What is the preference among GIS Specialist and Remote Sensing Specialist using the JPEG vs JP2000.

Yes, I am aware of other compressed files such as ECW or MrSID...

I am more of concern of how to add them to ArcMap or ENVI or ERDAS because it can take some time for these software to load them.

Currently, I have ArcGIS 10.1, ENVI 5.0 (plan on to upgrade to 5.1), and ERDAS 2010.

  • When you say JPEG, do you mean a .jpg file or another format (e.g. a tiff) with JPEG compression?
    – user2856
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 20:30
  • @Luke Yes I mean .jpg file
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 20:32
  • both are lossy compression, so what kind of data do you plan to use it for ?
    – radouxju
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 20:40
  • Well everyone knows that NAIP uses mrsid so it can be very difficult to subset some and then save them to either JPEG or JP2000.I will have to do subset from each county and then later mosaic them and export to either format.
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 20:49
  • 1
    I think it is almost always best to respond to requests for clarifications by editing your question.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 21:26

1 Answer 1


JPEG2000 Pros:

  • Better compression than JPEG
  • Supports both lossy and lossless compression, JPEG is lossy only
  • Supports any number of bands, JPEG only supports 3 bands
  • Supports more datatypes (including floating point), JPEG only supports 8 bit (byte) data
  • Internal precomputed multiresolution representation (aka pyramids)

JPEG2000 Cons:

  • Limited opensource support, the Jasper library can only handle small images and both it and OpenJPEG are horrendously slow. The only real options for JPEG2000 compression are proprietary software.
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    If I have to pick betwen those two (JPEG/JPEG2000) then JPEG2000 is the way to go for exactly the reasons Luke stated. ECW is considerably better for 8bit and now supports greyscale, RGB and RGBA. However ECW is a licensed compression (costs money) and some of the best JP2K compressors are also licensed... JPEG is always free. From a user point-of-view JP2K is slightly slower to render than JPEG (much slower than ECW) and JP2K causes memory problems in older versions of ArcGis (and other sofware) due to a bad dll with a memory leak. GDAL doesn't have this problem. Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 22:52
  • I'd have to agree with you on loading JP2K to ArcMap it take almost forever. I wonder how would you keep the bands if you compressed to ECW ? @MichaelMiles-Stimson
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 0:30
  • ECW is limited to 8 bit and only 1, 3 or 4 bands (greyscale, RGB and RGBA). Generally if I have more than 3 data bands I go with LZW/Deflate Tiff, mostly I deal with RGB or RGBA which suits ECW... I would take a larger file size over mucking up data with multiband for interpretation but can live with a bit of pixel value change with heads-up digitizing off orthophotography. Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 0:38
  • @MichaelMiles-Stimson ECW v3 supports UInt16 multiband data. It's not backwards compatible with earlier versions of the SDK (<=4.x) though so ArcGIS can't read it (as at ArcGIS 10.2.2).
    – user2856
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 2:39
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    I would add a few points: 1) For decompressing any image data out of JPEG the whole image must be decompressed which makes it unusable for really big geospatial images. 2) JPEG2000 compression can be done in thousands of different ways. Have a look at kakadusoftware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/…. It is oversimplified to say that JPEG2000 is good/bad without describing what has been studied: imagery, parameters, and software. 3) Flexibility and implementations with different weak/strong points is hard for users; a good recipe for one SDK may be a bad one for another.
    – user30184
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 12:45

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