I was trying to mask the building given its TIFF file and GeoJSON file creating a new raster TIFF file. I don't know what is the problem, the result is all black, here is the code below:

from osgeo import gdal, ogr

def create_building_mask(rasterSrc, vectorSrc, npDistFileName='', 
                        noDataValue=0, burn_values=1):

    source_ds = ogr.Open(vectorSrc)
    source_layer = source_ds.GetLayer()

    srcRas_ds = gdal.Open(rasterSrc)
    cols = srcRas_ds.RasterXSize
    rows = srcRas_ds.RasterYSize

    memdrv = gdal.GetDriverByName('GTiff') 
    dst_ds = memdrv.Create(npDistFileName, cols, rows, 1, gdal.GDT_Byte)
    band = dst_ds.GetRasterBand(1)

    gdal.RasterizeLayer(dst_ds, [1], source_layer, burn_values=[burn_values])

    dst_ds = 0


create_building_mask("img.tif", "img.geojson", npDistFileName='mask.tif', noDataValue=0, burn_values=1)

The result of mask.tif is all black, instead of masked img. enter image description here

  • You could try gdal.RasterizeLayer(dst_ds, [1], source_layer, burn_values=[burn_values], options='-init 0') which should initialize the raster to 0 before burning in 1 for your buildings assuming that your source_layer has the same CRS as your template srcRas_ds. Jan 9, 2020 at 1:43
  • You have created tiff that is of type Byte. If you use pixel value 1 for the masked area then it is pretty close to black for viewers which are showing the whole range 0-255 on screen. You can for example create mask image as 1 bit tiff, use pixel value 255 for a white mask, or do LUT stretch with your image viewer.
    – user30184
    Jan 9, 2020 at 8:45
  • @user30184 I changed the' burn_bvalues' to 255 as you suggested, it worked. Thank you, your explanation made me clearly understand. Jan 9, 2020 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


You may be interested in rioxarray to do this type of operation. It uses rasterio which is an alternative python wrapper for GDAL.

import rioxarray
import json

# load in the geojson file
with open("img.geojson") as igj:
    data = json.load(igj)
# if GDAL 3+
crs = data["crs"]["properties"]["name"]
# crs = "EPSG:4326" # if GDAL 2
geoms = [feat["geometry"] for feat in data["features"]]

# create empty mask raster based on the input raster
rds = rioxarray.open_rasterio("img.tif").isel(band=0)
rds.values[:] = 1
rds.rio.write_nodata(0, inplace=True)

# clip the raster to the mask
clipped = rds.rio.clip(geoms, crs, drop=False)

enter image description here

# or clip it inverted if that is what you wanted
clipped = rds.rio.clip(geoms, crs, drop=False, invert=True)

enter image description here

# write output to file
clipped.rio.to_raster("mask.tif", dtype="uint8")

Alternatively, if you just want to mask out the buildings in the original tif file:

rds = rioxarray.open_rasterio("img.tif")
clipped = rds.rio.clip(geoms, crs, drop=False, invert=True)

enter image description here

  • Thank you for your reply. It is really helpful. I used your code, and I ploted the output using " input_img = plt.imread('mask.tif') plt.imshow('input_img')", it showed masked result as expected, however if I open the "mask.tif" file itself, it is all black. And I noticed that the original "img.tif" has 'interleave': 'pixel' and the saved output file which is "mask.tif" has 'interleave': 'band', is that the reason why I open the 'mask.tif' file itself is all black? Thank you very much. Jan 9, 2020 at 4:27
  • You could pass in interleave="pixel" into the to_raster function. What are you using to read in the file that shows it as all black?
    – snowman2
    Jan 9, 2020 at 5:04
  • I am using Preview to open the "mask.tif" file and it is all black, but I converted it to .png file. Problem solved. Many thanks . Jan 9, 2020 at 6:56

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