I know there are a couple workarounds for this but I was hoping a direct solution exists.

I am looking for an image editor (like Photoshop but hopefully free software) which can be used to edit GeoTIFFs without removing their georeferencing information upon saving/exporting the edited file. I know that I can create a .TFW file to avoid this problem, but I'd like to avoid creating an extra file and would prefer to keep them as GeoTIFFs (.TIFF images with the georeferencing information embedded in them).

I've tried the GIMP, PhotoFiltre, LazPaint, and Paint.NET, none of them save the TIFF's georeferencing data when saving the edited image.

  • Manifold is good but probably overkill and not free. – mdsumner Sep 30 '14 at 7:57

Try using Paint.NET.

As of my last testing (GIMP, Affinity, Photoshop), this is the only "traditional" image editing software to properly preserve GeoTIFF metadata. Be aware that at current, not all bit-depths found in GeoTIFFs are supported, but "major" ones are (32bit, 24bit, 16bit, etc).

Fixed: EXIF metadata of type Float and Double are now supported.
This ensures GeoTIFF metadata is preserved.

See the Paint.NET release notes here:

@EvenRouault @nyalldawson @qgis @OSGeo
Absolutely awesome work, Rick!
Thanks so much!
This opens up the door to SO many possibilities, especially when redacting/modifying/cleaning up imagery.
I can't thank you enough for your hard work on this!

See a tweet testing this capability here:
https://twitter.com/Brett_E_Carlock/status/1174447891169103872 enter image description here enter image description here

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  • 1
    In my case 24bit and 8bit export from Paint.NET works, but 32bit export doesn't work: a image georeferenced with QGIS (georeferencer plung-in) that I edited with Paint.NET and exported 32bit, doesn't load back in QGIS: error "Invalid Data Source" – Alex Pandrea Mar 31 at 8:39
  • Interesting. I've not experienced that. Can you provide Paint.NET version and the raster so I can test locally? – Saijin_Naib Mar 31 at 13:51
  • Was able to reproduce locally. Going to follow up with PDN developer. – Saijin_Naib Mar 31 at 20:18

There are two programs using the libgeotiff library that will let you export and import georeferencing info from GeoTIFFs (and other image file formats): listgeo for saving the georeferencing info into a file, and geotifcp for writing the info from that file back to the image file after it's been edited. Downloads for the libgeotiff library can be found here: http://download.osgeo.org/geotiff/libgeotiff/, the two utilities you'll need are in this particular file.

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  • Thanks, that was one of the workarounds I found and probably what I'll use, I was just hoping there was an editor that would make it unnecessary.. – Dan C Sep 29 '14 at 18:38
  • Looks like both of these links are dead--would you be willing to update the urls? – Aaron Jan 23 '17 at 17:00
  • This is still the only workaround I know of for this problem. – Dan C Apr 21 '17 at 14:18

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