I'm trying to convert this TIF to EPSG:3857, but when I run:

gdalwarp -of GTiff -s_srs epsg:4326 -t_srs epsg:3857 -co "tfw=yes" original.tif converted.tif

I just get a black TIF do you know what I am doing wrong?

Command output

> gdalwarp -of GTiff -s_srs epsg:4326 -t_srs epsg:3857 -co "tfw=yes" original.tif converted.tif
Creating output file that is 4088P x 4105L.
Processing input file original.tif.
Using band 2 of source image as alpha.
0...10...20...30...40...50...60...70...80...90...100 - done.
  • Are you sure the input is WGS84 Geographic? Have you adjusted the contrast of the output? Sometimes a very high value pixel or nodata value can make all valid values appear black or near black and a good contrast stretch will fix that. I can see that it is... perhaps the alpha band is tricking it. Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 1:36
  • Where did you view the tiff?
    – R.K.
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 1:47
  • @R.K. the TIF is in the link in the question. Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 1:48
  • @MichaelMiles-Stimson I have't done anything else to the image except run the gdalwarp comment. It says it's using band 2 as alpha. Can I do a contrast stretch with gdal? Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 1:50
  • No contrast stretch is in the software you're using to view the image (like QGIS). It worked for me on just the first band, how important is the alpha channel? Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 1:52

1 Answer 1


I think it's the alpha band that's causing problems. To extract the data band:

gdal_translate -of hfa -b 1 original.tif band1.img

Then to warp:

gdalwarp -of GTiff -s_srs epsg:4326 -t_srs epsg:3857 -co "tfw=yes" band1.img band1_warp.tif

Gives an image:

enter image description here


> Driver: GTiff/GeoTIFF Files: D:\Testing\Tiff\band1_warp.tif
>        D:\Testing\Tiff\band1_warp.tif.ovr
>        D:\Testing\Tiff\band1_warp.tfw
>        D:\Testing\Tiff\band1_warp.tif.aux.xml Size is 4088, 4105 Coordinate System is: PROJCS["WGS 84 / Pseudo-Mercator",
>     GEOGCS["WGS 84",
>         DATUM["WGS_1984",
>             SPHEROID["WGS 84",6378137,298.257223563,
>                 AUTHORITY["EPSG","7030"]],
>             AUTHORITY["EPSG","6326"]],
>         PRIMEM["Greenwich",0],
>         UNIT["degree",0.0174532925199433],
>         AUTHORITY["EPSG","4326"]],
>     PROJECTION["Mercator_1SP"],
>     PARAMETER["central_meridian",0],
>     PARAMETER["scale_factor",1],
>     PARAMETER["false_easting",0],
>     PARAMETER["false_northing",0],
>     UNIT["metre",1,
>         AUTHORITY["EPSG","9001"]],
>     EXTENSION["PROJ4","+proj=merc +a=6378137 +b=6378137 +lat_ts=0.0 +lon_0=0.0 +x_0=0.0 +y_0=0 +k=1.0 +units=m +nadgrids=@null +wktext  +no_defs"],
>     AUTHORITY["EPSG","3857"]] Origin = (-13520950.132675199000000,4662178.034760829100000) Pixel Size =
> (0.081230547006398,-0.081230547006398) Metadata:   AREA_OR_POINT=Area 
> DataType=Generic Image Structure Metadata:   INTERLEAVE=BAND Corner
> Coordinates: Upper Left  (-13520950.133, 4662178.035) (121d27'38.74"W,
> 38d35' 0.40"N) Lower Left  (-13520950.133, 4661844.583)
> (121d27'38.74"W, 38d34'51.97"N) Upper Right (-13520618.062,
> 4662178.035) (121d27'28.00"W, 38d35' 0.40"N) Lower Right (-13520618.062, 4661844.583) (121d27'28.00"W, 38d34'51.97"N) Center   
> (-13520784.097, 4662011.309) (121d27'33.37"W, 38d34'56.19"N) Band 1
> Block=4088x2 Type=Byte, ColorInterp=Gray   Description = Layer_1  
> Overviews: 2044x2053, 1022x1027, 511x514, 256x257, 128x129   Metadata:
>     DESCRIPTION=Layer_1
>     LAYER_TYPE=athematic

Wierdly when warping with an alpha band the entire band becomes 0 (transparent) but when extracting and warping the 2nd band:

gdal_translate -of hfa -b 2 original.tif band2.img
gdalwarp -of GTiff -s_srs epsg:4326 -t_srs epsg:3857 -co "tfw=yes" band2.img band2_warp.tif

it looks fine... then stack the bands back together:

gdal_merge.py -separate -o stacked.tif band1_warp.tif band2_warp.tif

and the image is warped with a correct alpha band.

Further testing indicates that it could be the input tiff that is causing the alpha band to become bad:

gdal_translate -of hfa original.tif original_as.img
gdalwarp -of GTiff -s_srs epsg:4326 -t_srs epsg:3857 -co "tfw=yes" original_as.img warp_from_img.tif

Produces the correct image alpha band: Band 1 Band 1

Band 2 (alpha) Band 2

As warping from the img no longer sees the second band as an alpha band.

  • That's interesting, any idea why the alpha channel is causing issues. Ideally I'd like to retain it in the final image - is that possible? Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 2:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.