I can't figure out how to warp a large file (2GB+) with no specified to CRS, to a specified CRS - I keep getting a "Too big image size" error.

For context, I want to take large NITF files, warp them to a set coordinate system (EPSG 3857, 4326, etc.), create tiles via gdal_retile, and stick that in a GeoServer image pyramid to use for a wms in Leaflet. Everything in this workflow is great as long as the file is under a certain size (~770 MB or so). Unfortunately, my files can be over 2 GB. My example file is 791 MB, and is from U Arkansas CAST's Corona data set.

When I run gdalwarp on my large file, I get the following error:

$ gdalwarp -t_srs EPSG:4326 -of NITF -co "ICORDS=D" -rpc ds1042-2184df057.ntf ds1042-2184df057.w.ntf 
Creating output file that is 1635251P x 522168L. 
ERROR 1: Unable to create file ds1042-2184df057.w.ntf, 
Too big image size : 853875744168

Since the file is too big to gdalwarp in its native state, I need to cut it up into pieces, warp the subparts individually, and then use gdal_merge to put them back together (I think).

I've investigated gdal2tiles.py and gdal_translate, but gdal_retile seems like a good bet to have a minimal amount of files to preprocess and merge. My (possibly not the greatest) plan is to cut the too-big original images into 6 small parts, so that even if the size is slightly over 2GB, the image sub-parts will not be so big that gdalwarp can't handle them.

I get the image size from gdalinfo:

$ gdalinfo -nomd -noct -norat ds1042-2184df057.ntf
Driver: NITF/National Imagery Transmission Format
Files: ds1042-2184df057.ntf
Size is 107957, 7590
Coordinate System is `'
GCP Projection =
        SPHEROID["WGS 84",6378137,298.257223563,
GCP[  0]: Id=UpperLeft, Info=
          (0.5,0.5) -> (32.5269444444444,34.9538888888889,0)
GCP[  1]: Id=UpperRight, Info=
          (107956.5,0.5) -> (35.4597222222222,35.3908333333333,0)
GCP[  2]: Id=LowerRight, Info=
          (107956.5,7589.5) -> (35.5452777777778,35.2005555555556,0)
GCP[  3]: Id=LowerLeft, Info=
          (0.5,7589.5) -> (32.5286111111111,34.7463888888889,0)
Corner Coordinates:
Upper Left  (    0.0,    0.0)
Lower Left  (    0.0, 7590.0)
Upper Right (107957.0,    0.0)
Lower Right (107957.0, 7590.0)
Center      (53978.5, 3795.0)
Band 1 Block=256x256 Type=Byte, ColorInterp=Gray

Then, I divide the width by 3 and the height by 2 (rounding up if needed), so that I get 6 image sub-parts. 107957/3 rounds up to 35986, and 7590/2 = 3795. Then, I try to subdivide the image, which is met with total failure:

$ gdal_retile.py -r bilinear -levels 1 -ps 35986 3795 -targetDir subpart_test ds1042-2184df057.ntf
ERROR 1: Unable to compute a transformation between pixel/line and georeferenced coordinates for TEMP.
There is no affine transformation and no GCPs.
Reprojection failed for subpart_test\1\ds1042-2184df057_1_1.tif, error 3

Other approaches:

  • I tried using gdal_translate on the original file to both turn it into a GeoTiff and manually add the gcps shown in gdalinfo, and then ran gdal_retile, but that had no effect - still got a gdal_retile error about affine transformation/ no GCPs .
  • gdal2tiles.py doesn't look like I can specify the image size, and I'll just end up with a ton of small files to loop through.
  • I read about gdal_translate in this issue (Splitting raster into smaller chunks using GDAL?), but had hoped gdal_retile would perform the same task on the command line, without writing an extra script to loop through multiple pixel windows.
  • I tried using gdaltransform instead of gdalwarp to set the CRS, but afterward, gdal_retile still complains about a lack of affine transformation and GCPs on files that are the result of gdaltransform.

So, what is the best way to take a large file (2GB+) that lacks a specified Coordinate System, and warp it to a specified CRS? I'm new to GDAL, so am hopefully missing something obvious.

  • It is because the NITF format has a maximum size limit, try of HFA for ERDAS Imagine format, or GTIFF for GeoTIFF (I've had some approaching 1TB with no problems) before tiling to NITF if you must use that format. Depending on your specs expect the warping of a single 2GB to take a long time, days or even weeks. – Michael Stimson May 25 '17 at 22:00
  • I would also recommend the KEA file format. It has no size limit and compresses well – Nathan Thomas May 26 '17 at 3:05

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