How can I change the color "white" to "transparent" in a geotiff file so it's not displayed when I import it in Google Earth ?

  • Are you using any GIS software besides Google Earth?
    – PolyGeo
    Jul 26, 2016 at 20:48
  • What solutions have you tried so far? Is there any research on stack that you've found related to your issue? Jul 26, 2016 at 21:33
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    – underdark
    May 6, 2017 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


Use image editing software such as GIMP to modify the white portions of your TIF image so that they become transparent. Then you can import the modified image into Google Earth and get the result you're asking for.

Where you might run into trouble is in preserving the georeferencing info of the original GeoTIFF. For example, if you simply open it in GIMP, modify, and save, then GIMP will strip out your georeferencing info and the resulting file will be a "TIF", not a "GeoTIFF".

Software such as GDAL can give you ability to associate georeferencing info with TIF images. For example, if you have a TIF and an associated TFW file, you might modify the TIF to get your desired transparency, then combine TIF and TFW into a GeoTIFF using GDAL.

This answer is necessarily vague because we don't have enough info on your situation, but what I can offer with confidence is that Google Earth will honor GeoTIFF transparency if it exists. Creating that transparency depends on your available tools. I successfully tested this solution using GIMP, GDAL, and Google Earth Pro.

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