I am converting a 500MB .tif file to .shp file using GDAL.

I am using the following:

gdal_polygonize.py .tiff file -f “ESRI Shapefile” out.shp

However, I abandoned the first attempt as in 12hrs it has 2% progress.

I split the .tif file into 20 pieces and the first chunk took 5hrs.

Is there a more efficient means of doing this conversion?

The ultimate aim is to convert .tif to GeoJSON. I am very familiar with the .shp to .json conversion and I am thus using .tif to .shp as a stepping stone.

The file in question is vegetation data from http://rmgsc.cr.usgs.gov/outgoing/ecosystems/Africadata/

The file in question - af_labeled_ecosys.zip

The intention is display the vegetation data.

  • 1
    What is your GeoTIFF like? What do you want out of it? gdal_polygonize is a pretty simple connected-pixel digitizer, so if your image has thousands of levels it will try to create many vector entities.
    – scruss
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 13:35
  • 1
    Having looked at the file, that's a 108,000 × 87,600 px data set of all of Africa. Are you sure you need all of it?
    – scruss
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 20:50
  • Good point! gdal_warp to reduce and all is well Commented May 13, 2016 at 9:19

1 Answer 1


Warp to reduce the resolution. Went from 674MB to 36MB.


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.