I'm new to QGIS. I'm currently using the newest version-- 3.10. I downloaded a raster projection (a tiff file) and vector data (SHP files of coastlines and rivers) from Natural Earth I to import as layers into QGIS. These opened correctly.

Then I downloaded several Plate Caree (WGS 84) projections from NASA Visible Earth and Natural Earth III. I could not find GeoTiff versions, so these are JPEGs. [On the Natural Earth III website it did have a folder with georeference data-- a text file and .tfw file.] I've tried two methods for Georeferencing these:

  1. Using the pulldown menus: Raster > Conversion > Translate (Convert Format).. I selected Plate Caree. It appeared to work correctly, but when I added the vector layer with rivers, the vector layer appears tiny compared to the Natural Earth layer.
  2. I used the 'Georeferencer' plug-in. It took a long time, and I still was not sure if I had done it correctly. This time when I tried opening the Rivers Vector layer, I could not see that layer at all.

Is there a way to quickly and accurately georeference a world map that is in JPEG form if you know the CRS?

NASA and NOAA mainly use Plate Caree, so is there a way I can tell QGIS that is the map I am using, so it accept the CRS?

  • Please provide a link to the "plate caree" datasets you downloaded.
    – csk
    Jan 6, 2020 at 18:44
  • NOTE: I could not get a raster map georeferenced in QGIS 3.10.1. This week (ending 2 Feb 20), I saw a message from the QGIS team that there were issues with the georeferencing features in version 3.10.1. I upgraded to QGIS 3.10.2, and the issues I was having seem resolved.
    – MT Black
    Feb 1, 2020 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


About the Tom Patterson - Natural Earth III project

The .twf file is used to georeference TIFF files, but the site is providing JPEG files. Also, the name of the world file must be the same as the image file.

So, if you download the 3_no_ice_clouds_8k.jpg file, you must unzip the projection.zip file, copy the 8192x4036.tfw file to the same folder as the image, and rename it as: 3_no_ice_clouds_8k.jgw.

Next, you can load the JPEG file to QGIS and it will be georeferenced.

The text file says that it is defined in LatLong of a 6370997 m radius sphere, from WGS84 datum.
You can set the EPSG:4052 (Unespecified datum based upon the Clark 1866 Authalic Sphere) CRS to the layer and export it to any format and CRS that you want.

About NOAA produts and NASA Visible Earth project

There are a lot of images in the Visible Earth project, but seems to me not intended to be georeferenced.

Nevertheless, for some of them you will find the GeoTIFF version, e.g. the Blue Marble Bathimetry.

Some NASA-NOAA sensors have specific projections associated, e.g. the GOES-16 project delivers its products in a geostationary projection. The georeferenced raw data can be downloaded from their project server.

If you have any doubt about any specific product, feel free to open a new question post about it.

In all cases, when managing images as raster layers, you can create their World File by hand to georeference, load the layer and set its CRS in QGIS.

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