In Python, I generate a virtual raster using gdal warp with a cutline as per below

gdal.Warp(warpedFilePath, ds, format = 'VRT', cutlineDSName = csvFilePath, srcNodata = 0, dstAlpha = True, cropToCutline = True, dstSRS = 'EPSG:4326')

If the cutline is within the image, the vrt file is of "normal" size (a few KB) and the processing afterwards (when turning it into a GTIFF) is fast. However, if the cutline has matching edges with the image then I get a huge VRT file, eg several MB and the processing is over an hour. Looking at the Cutline value, I can see that every border pixel is being added! when the translate is done to have a tiff file, the process takes over an hour...

Is this a "normal" behaviour? is there an option to reduce the number of points in the cutline?

My gdal version is 2.2.4 The input raster is in UTM and the cutline is a csv file in 4326.

Edit: CSV file for the cutline

    ID, WKT
1, "POLYGON ((-4.68694239006474 54.9863989533752,-4.68563773368381 54.9553739114236,-4.92089428671608 54.9518432821996,-4.948233 55.021719,-4.711947 55.051303,-4.68694239006474 54.9863989533752))"

Unfortunately I cannot provide the image, for one it is too large, around 1GB, and it is bound to its commercial terms. That said I am quite convinced the same would happen with a free Landsat image for instance.

  • I would be nice to get access to the image and your CSV geometry.
    – user30184
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 11:03
  • I edited my question to provide some extra info
    – Thomas
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 11:27
  • This sounds like a bug, however you might be able to work around it by creating an un-warped/un-clipped VRT, then using gdalwarp to apply the cutline, reproject, and write to TIFF all at once. I'm not sure how performance would compare
    – mikewatt
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


The size of the resulting VRT is always a matter of cutline densification (see my ticket: https://trac.osgeo.org/gdal/ticket/6648).

You can disable densification if you add "--config GDALWARP_DENSIFY_CUTLINE NO" to the GDAL Warp command or set an environment variable (i.e. DOS: SET GDALWARP_DENSIFY_CUTLINE=NO).

  • Thanks. I did see your ticket when I was researching the issue. I added the parameter but it didn't change anything, maybe I am not using it correctly? this is how I pass it , warpOptions = ['GDALWARP_DENSIFY_CUTLINE=NO']
    – Thomas
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 6:19
  • 1
    Try gdal.SetConfigOption('GDALWARP_DENSIFY_CUTLINE', 'NO') instead.
    – christoph
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 7:07

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