Can QGIS 2.4 follow Linux soft links?

I want to add a number of raster layers from a store of NED30m elevation data, and thought I'd do it by creating a collection of softlinks in one directory to the elevation files nested in the store.

However, when I try to add a layer from one of the links, QGIS 2.4 complains:

Raster layer: somepath/elev_ned30m_links/n46w105.adf is not a supported raster data source

However, n46w105.adf is the result of a linux ln -s command:

ln -s /Mapstore/ned30m/grid/n46w105_1/w001001.adf

QGIS will open w001001.adf just fine if approached directly, but that means digging down into each tile's directory structure, while the softlinks can be created programmatically with a script.

1 Answer 1


Yes QGIS can follow symbolic links.

However, an ArcGIS Grid coverage can't be linked like that, the raster data is not just the .adf file, it is a directory of related files stored in a parent directory (workspace) with an INFO directory and you can not change either the directory structure or the .adf filename (both of which you did with the ln -s command), see format description:


However, you have another option...

Use your script to create VRT headers pointing to the Grid .adf files and store them in a single directory. Replace the bit in your script that does the ln -s ... with

gdal_translate -of VRT /absolute/path/to/wNNNN.adf /absolute/path/to/vrt/directory/someraster.vrt

Alternatively, if you wish to mosaic the GRIDS, create a textfile with the paths of all the GRIDs (either /path/to/GRID folder path or /path/to/GRID/w001001.adf file path) and then use

gdalbuildvrt -input_file_list /path/to/gridlist.txt your_new_mosaic.vrt
  • Ah, I had been lulled into a misunderstanding by QGIS' accepting me just finding and clicking the, one, adf file. (what is with not being able to enter a carriage-return??) Anyway, I've used a VRT only one prior time (I think), to unify a whole host of individually loaded ned tiles in order to treat them as a single unit for purposes of doing a StretchToMinMax. (whoops, I hit Return again...) Thanks, Luke (fwiw, I wanted this to be nicely formatted with whitespa[CR]
    – quagmire
    Jan 2, 2015 at 23:33
  • @quagmire comment fields are very limited, probably intentionally. Have a look at the VRT tutorial gdal.org/gdal_vrttut.html
    – user2856
    Jan 3, 2015 at 0:27
  • That worked a treat! However, in following up on my recollection about how to treat the multiples as one, I found a reference to a capability of gdal_translate or gdal_warp to recombine multiple .vrts into a single image. It would be most perfect if I could output a single image from all the tiles, or alternatively, load all the tiles as a single virtual image. It might appear from this comment that I ignored your link, but I did visit...
    – quagmire
    Jan 3, 2015 at 3:05
  • @quagmire gdalbuildvrt gdal.org/gdalbuildvrt.html
    – user2856
    Jan 3, 2015 at 3:10
  • Simple perfection. After creating the individual .vrts as you suggest, I am dumbfounded to find they go together as easily as: % gdalbuildvrt gdalbuildvrt_out.tif n??w???.vrt
    – quagmire
    Jan 3, 2015 at 3:22

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