I am working with various file sets and one of the things I have not been able to figure out is how to get the compression used in the file that I opened.

The challenge is that I have some different data sources and I want to be able to address the way that I handle the file based upon if the source has compressed the data (lossy) or not.

Does anyone know how to get the compression type from the gdal dataset in python?

  • I suppose that it depends on the raster format. Which formats you may meet in your data?
    – user30184
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


Use the GDAL "IMAGE_STRUCTURE" metadata domain, i.e. dataset.GetMetadata('IMAGE_STRUCTURE')['COMPRESSION']

Example with and without compression:

from osgeo import gdal

dataset = gdal.OpenEx('int16_lzw.tif')
md = dataset.GetMetadata('IMAGE_STRUCTURE')

# Use dict.get method in case the metadata dict does not have a 'COMPRESSION' key
compression = md.get('COMPRESSION', None)


dataset = gdal.OpenEx('int16.tif') #Has no compression
md = dataset.GetMetadata('IMAGE_STRUCTURE')
compression = md.get('COMPRESSION', None)

# None
  • 1
    Thanks Luke, In my case, the file doesn't actually have the 'COMPRESSION' tag as you suggested is possible. However what you suggested helped me to also find: dataset.GetMetadataDomainList() which allowed me to see and search out all of the possible values to read out.
    – A.A
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 8:38

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