I have a folder with .adf raster data that I'm trying to import into ArcMap 10.6, but I can't figure out how. I'm trying to do menu FileAdd DataAdd Data, but the files are not displayed. Nor do they show up under "Contents" in ArcCatalog, but in preview the raster is displayed.

Online instructions talk about "import", but I don't see any menu item that's called this.

How can I import them?

Data is from this website: 50 m Arc GIS Grid http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/hmrg/multibeam/bathymetry.php

Preview in Arc Catalog

Grid files

  • Is there also an info folder and arc.dir along with the grid folder? You can convert the adf file with GDAL_Translate if you're missing all the components, use the path to the hdr.adf as your input.. something like GDAL_Translate -of GTIFF C:\full\path\to\hdr.adf C:\full\path\to\your\output.tif will convert to a geotiff if ArcGIS refuses to open it. Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 5:22
  • No, the above displayed are the only files available when downloading the data. How/Where do I use GDAL_Translate? Is this within ArcMap/Catalog? (my apologies, I'm still new to ArcGIS)
    – Anke
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 5:28
  • GDAL_Translate is part of the GDAL package, if you're on Windows you can download it from gisinternals.com/… (64 bit) - it's open source so there is no cost involved but the tools run in a CMD window, if you're comfortable with CMD then there's some very powerful tools for free! See more about GDAL_Translate gdal.org/gdal_translate.html. If you're not so comfortable with CMD then get QGIS which contains GDAL with a GUI for translate qgis.org/en/site/forusers/download.html Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 5:38

2 Answers 2


The ADF file is an ESRI raster GRID file component. See this link. I suspect that you moved portions of the GRID file using Windows Explorer and unknowingly failed to move all of the files associated with the GRID format. These data are now corrupted. Re-download these data. If you need to move these data use ArcCatalog to move the files. This will ensure that all the associated files get moved as well.

I see your comment... I downloaded the file titled Bathymetry & Topography Grid (~879 MBs) and it displayed in QGIS 2.18 without problems but the screen shot is different than yours. Please clarify what layer you are downloading. enter image description here

  • I've re-downloaded the data multiple times (just to be sure) and have not moved them. I kept them in the download folder and tried to access from there. I added a screenshot of all the files in the folder downloaded in my post.
    – Anke
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 5:13

I have downloaded the 1km data and unzipped it then successfully loaded into ArcMap.. I believe that the part you're missing is that you must unzip the whole folder.

enter image description here

Extract the btytopo19_1km folder and its contents out of the zip archive then it's visible in ArcCatalog.

this space intentionally left blank.

ArcGIS can't see inside zip archives so it must be extracted; a GRID is a folder containing the adf files so you must take the whole folder to get the GRID to work properly.

  • Thank you. I'm working in Windows Parallels on a Mac, so the folder showed as unzipped on my Mac, but I guess Windows thought it was still a zip. I got it to work, now. I'll look into your other comment, just to learn something :)
    – Anke
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 5:42
  • GDAL and QGIS are available for Mac, I don't know where to get them from though - it's been about 30 years since I touched a Mac. Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 5:58

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