commonly used. It is essentially a technique that uses colored pixels to create two-dimensional graphics.

These photographs can be viewed on paper, a computer screen, or other devices. The number of pixels required for image generation is determined by the image’s height and breadth.

Raster graphics are not easily scaled.

This is due to the fact that they are only made up of a limited number of pixels. When resized, the pixels do not increase in number, but rather in size. As a result, the resulting image is frequently fuzzy.

A Raster image has a single numeric value for each pixel. This value determines the apparent color as well as the pixel’s dimensions.

These pixels are arranged in a certain pixel format, which is then used to create a Raster grid.

Surprisingly, the majority of photos stored on a computer are in Raster format. However, the majority of them are compressed to prevent taking up a lot of RAMS.

Raster pictures, on the other hand, are commonly utilized in editors like as Paint Shop Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Paint, and even Coral Painter. These programs manipulate each individual pixel in the image.

What is a Vector?

Vector, like Raster, is a frequently used method in computer graphics. It creates visual images by using geometric shapes such as points, curves, lines, squares, and polygons.

This method is preferred in industries including architecture, engineering, typography, surveying, and 3D rendering. It cannot, however, be employed in digital photography or remote sensing.

Each Vector image is made up of a mathematical formula that specifies the coordinates, colors, and measurements of the geometric forms.

The same mathematical method is used to adjust the dimensions of an image when it is resized. As a result, the final image is fairly clear. However, some photos may have aliasing. For such images, the most widely used file types are EPS, PDF, CDR, SVG, WMF, and AI.

Furthermore, these images are great for printing because the numerical values may readily adjust the color and dimensions to meet the printer’s specifications. This means that even when scaled, the print will be clear and crisp.

The Primary Distinctions Between Raster and Vector

They are:

  1. Raster images are those composed of pixels, whereas vector images are composed of lines, curves, and fills.
  2. Raster graphics formats include GIF, JPEG, TIFF, XBM, PNG, and PCX, whereas Vector graphics formats include EPS, WMF, PICT, TrueType, and PostScript.
  3. Raster images are not scalable; however, vector images are.
  4. Painting Raster is similar to dipping a brush in paint and putting it on a real canvas, whereas painting vector just colors the outlines of the images.
  5. Vector is great for drawings, illustrations, logos, and other technical graphics, whereas Raster is best for photo editing.
  6. Raster files can be opened in Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and GIMP, whereas vector files may be opened in CorelDraw, Illustrator, and Inkscape.
  7. Converting a Raster to a Vector image is complicated and time-consuming, but Vector images can be readily changed back to Raster images.
  8. Converting a Raster to a Vector image is complicated and time-consuming, but Vector images can be readily changed back to Raster images.


Raster images are composed of pixels, but vector images are composed of geometrical objects such as lines, curves, and polygons.

Furthermore, Raster graphics are not scalable since the quantity and dimensions of the pixel remain constant, whereas Vector graphics are easily scalable because their dimensions alter using a simple mathematical equation.

When utilized in different software and for different reasons, each of them has its own advantage.

The distinction between raster and vector data in GIS

Raster images are scanned maps, satellite images, digitalized aerial photography, or digital photographs.

Raster data is made up of pixels, each of which has a value that reflects information such as temperature and chemical concentrations.

The pixels are neatly grouped in a grid of columns and rows. In contrast to the usage of pixels in raster data, vector data vertices or sequential points are employed for data representation. Each vertex has a y and an x coordinate.

Rivers, linear features, administrative borders, and highways are examples of vector data. Vector data employs polygons and lines to depict longitude and latitude.

GIS (Geographic Information System), a computer-based technology, is used to organize, analyze, and display referenced information, particularly geographic information.

Spatial data is a data format or type available in GIS that can be stored as raster data or vector data.

Using GIS, the relationship of geodata may be easily viewed and understood in the form of maps, charts, and reports, among other things.

Raster data is very helpful since it may be used in a wide variety of applications.

Raster data is classified into four types:

  • Base maps.
  • Surface maps.
  • Theme maps.
  • Feature characteristics.

Vector-based files are also widely utilized, although users are often unaware of this. For example, font files are extensively used, although many people are unaware that they are vector drawings.

The fonts stay legible even when the text size is increased, whether online or offline, like in a word document. Raster data and vector data differ in several ways, including the data to be represented and the mode of data representation.

Among the differences are:


Despite the fact that raster and vector data are both forms of spatial data, their definitions differ. While raster data is made up of structured cells with specific information, vector data is utilized for data with distinct boundaries.

Data representation

Vector and raster data are represented differently. Raster data is represented in a grid matrix or cells that are ordered into rows and columns.

Vector data, on the other hand, makes use of vertices or sequential points to store information. In vector data, longitudes and latitudes are represented by polygons, lines, and points.

The data type

Raster data represents continuous data, whereas vector data represents discrete data. Raster data includes information such as temperature, soil PH, flow, height, distance, and air pressure.

Rivers, linear features, and administrative borders are all examples of vector data. The type of spatial data used is determined by the type of data to be represented.

Complexity level

Raster data is much simpler than vector data in terms of data representation mode and data type. Because vector data is represented in vertices, most users are more prone to make mistakes than raster data, which is largely in numbers and is ordered.

Vector data has a complex data structure, with each unit having a unique topology, making it challenging to excite.


Raster data is regarded as simple. It is not necessarily inexpensive, but the maintenance cost is lower than that of vector data, which is highly expensive because to the high-quality colors required for display.

The risk of data loss

Raster data is more susceptible to data loss than vector data. This is due to the difficulty of establishing network connections.

When there are no dedicated algorithms or hardware for the purpose, projection transformations become time-consuming.

Accuracy level

Using vector data has numerous advantages. Aside from making it easy to describe the entire typology, the images are accurate.

Unlike raster data, where details may be slightly off, vector data is usually correct. The constraints imposed by a raster cell dimension dataset can result in spatial inaccuracies.

When data is restructured, precision is lost, especially when it is done to a raster cell boundary that is regularly spaced.

Upkeep of quality.

Vector data keeps its quality longer than raster data. Unlike raster data, which loses precision when changed, vector files represented by lines, polygons, and points may be easily scaled up and down while retaining their quality.

When expressing graphic assets such as company logos, icons, and images, vector files are optimal. While keeping great quality, the same file can be used for multiple designs, such as mobile apps and enormous billboards.

Image compression

Pixels are used to represent images in raster data. In most situations, they lack unique pixels, which makes compression into smaller data packets easier.

Compression of raster data is simpler than compression of vector data, which requires spatial compression in some cases.

Detailed information presented

Because it represents square areas, raster data is more detailed. In this scenario, they explain the interiors of their representation in depth rather than the limits of their representation, as is the case with vector data.

Vector data are preferred for retaining acquired spatial features, but raster data should be used for evaluating stored data such as temperature that varies by location. Satellite pictures and aerial photos are also stored in the GIS as raster data.

When more specific geographic data is required, raster data can be used, however it may not apply to all characteristics, such as the latitudes and longitudes provided in vector data.


Vector data and spatial data are the fundamental spatial data forms in a geographic information system. Before deciding on a structure, evaluate the nature of the data to be represented.

Accuracy is critical since data restructuring in raster data can result in spatial mistakes when compared to vector data, which remains constant and maintains quality even after scaling.

Raster data is represented by a grid matrix, whereas vector data is represented by vertices or sequential points.

Advantages of using vector data

Because vector data has vertices and routes, the graphical display is more aesthetically beautiful. Furthermore, because data is not dependent on grid size, it provides greater geographic accuracy.

With vector data models, topology rules can aid with data integrity. Furthermore, vector data structures are used in network analysis and proximity operations.

Disadvantages of using vector data

Continuous data is saved and shown as vectors, which is inefficient. It would take a lot of generalization to display continuous data as a vector.

Although topology is useful for vector data, it is often time consuming to process. Any feature changes necessitate topology modifications. Vector manipulation algorithms are complex because they have many properties.

Advantages of raster

The data model for satellite data and other remote sensing data is raster grid format. Cell size is easy to grasp when it comes to raster locations.

Map algebra with raster data is typically quick and simple. Overall, quantitative analysis with discrete or continuous rasters is simple.

Disadvantages of raster

Because cell size affects graphic quality, it might have a pixelated appearance and feel. Linear features and routes, for example, are difficult to portray.

You can’t make network datasets or apply topology rules to rasters. You also don’t have the same level of flexibility with raster data attribute tables.

Because raster databases store values for each cell in an image, they have the potential to grow quite big. The size of the cell shrinks as the resolution rises. However, this comes at a cost in terms of processing speed and data storage.


What is raster image?

Raster graphics, also known as bitmap graphics, are a sort of digital image in which an image is represented by tiny rectangular pixels, or picture elements, organized in a grid configuration.

What is the meaning of raster data?

Raster data is any pixelated (or gridded) data in which each pixel corresponds to a distinct geographical location.

A pixel’s value can be continuous (e.g., elevation) or categorical (e.g., land use). If this seems familiar, it’s because this data structure is incredibly common: it’s how we represent any digital image.

What is raster data with example?

Raster data is cell-based data, and it includes aerial and satellite photography. Raster data is classified into two types: continuous and discrete. Population density is an example of discrete raster data. Temperature and elevation readings are two instances of continuous data.

Where do I find raster data?

There are several methods for obtaining raster data. Aerial photography and satellite imaging are two of the most prevalent methods.

In aerial photography, an airplane flies above a location with a camera positioned beneath it. The photos are then georeferenced after being downloaded into a computer.

What is vector data?

When most people think of geographic data, they think of vector data. The data in this format is made up of points, lines, or polygons. Vector data is made up of discrete points saved as coordinate pairs that reflect a physical location in the world.

What are vectors in GIS?

[data models] vector- A coordinate-based data model that represents geographic characteristics as points, lines, and polygons.

Each point feature is represented by a single coordinate pair, whereas line and polygon features are represented by ordered lists of vertices.

What is the difference between raster and vector GIS?

Raster data is represented by a grid matrix or cells that are grouped into rows and columns. Vector data, on the other hand, uses vertices or sequential points to store information. Longitudes and latitudes are represented in vector data by polygons, lines, and points.

What is the difference between vector and raster spatial data?

Even though they are both types of geographic data, raster and vector data have different definitions. While raster data is made up of structured cells that contain specific information, vector data is made up of data with distinct bounds.

What is vector data example?

Vector data is represented as a collection of simple geometric objects such as points, lines, polygons, arcs, circles, and so on. A city, for example, can be represented by a point, a route by a collection of lines, and a state by a polygon.

What are the advantages of vector data?

Vector data can more accurately describe topographic features than raster data. Vector data models can accurately describe all types of features. When specifying the location and size of all topographic features, points, lines, and polygons are accurate.

What is raster data good for?

Raster data is more suited to mathematical modeling and analysis. Because raster surfaces only represent one characteristic or value, computations, algorithms, and quantitative processing may be performed quickly and easily.

The grid surface is perfect for displaying and storing continuous values.

Is raster or vector better?

Raster pictures are ideal for digital photography and print products. Vector is the greatest format for projects that require scalable shapes and solid colors, whereas raster is the preferable format for projects that require intricate color blends.

Which is more accurate vector or raster data?

Because vector data has vertices and routes, the graphical display is more aesthetically beautiful. Furthermore, because data is not dependent on grid size, it provides greater geographic accuracy.

What are the uses of spatial data?

Graphics Using Spatial Data Maps are a popular way to show geographical data because they can quickly communicate complex themes.

They can help authenticate or offer evidence for decision-making, teach others about historical events in a region, or aid with the understanding of natural and man-made phenomena.

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