I have a map file in a tiff format that is not geo-referenced, but I know the following projection information: +proj=lcc +lon_0=10.856 +lat_0=51.322 +lat_1=42 +lat_2=57 +datum=WGS84. I would like to transform it into EPSG:3857.

In my first attempt I tried to fix four arbitrary points and perform warping

gdal_translate -a_srs "+proj=lcc +lon_0=10.856 +lat_0=51.322 +lat_1=42 +lat_2=57 +datum=WGS84" -of GTiff -gcp 19725 11865 1 56 -gcp 103755 12990 23 56 -gcp 112755 80400 23 46 -gcp 8925 78990 1 46 original.tif translated.tif 

But the coordinates of the corners of the warped image where not as expected and the map was distorted.

Corner Coordinates:
Upper Left  ( 1208480.629, 6678543.890) ( 10d51'21.48"E, 51d19'21.08"N)
Lower Left  ( 1208480.629, 6678541.123) ( 10d51'21.48"E, 51d19'21.03"N)
Upper Right ( 1208486.180, 6678543.890) ( 10d51'21.66"E, 51d19'21.08"N)
Lower Right ( 1208486.180, 6678541.123) ( 10d51'21.66"E, 51d19'21.03"N)
Center      ( 1208483.404, 6678542.507) ( 10d51'21.57"E, 51d19'21.06"N)

After reading many posts, here and elsewhere, I came to this:

  1. Converting the UL and LR corners to x and y
cs2cs +proj=latlong +lon_0=10.856 +lat_0=51.322 +lat_1=42 +lat_2=57 +datum=WGS84 +to +init=epsg:3857

-3.63 57.28 >   -404089.75 7817564.89
23.76 44.39 >   2644951.10 5525995.28
  1. Geo-referencing the tiff
gdal_translate -a_srs "+proj=lcc +lon_0=10.856 +lat_0=51.322 +lat_1=42 +lat_2=57 +datum=WGS84" -a_ullr -404089.75 7817564.89 2644951.10 5525995.28 original.tif translated.tif

The result of gdalinfo translated.tif is as follows:

Size is 14735, 11333
Coordinate System is:
    GEOGCS["WGS 84",
            SPHEROID["WGS 84",6378137,298.257223563,
Origin = (-404089.750000000000000,7817564.889999999664724)
Pixel Size = (206.925066168985410,-202.203265684284787)
Image Structure Metadata:
Corner Coordinates:
Upper Left  ( -404089.750, 7817564.890) (146d18'53.31"E, 73d27'53.56"N)
Lower Left  ( -404089.750, 5525995.280) (158d45'33.92"W, 88d 1'24.64"N)
Upper Right ( 2644951.100, 7817564.890) (172d26'19.88"W, 64d26'59.68"N)
Lower Right ( 2644951.100, 5525995.280) (138d13'57.20"E, 73d22'12.76"N)
Center      ( 1120430.675, 6671780.085) (161d52'17.63"W, 79d37'35.75"N)

However, the coordinates of the corners above are completely off. When I attempted to warp it, the image could become so huge that I had to stop the process after a couple of minutes.

gdalwarp -overwrite -t_srs EPSG:3857 -r near -co COMPRESS=LZW translated.tif warped.tif

The result of gdalinfo warped.tif is as follows:

Corner Coordinates:
Upper Left  (-20037508.339,29704755.766) (180d 0' 0.00"W, 88d54'44.28"N)
Lower Left  (-20037508.339, 9464937.842) (180d 0' 0.00"W, 64d26'59.58"N)
Upper Right (20037503.600,29704755.766) (179d59'59.85"E, 88d54'44.28"N)
Lower Right (20037503.600, 9464937.842) (179d59'59.85"E, 64d26'59.58"N)
Center      (      -2.370,19584846.804) (  0d 0' 0.08"W, 84d41'15.52"N)

What did I miss?

  • Try projecting the lat-lon points to the Lambert system, then use those for the input gcp. I'm also not sure that gdal_translate is the right function. Maybe gdalwarp which allows you to specify both the input and output coordinate systems?
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 20:04
  • I have tried your first suggestion with the same results. As for the second, you cannot set gcps with gdalwarp and I use gdal_translate to try geo-referencing the image. In any case gdalwarp alone doesn't solve it. Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


The first thing to do is to re-read the documentation of gdal_translate https://www.gdal.org/gdal_translate.html and then save your ground control points correctly

-gcp pixel line easting northing

So start counting from the top-left pixel and feed first the location of the pixel (horizontal - vertical) and then the coordinates of that pixel. You did

-gcp 19725 11865 1 56

and that means "the pixel at location 19725 to the right and 11865 downwards from the top-left corner has coordinates 1 E, 56 N.

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