Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My colleague and I are georeferencing a bunch of .tif images. After each image, we'll click "update georeferencing". The resultant .tif files are different between our computers and I'm trying to learn why.

If I use my colleague's computer to georeference the file, I can keep the georeferenced .tif and delete the .tfwx, tif.aux.xml, and .tif.ovr files, and the .tif will still appear in the correct location. ArcGIS recognizes the correct projection. But if I georeference the file on my computer and delete the .tfwx etc. files, the georeferencing information from my file is completely lost and it does not appear in the correct location. The coordinate system information is lost on my .tif file.

I'm flabbergasted about why our computers are performing this task differently. I've followed the exact same steps on the exact same files on both computers. Can you offer any advice? We're both using ArcGIS 10.

I've run gdalinfo on the various geotiffs, and the results look identical between the two resultant .tif files (right two panels). See gdalinfo results here -

share|improve this question
Could you explain why you want to remove the supporting files? These are what tells the GIS where the GeoTIFF belongs in the world. The .tfw file is the difference between a TIFF and a GeoTIFF. – Jay Guarneri Feb 26 '13 at 21:03
All I can think of is to double-check file permissions on the two computers. Basically, on your colleague's computer, the TIFF is being rewritten to update the header information with the georeferencing info. That's not happening on your computer. – mkennedy Feb 26 '13 at 21:04
Thank you for the comments! Jay, I'm removing the supporting files because he hope to publish the images in Geoserver which requires geotiff format. We understand that a geotiff is a self-contained .tif that does not need any supporting files to correctly georeference. I would love to be corrected if I am mistaken! – Stavros Feb 26 '13 at 21:27
I liked mkennedy's comment above, but then decided I couldn't reconcile this with the gdalinfo result. My suggestion is to copy your file to your co-worker's computer, his file to yours. Each open both files and check for geo-referencing behavior. The only explanation I can think of at the moment is that one of you has his software configured differently and only one of you is actually reading the georeferencing tags. No idea how that would happen, but it's all I'm coming up with at this point. Does this help – Llaves Feb 27 '13 at 1:04
Are you both using the same version of GDAL? – MappaGnosis Feb 27 '13 at 10:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.