I have viewed a lidar terrain model hillshade .ovr file on QGIS and Arc and Arc has significantly higher resolution than QGIS. Any thoughts as to why this would happen and ways to enhance resolution in QGIS?

  • 2
    The .ovr file is used to store image pyramids. This file type is often associated with a TIFF image. What format hillshade are you working with (e.g. .tif)?
    – Aaron
    May 29, 2015 at 21:02
  • looks like to associated files are in .adf format. May 30, 2015 at 14:06

1 Answer 1


If the associated files have the extension adf they are most likely ArcGIS Grid files. An ArcGIS Grid has the following general file structure:


The file marked with double stars contains the pixel information (the file with the greatest file size), the other files contain metadata and statistics.

You can convert such a grid in QGIS (tested on version 2.8.2) using

Processing Toolbox \ GDAL/OGR \ [GDAL] Conversion \ Translate (convert format) 

specifying the marked adf file.

GDAL\Conversion\Translate (convert format)

This command outputs an image in uncompressed TIF format, having the same resolution as the original grid.

Mention that ArcGIS Grid RGB rasters are build as a stack of grids. Each stack member is a grid (R, B, or G), and one virtual grid is the stack. The latter file contains no image information, but the name of the grids representing the stack components. You cannot convert such a stack in one run, but have to convert each component and to composite the files afterwards.

To combine several images as bands of a composite image use Merge with the Layer Stack option checked:

Processing Toolbox \ GDAL/OGR \ [GDAL] Miscellaneous \ Merge 

More information on image composition read this and this article.

  • Thanks for the info!! I was able to convert one of the files to geotiff however, the tool was located under raster> conversion> translate using the GDAtools plugin. Where could i find a tutorial for creating the composite after converting all the .adf files (there are 8 ttl.). Thanks Again!! May 31, 2015 at 13:47

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