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NAME - Import GDAL supported raster file into a binary raster map layer.



SYNOPSIS help [-oefk] input=string output=name [band=integer] [target=string] [title="phrase"] [location=string] [--overwrite]


Override projection (use location's projection)
Extend location extents based on new dataset
List supported formats then exit
Keep band numbers instead of using band color names
Force overwrite of output files


Raster file to be imported
Name for output raster map
Band to select (default is all bands)
Name of location to read projection from for GCPs transformation
Title for resultant raster map
Name for new location to create

DESCRIPTION allows a user to create a (binary) GRASS raster map layer, or imagery group, from any GDAL supported raster map format, with an optional title. The imported file may also be optionally used to create a new location.

GDAL supported raster formats

Full details on GDAL supported formats are available at:

Selected formats of more than 40 supported formats:
Long Format Name Code Creation Georeferencing Maximum file size
Arc/Info ASCII Grid AAIGrid Yes Yes No limits
Arc/Info Binary Grid (.adf) AIG No Yes --
AIRSAR Polarimetric AIRSAR No No --
Microsoft Windows Device Independent Bitmap (.bmp) BMP Yes Yes 4GiB
BSB Nautical Chart Format (.kap) BSB No Yes --
VTP Binary Terrain Format (.bt) BT Yes Yes --
CEOS (Spot for instance) CEOS No No --
First Generation USGS DOQ (.doq) DOQ1 No Yes --
New Labelled USGS DOQ (.doq) DOQ2 No Yes --
Military Elevation Data (.dt0, .dt1) DTED No Yes --
ERMapper Compressed Wavelets (.ecw) ECW Yes Yes
ESRI .hdr Labelled EHdr No Yes --
ENVI .hdr Labelled Raster ENVI Yes Yes No limits
Envisat Image Product (.n1) Envisat No No --
EOSAT FAST Format FAST No Yes --
FITS (.fits) FITS Yes No
Graphics Interchange Format (.gif) GIF Yes No 2GB
Arc/Info Binary Grid (.adf) GIO Yes Yes
GRASS Rasters GRASS No Yes --
TIFF / GeoTIFF (.tif) GTiff Yes Yes 4GiB
Hierarchical Data Format Release 4 (HDF4) HDF4 Yes Yes 2GiB
Erdas Imagine (.img) HFA Yes Yes No limits
Atlantis MFF2e HKV Yes Yes No limits
Image Display and Analysis (WinDisp) IDA Yes Yes 2GB
ILWIS Raster Map (.mpr,.mpl) ILWIS Yes Yes --
Japanese DEM (.mem) JDEM No Yes --
JPEG JFIF (.jpg) JPEG Yes Yes 4GiB (max dimentions 65500x65500)
JPEG2000 (.jp2, .j2k) JPEG2000 Yes Yes 2GiB
JPEG2000 (.jp2, .j2k) JP2KAK Yes Yes No limits
NOAA Polar Orbiter Level 1b Data Set (AVHRR) L1B No Yes --
Erdas 7.x .LAN and .GIS LAN No Yes 2GB
In Memory Raster MEM Yes Yes 2GiB
Atlantis MFF MFF Yes Yes No limits
Multi-resolution Seamless Image Database MrSID No Yes --
NDF NLAPS Data Format No Yes No limits
NetCDF netCDF Yes Yes 2GB
OGDI Bridge OGDI No Yes --
PCI .aux Labelled PAux Yes No No limits
PCI Geomatics Database File PCIDSK Yes Yes No limits
Portable Network Graphics (.png) PNG Yes No
PCRaster (.map) PCRaster Yes No
Netpbm (.ppm,.pgm) PNM Yes No No limits
RadarSat2 XML (product.xml) RS2 No Yes 4GB
X11 Pixmap (.xpm) XPM Yes No

Location Creation attempts to preserve projection information when importing datasets if the source format includes projection information, and if the GDAL driver supports it. If the projection of the source dataset does not match the projection of the current location will report an error message (Projection of dataset does not appear to match current location) and then report the PROJ_INFO parameters of the source dataset.

If the user wishes to ignore the difference between the apparent coordinate system of the source data and the current location, they may pass the -o flag to override the projection check.

If the user wishes to import the data with the full projection definition, it is possible to have automatically create a new location based on the projection and extents of the file being read. This is accomplished by passing the name to be used for the new location via the location parameter. Upon completion of the command, a new location will have been created (with only a PERMANENT mapset), and the raster will have been imported with the indicated output name into the PERMANENT mapset.

Support for GCPs: In case the image contains GCPs they are written to a POINTS file within an imagery group. They can directly be used for i.rectify. The target option allows to automatically re-project the GCPs from their own projection into another projection read from the PROJ_INFO file of the location name target.


I plan to make a variety of improvements to in the future including support for reporting everything known about a dataset if the output parameter is not set.

The comand does support the following features, as long as the underlying format driver supports it:

Color Table
Bands with associated colortables will have the color tables transferred. Note that if the source has no colormap, in GRASS 5.0 will emit no colormap. Use r.colors map=... color=grey to assign a greyscale colormap. In a future version of GRASS will likely be upgraded to automatically emit greyscale colormaps.
Data Types
Most GDAL data types are supported. Float32 and Float64 type bands are translated as GRASS floating point cells (but not double precision ... this could be added if needed), and most other types are translated as GRASS integer cells. This includes 16bit integer data sources. Complex (some SAR signal data formats) data bands are translated to two floating point cell layers (*.real and *.imaginary).
If the dataset has affine georeferencing information, this will be used to set the north, south, east and west edges. Rotational coefficients will be ignored, resulting in incorrect positioning for rotated datasets.
The datasets projection will be used to compare to the current location or to define a new location. Internally GDAL represents projections in OpenGIS Well Known Text format. A large subset of the total set of GRASS projections are supported.
Null Values
Raster bands for which a null value is recognised by GDAL will have the null pixels transformed into GRASS style nulls during import. Many generic formats (and formats poorly supported by GDAL) do not have a way of recognising null pixels in which case r.null should be used after the import.
Datasets that have Ground Control Points will have them imported as a POINTS file associated with the imagery group. Datasets with only one band that would otherwise have been translated as a simple raster map will also have an associated imagery group if there are ground control points. The coordinate system of the ground control points is reported by but not preserved. It is up to the user to ensure that the location established with has a compatible coordinate system before using the points with i.rectify.



To avoid that the GTOPO30 data are read incorrectly, you can add a new line "PIXELTYPE SIGNEDINT" in the .HDR to force interpretation of the file as signed rather than unsigned integers. Then the .DEM file can be imported. Finally, e.g. the 'terrain' color table can be assigned to the imported map with r.colors.


To import GLOBE DEM tiles (approx 1km resolution, better than GTOPO30 DEM data), the user has to download additionally the related HDR file(s). Finally, e.g. the 'terrain' color table can be assigned to the imported map with r.colors.

To import Worldclim data, the following line has to be added to each .hdr file:


The import of HDF bands requires the specification of the individual bands as seen by GDAL:
# Example MODIS FPAR
gdalinfo MOD15A2.A2003153.h18v04.004.2003171141042.hdf
  SUBDATASET_1_DESC=[1200x1200] Fpar_1km MOD_Grid_MOD15A2 (8-bit unsigned integer)
  SUBDATASET_2_DESC=[1200x1200] Lai_1km MOD_Grid_MOD15A2 (8-bit unsigned integer)

# import of first band, here FPAR 1km: HDF4_EOS:EOS_GRID:"MOD15A2.A2003153.h18v04.004.2003171141042.hdf":MOD_Grid_MOD15A2:Fpar_1km \
# ... likewise for other HDF bands in the file.


"ERROR: Input map is rotated - cannot import."
In this case the image must be first externally rotated, applying the rotation info stored in the metadata field of the raster image file. For example, the gdalwarp software can be used to transform the map to North-up (note, there are several gdalwarp parameters to select the resampling algorithm):
gdalwarp rotated.tif northup.tif


r.colors,,,, r.null


GDAL Pages:


Frank Warmerdam (email).

Last changed: $Date: 2007/07/17 15:22:30 $

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