For my use case, I'm specifically referring to HDF-EOS.

I'm trying to analyse ASTER data so am wondering which format I should utilise. I know GeoTIFF is easier and more compatible, yet HDF has everything needed and needed data can be efficiently sliced.

Although I've extensively read on the formats, I cannot seem to find a clear comparison for when to work with either. I also will be working with NetCDF in the future but I believe that's in the same bracket as HDF/EOS's strengths.

  • I would say that as long as you can handle the files that you want to work with, both options are file. GeoTIFF is a bit more accessible but since you mention that you will work with NetCDF too in the future, it would not be a bad choice to pick HDF now already, since they are similar. And, if you are unhappy with your choice, you can always convert from one to the other with gdal_translate.
    – Johan
    Dec 24, 2019 at 11:58
  • Good point, perhaps I should clarify my intention with the data. I wish to perform spectral analysis then store the data and results in a database. GeoTIFF seems attractive due to it's simplicity, yet I'm unsure what I'll be missing if I don't go through the effort with HDF/HDF-EOS.
    – Nathan
    Dec 27, 2019 at 4:02
  • NetCDF has the advantage of having many possibilities for storing metadata in the file and per subdataset, so you can organize your NetCDF as a mini database. With GeoTIFF, this is a bit less intuitive.
    – Johan
    Dec 27, 2019 at 9:10
  • Good point. Will NetCDF allow me to slice and inspect portions of the data or is it more suited for archiving?
    – Nathan
    Feb 27, 2020 at 6:47
  • Yes. I would use xarray for this
    – Johan
    Feb 27, 2020 at 8:00


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