Is there a way to write a GDAL raster to a HDF4 or HDF5 dataset using GDAL? I have found many examples that show how to read HDF datasets, but none on how to write them.

  • HDF5 is an optional driver and is read only, HDF4 supports creation, but I'm not sure if the HDF4 driver is in a default install. GDAL can be installed from a number of sources, your distro may not have the driver which you will need to add manually. Have a read of gdal.org/drivers/raster/index.html which tabulates the capabilities of each driver. Theoretically if you use GDAL_Translate (or QGIS::Raster::Translate) and specify the output driver as HDF4 gdal.org/drivers/raster/hdf4.html#raster-hdf4 you should be able to convert your existing raster in another format to HDF4. Aug 12 '20 at 0:01
  • Thanks! I'm running GDAL 3.1.2 in python via the conda-forge distribution. When looking at my HDF4 driver metadata, I've noticed that the DCAP_CREATE and DCAP_CREATECOPY features are not enabled. Do you know if there is a way that I can install the creation-enabled version of the driver? Aug 12 '20 at 1:42
  • Is that Linux? Perhaps hdfeos.org/software/gdal.php would help. I'm on Windows and use the GISInternals download gisinternals.com/release.php which contains gdal_HDF4.dll gdal_HDF4Image.dll in the gdalplugins directory. Aug 12 '20 at 1:54
  • I'm on Windows 10. To be clear @Micheal Stimson, can you create a HDF4 file using your setup? Here is some example python code: import gdal driver = gdal.GetDriverByName('HDF4') dst_ds = driver.Create('test.hdf', xsize=512, ysize=512) Aug 12 '20 at 2:29

You're right, I get ERROR 6: GDALDriver::Create() ... no create method implemented for this format in both 32bit and 64bit GDAL for HDF4 but driver HDF4Image will create a HDF4 raster.

To test your installed drivers use GDALInfo --formats and you should see a full list of the available formats:

Supported Formats:
  HDF4 -raster- (ros): Hierarchical Data Format Release 4
  HDF4Image -raster- (rw+): HDF4 Dataset
  VRT -raster- (rw+v): Virtual Raster
  GTiff -raster- (rw+vs): GeoTIFF
  NITF -raster- (rw+vs): National Imagery Transmission Format
  RPFTOC -raster- (rovs): Raster Product Format TOC format
... and more to follow

The HDF4 driver is ros which means read only, the HDF4Image is rw+ which means read, write and create.

  • Using HDF4Image works, thank you. On a related note, do you know how to create a name subdataset for the HDF4Image file? Aug 12 '20 at 23:33
  • No I don't know how to create a subdataset, it's not a task that I've done before. The API gdal.org/python/osgeo.gdal.Dataset-class.html has GetSubDatasets() to get a reference to all the suddatasets in the raster but no SetSubDataset method. A subdataset is not a band as each can have differing extent, pixel type and cell size. Perhaps it's something simple like specifying the name in the form HDF4_SDS:subdataset_type:file_name:subdataset_index; if you have an existing HDF4 you could use GDALInfo to get the name strings and see if that works, if not please post a new question. Aug 17 '20 at 2:04

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