I have the 2018 orthophoto of Luxembourg (RGB IR, entire country, 25 GB) and it is way too large to work with. Furthermore, it is in .jp2 format.

I want to translate it into smaller GeoTIFF tiles, preferably using R or Python. I tried a few things, but they didn't work. First, I created a grid using a GADM shapefile of the country borders (just so you know where all the variables come from):

## Boundary Luxembourg (GADM)
Lux <- st_read(file.path(wd, "dat", "shp", "gadm36_LUX_0.shp"))
Lux <- st_transform(Lux, crs(landcover))

## create grid
grid <- sf::st_make_grid(Lux, cellsize = c(5000, 5000),
                 crs = proj4string(landcover), what = "polygons")
grid <- grid[sf::st_within(grid, Lux, sparse = FALSE),]

Now, my first attempt was to create virtual raster files to work with:

rast <- gdalbuildvrt(gdalfile = file.path(wd, "dat", "ortho2018_CIR_pays.jp2"),
                     output.vrt = "tmp.vrt",
                     te = st_bbox(grid[1]))
tile <- readGDAL("tmp.vrt")

resulting in

Error in getRasterData(x, band = band, offset = offset, region.dim = region.dim,  : 
  Failure during raster IO
In addition: Warning messages:
  Discarded datum Luxembourg_1930 in CRS definition: +proj=tmerc +lat_0=49.8333333333333 +lon_0=6.16666666666667 +k=1 +x_0=80000 +y_0=100000 +ellps=intl +towgs84=-189.6806,18.3463,-42.7695,-0.33746,-3.09264,2.53861,0.4598 +units=m +no_defs
2: In showSRID(uprojargs, format = "PROJ", multiline = "NO") :
  Discarded datum Unknown based on International 1909 (Hayford) ellipsoid in CRS definition,
 but +towgs84= values preserved

I tried around a bit and when it didn't work, I tried to just translate the whole file into smaller tiles:

path0 <- file.path(wd, "dat", "ortho2018_CIR_pays.jp2")
path1 <- str_replace(path0, ".jp2", "")

for(i in 1:length(grid)){
  cell <- grid[i]
  gdal_translate(src_dataset = path0,
                 dst_dataset = paste0(path1, i, ".tif"),
                 projwin = st_bbox(cell),
                 projwin_srs = crs(landcover)) # landcover is another file that has the same CRS as the jp2

which also failed with the following warning (repeated for i in 1:length(grid)):

1: In system(cmd, intern = TRUE) :
  running command '"C:\Program Files\QGIS 3.14.16\bin\gdal_translate.exe" -projwin 69644.0729541355 62126.9030193782 74644.0729541355 67126.9030193782 -of "GTiff" -projwin_srs "+proj=tmerc +lat_0=49.8333333333333 +lon_0=6.16666666666667 +k=1 +x_0=80000 +y_0=100000 +ellps=intl +units=m +no_defs" "D:/Dateien/Projekt46/dat/ortho2018_CIR_pays.jp2" "D:/Dateien/Projekt46/dat/ortho2018_CIR_pays1.tif"' had status 1

Is there a way to get the second attempt working (or the first one, if easier)? I have no clue what the cause of the error could be (data size, data format, reference system, wrong usage of the R commands?)


gdalinfo on the original file gives:

 [1] "Driver: JP2ECW/ERDAS JPEG2000 (SDK 5.3)"                                                                                                   
 [2] "Files: D:/Dateien/Projekt46/dat/ortho2018_CIR_pays.jp2"     
 [3] "Size is 295000, 415000"                                                                                                                    
 [4] "Coordinate System is:"                                                                                                                     
 [5] "PROJCRS[\"Luxembourg_1930_Gauss\","                                                                                                        
 [6] "    BASEGEOGCRS[\"Luxembourg 1930\","                                                                                                      
 [7] "        DATUM[\"Luxembourg 1930\","                                                                                                        
 [8] "            ELLIPSOID[\"International 1924\",6378388,297.000000000005,"                                                                    
 [9] "                LENGTHUNIT[\"metre\",1]]],"                                                                                                
[10] "        PRIMEM[\"Greenwich\",0,"                                                                                                           
[11] "            ANGLEUNIT[\"degree\",0.0174532925199433]],"                                                                                    
[12] "        ID[\"EPSG\",4181]],"                                                                                                               
[13] "    CONVERSION[\"unnamed\","                                                                                                               
[14] "        METHOD[\"Transverse Mercator\","                                                                                                   
[15] "            ID[\"EPSG\",9807]],"                                                                                                           
[16] "        PARAMETER[\"Latitude of natural origin\",49.8333333333333,"                                                                        
[17] "            ANGLEUNIT[\"degree\",0.0174532925199433],"                                                                                     
[18] "            ID[\"EPSG\",8801]],"                                                                                                           
[19] "        PARAMETER[\"Longitude of natural origin\",6.16666666666667,"                                                                       
[20] "            ANGLEUNIT[\"degree\",0.0174532925199433],"                                                                                     
[21] "            ID[\"EPSG\",8802]],"                                                                                                           
[22] "        PARAMETER[\"Scale factor at natural origin\",1,"                                                                                   
[23] "            SCALEUNIT[\"unity\",1],"                                                                                                       
[24] "            ID[\"EPSG\",8805]],"                                                                                                           
[25] "        PARAMETER[\"False easting\",80000,"                                                                                                
[26] "            LENGTHUNIT[\"metre\",1],"                                                                                                      
[27] "            ID[\"EPSG\",8806]],"                                                                                                           
[28] "        PARAMETER[\"False northing\",100000,"                                                                                              
[29] "            LENGTHUNIT[\"metre\",1],"                                                                                                      
[30] "            ID[\"EPSG\",8807]]],"                                                                                                          
[31] "    CS[Cartesian,2],"                                                                                                                      
[32] "        AXIS[\"easting\",east,"                                                                                                            
[33] "            ORDER[1],"                                                                                                                     
[34] "            LENGTHUNIT[\"metre\",1]],"                                                                                                     
[35] "        AXIS[\"northing\",north,"                                                                                                          
[36] "            ORDER[2],"                                                                                                                     
[37] "            LENGTHUNIT[\"metre\",1]],"                                                                                                     
[38] "    ID[\"EPSG\",2169]]"                                                                                                                    
[39] "Data axis to CRS axis mapping: 1,2"                                                                                                        
[40] "Origin = (48000.000000000000000,139000.000000000000000)"                                                                                   
[41] "Pixel Size = (0.200000000000000,-0.200000000000000)"                                                                                       
[42] "Metadata:"                                                                                                                                 
[43] "  COLORSPACE=RGB"                                                                                                                          
[44] "  COMPRESSION_RATE_TARGET=0"                                                                                                               
[45] "Corner Coordinates:"                                                                                                                       
[46] "Upper Left  (   48000.000,  139000.000) (  5d43' 7.15\"E, 50d10'59.10\"N)"                                                                 
[47] "Lower Left  (   48000.000,   56000.000) (  5d43'31.76\"E, 49d26'12.84\"N)"                                                                 
[48] "Upper Right (  107000.000,  139000.000) (  6d32'40.85\"E, 50d11' 0.00\"N)"                                                                 
[49] "Lower Right (  107000.000,   56000.000) (  6d32'20.09\"E, 49d26'13.72\"N)"                                                                 
[50] "Center      (   77500.000,   97500.000) (  6d 7'54.97\"E, 49d48'39.07\"N)"                                                                 
[51] "Band 1 Block=256x256 Type=Byte, ColorInterp=Red"                                                                                           
[52] "  Description = Red"                                                                                                                       
[53] "  Overviews: 147500x207500, 73750x103750, 36875x51875, 18437x25937, 9218x12968, 4609x6484, 2304x3242, 1152x1621, 576x810, 288x405, 144x202"
[54] "Band 2 Block=256x256 Type=Byte, ColorInterp=Green"                                                                                         
[55] "  Description = Green"                                                                                                                     
[56] "  Overviews: 147500x207500, 73750x103750, 36875x51875, 18437x25937, 9218x12968, 4609x6484, 2304x3242, 1152x1621, 576x810, 288x405, 144x202"
[57] "Band 3 Block=256x256 Type=Byte, ColorInterp=Blue"                                                                                          
[58] "  Description = Blue"                                                                                                                      
[59] "  Overviews: 147500x207500, 73750x103750, 36875x51875, 18437x25937, 9218x12968, 4609x6484, 2304x3242, 1152x1621, 576x810, 288x405, 144x202"

Besides, when I try to load the entire file using readGDAL it returns Error: cannot allocate vector of size 1368.2 Gb while the file itself is about 25 Gb. Is this normal?

Edit #2

I also tried to use readGDAL setting an extent:

# file path
RGBIR_path.jp2 <- file.path(wd, "dat", "ortho2018_CIR_pays.jp2")
# gdal info for x, y resolution and origin
info <- rgdal::GDALinfo(RGBIR_path.jp2)
# function to get parameters for readGDAL
return_region <- function(gdal_info, extent, left = NA, right = NA,
                          top = NA, bottom = NA){
    left <- extent[1]
    right <- extent[2]
    bottom <- extent[3]
    top <- extent[4]
  x_res <- gdal_info[6]
  y_res <- gdal_info[7]
  rast_bottomleft_x <- gdal_info[4]
  rast_bottomleft_y <- gdal_info[5]
  offset_x <- round((left - rast_bottomleft_x) / x_res, 0)
  offset_y <- round((bottom - rast_bottomleft_y) / y_res, 0)
  columns <- (right - left) / x_res
  rows <- (top - bottom) / y_res
  return(list(c(offset_y, offset_x), c(rows, columns)))

cell <- grid[1] # grid is the same as in the examples above
cell <- as_Spatial(cell)
ex <- extent(cell)

offs <- return_region(info, ex)[[1]]
dims <- return_region(info, ex)[[2]]
rast <- rgdal::readGDAL(fname = RGBIR_path.jp2,
                        offset = offs,
                        region.dim = dims)

This also resulted in Error in getRasterData(x, band = band, offset = offset, region.dim = region.dim, : Failure during raster IO

Edit #3

Also, when I try to open the file in Python using

def dataset(ds, wd = wd):
    names = {"IR": "ortho2018_CIR_pays.jp2",
             "RGB": "ortho2018_RGB_pays.jp2",
             "Landcover": "Landcover2018_raster" + os.sep + "LC_2018_20cm.tif"}
    return os.path.join(wd, "dat", names[ds])

from osgeo import gdal, ogr, osr
source_ds = dataset("IR")
rast = gdal.Open(source_ds)

It can tell me the reference system:

crs = rast.GetProjectionRef()

But when I run

stats = rast.GetRasterBand(1).GetStatistics(0, 1)

it returns

[0.0, 0.0, 0.0, -1.0]

for what should be the min, mean, max and stdev values for the first raster band. This is a bit strange. I can open the .jp2 file in programs such as ArcGIS Pro, though... and it has colours in it, not just zeros...

Edit #4

I tried the gdal_retile.py answer, which resulted in

ERROR 1: Marker is not compliant with its position

ERROR 1: opj_decode() failed
ERROR 1: ortho2018_CIR_pays.jp2, band 1: IReadBlock failed at X offset 0, Y offs
et 0: opj_decode() failed
ortho2018_CIR_pays.jp2, band 1: IReadBlock failed at X offset 0, Y offset 0: opj_decode() failed
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:\Users\Manuel\Python\Scripts\gdal_retile.py", line 11, in <module>
  File "C:\Users\Manuel\Python\lib\site-packages\osgeo\utils\gdal_retile.py", line 920, in main
    dsCreatedTileIndex = tileImage(g, minfo, ti)
  File "C:\Users\Manuel\Python\lib\site-packages\osgeo\utils\gdal_retile.py", line 354, in tileImage
    createTile(g, minfo, offsetX, offsetY, width, height, tilename, OGRDS, feature_only)
  File "C:\Users\Manuel\Python\lib\site-packages\osgeo\utils\gdal_retile.py", line 521, in createTile
    s_fh = minfo.getDataSet(dec.ulx + offsetX * dec.scaleX, dec.uly + offsetY * dec.scaleY + height * dec.scaleY,
  File "C:\Users\Manuel\Python\lib\site-packages\osgeo\utils\gdal_retile.py", line 270, in getDataSet
    t_band.WriteRaster(tw_xoff, tw_yoff, tw_xsize, tw_ysize, data)
  File "C:\Users\Manuel\Python\lib\site-packages\osgeo\gdal.py", line 3518, in WriteRaster
    return _gdal.Band_WriteRaster(self, *args, **kwargs)
TypeError: not a unicode string or a bytes
  • readGDAL is probably trying to read the whole raster into memory. Check the vrt looks reasonable for what you were trying to do (open it in a text editor window), show what gdalinfo looks like on your files, and try reading with raster::raster("file.tif") which won't read into memory until its demanded.
    – Spacedman
    Sep 13, 2021 at 15:46
  • When I run rast <- raster::raster(RGBIR_path.jp2) and gdalinfo(rast) it will give ERROR 4: `raster(ncol=295000, nrow=415000, xmn=48000, xmx=107000, ymn=56000, ymx=139000, crs=...)' does not exist in the file system, and is not recognized as a supported dataset name." and [2] "gdalinfo failed - unable to open 'raster(ncol=295000, nrow=415000, xmn=48000, xmx=107000, ymn=56000, ymx=139000, crs='+proj=...)'." and attr(,"status") [1] 1 besides warnings... Sep 13, 2021 at 16:23
  • That looks like you've given it the raster as arg instead of the file name. gdalinfo takes the file name - your path0 above. gdalinfo(path0).
    – Spacedman
    Sep 13, 2021 at 16:31
  • @Spacedman I added gdalinfo or the original file. Sep 13, 2021 at 17:20
  • The size error is not unexpected - doubtless the jp2 format has some compression, spatial data often compresses really well, and you have 295000*415000*3 = 3.6x10^11 pixels. One byte each is that many bytes is about 350 Gigabytes. R could be reading into floating point at four bytes per pixel...
    – Spacedman
    Sep 13, 2021 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


The system gdal tools come with a python script for doing this. For example to split dem.tif into 512x512 tiles plus remainder:

$ gdal_retile.py -ps 512 512 -targetDir . dem.tif 
0...10...20...30...40...50...60...70...80...90...100 - done.

Giving a set of tiles:

$ ls -1hs
total 6.1M
1.1M dem_1_1.tif
632K dem_1_2.tif
892K dem_2_1.tif
548K dem_2_2.tif
3.1M dem.tif

If you really need to run this from R use the system call with a string constructed for your file name and tile size:

> system("gdal_retile.py -ps 512 512 -targetDir . dem.tif")
0...10...20...30...40...50...60...70...80...90...100 - done.

See: https://gdal.org/programs/gdal_retile.html

  • Running > gdal_retile.py -ps 20750 20750 -targetDir D:\\Dateien\...\\tls\\X . ortho2018_CIR_pays.jp2 (in CMD as admin) just resulted in ERROR 4: .: Permission denied Error building tile index Sep 14, 2021 at 15:24
  • Do you have a file open that you are trying to write into?
    – Matt
    Sep 14, 2021 at 15:38
  • 1
    @ManuelPopp is that your exact command line? With the triple dots and the backslashes? And then a space and another dot? You probably don't need all that for Windows paths from the Windows CMD line. If its not your exact command line, please show an example that is.
    – Spacedman
    Sep 14, 2021 at 16:28
  • 2
    @ManuelPopp My command line included -targetDir . meaning "dot" is the target directory, and that is the current directory. If the jp2 file is in the current directory and you want to create the tiles in the current directory then -targetDir . ortho2018_CIR_pays.jp2 should work for you (after the numbers for the -ps option).
    – Spacedman
    Sep 14, 2021 at 18:17
  • 1
    I've got this to work on the smaller rgb jp2 files downloaded from the site linked. Does it work for you on those? Once the full 25Gb IR jp2 has downloaded I'll try that, but at the moment it looks like either a bug in the code or the jp2 is corrupted.
    – Spacedman
    Sep 15, 2021 at 8:00

I found a solution (although I consider it a second class solution because it requires additional programs): Since QGIS was the only program that could correctly read and export data from the .jp2 files, I wrote a Python script for the QGIS Toolbox that reads random cells from a grid and uses them to export samples of the RGB and IR .jp2 rasters as well as of a Landcover classification in GeoTIFF format.

Model exported as python.
Name : model
Group : 
With QGIS : 31416

from qgis.core import QgsProcessing
from qgis.core import QgsProcessingAlgorithm
from qgis.core import QgsProcessingMultiStepFeedback
from qgis.core import QgsProcessingParameterRasterLayer
from qgis.core import QgsProcessingParameterVectorLayer
from qgis.core import QgsProcessingParameterRasterDestination
from qgis.core import QgsProcessingParameterNumber
from qgis.core import QgsProcessingParameterFolderDestination
from qgis.core import QgsVectorLayer
from qgis.core import Qgis
import processing
import random, os
from qgis.core import QgsMessageLog
class Model(QgsProcessingAlgorithm):

    def initAlgorithm(self, config=None):
        self.addParameter(QgsProcessingParameterRasterLayer("RGBraster", "RGB_raster", defaultValue=None))
        self.addParameter(QgsProcessingParameterRasterLayer("IRraster", "IR_raster", defaultValue=None))
        self.addParameter(QgsProcessingParameterRasterLayer("Landcoverraster", "Landcover_raster", defaultValue=None))
        self.addParameter(QgsProcessingParameterVectorLayer("FishnetGrid", "Fishnet_Grid", types=[QgsProcessing.TypeVectorPolygon], defaultValue=None))
        #self.addParameter(QgsProcessingParameterRasterDestination("Rgb", "RGB", createByDefault=True, defaultValue=None))
        #self.addParameter(QgsProcessingParameterRasterDestination("Ir", "IR", createByDefault=True, defaultValue=None))
        #self.addParameter(QgsProcessingParameterRasterDestination("Landcover", "Landcover", createByDefault=True, defaultValue=None))
        self.addParameter(QgsProcessingParameterNumber("N", "N", type=QgsProcessingParameterNumber.Integer, defaultValue=None))
        self.addParameter(QgsProcessingParameterFolderDestination("Directory", "Directory", defaultValue=""))

    def processAlgorithm(self, parameters, context, model_feedback):
        # Use a multi-step feedback, so that individual child algorithm progress reports are adjusted for the
        # overall progress through the model
        feedback = QgsProcessingMultiStepFeedback(3, model_feedback)
        results = {}
        outputs = {}
        # loop over sample subset
        n = parameters["N"]
        grid = self.parameterAsSource(parameters, "FishnetGrid", context)
        cells = grid.featureCount()
        QgsMessageLog.logMessage(("Number of grid cells = " + str(cells)), level = Qgis.Info)
        sample = random.sample(range(1, cells), n)
        for i in sample:
            # Create output directories
            drctry = parameters["Directory"]
            X_RGB_dir = os.path.join(drctry, "X_RGB")
            X_IR_dir = os.path.join(drctry, "X_IR")
            y_dir = os.path.join(drctry, "y")
            os.makedirs(X_RGB_dir, exist_ok = True)
            os.makedirs(X_IR_dir, exist_ok = True)
            os.makedirs(y_dir, exist_ok = True)
            # Select grid cell
            # Extract by attribute
            alg_params = {
                "FIELD": "id",
                "INPUT": parameters["FishnetGrid"],
                "OPERATOR": 0,
                "VALUE": i,
                "OUTPUT": QgsProcessing.TEMPORARY_OUTPUT
            outputs["ExtractByAttribute"] = processing.run("native:extractbyattribute", alg_params, context=context, feedback=feedback, is_child_algorithm=True)
            if feedback.isCanceled():
                return {}
            # Clip raster by extent
            alg_params = {
                "DATA_TYPE": 0,
                "EXTRA": "",
                "INPUT": parameters["RGBraster"],
                "NODATA": None,
                "OPTIONS": "",
                "PROJWIN": outputs["ExtractByAttribute"]["OUTPUT"],
                "OUTPUT": os.path.join(X_RGB_dir, str(i) + ".tif")
            outputs["ClipRasterByExtent"] = processing.run("gdal:cliprasterbyextent", alg_params, context=context, feedback=feedback, is_child_algorithm=True)
            results["Rgb"] = outputs["ClipRasterByExtent"]["OUTPUT"]
            if feedback.isCanceled():
                return {}
            # Clip raster by extent
            alg_params = {
                "DATA_TYPE": 0,
                "EXTRA": "",
                "INPUT": parameters["IRraster"],
                "NODATA": None,
                "OPTIONS": "",
                "PROJWIN": outputs["ExtractByAttribute"]["OUTPUT"],
                "OUTPUT": os.path.join(X_IR_dir, str(i) + ".tif")
            outputs["ClipRasterByExtent"] = processing.run("gdal:cliprasterbyextent", alg_params, context=context, feedback=feedback, is_child_algorithm=True)
            results["Ir"] = outputs["ClipRasterByExtent"]["OUTPUT"]
            if feedback.isCanceled():
                return {}
            # Clip raster by extent
            alg_params = {
                "DATA_TYPE": 0,
                "EXTRA": "",
                "INPUT": parameters["Landcoverraster"],
                "NODATA": None,
                "OPTIONS": "",
                "PROJWIN": outputs["ExtractByAttribute"]["OUTPUT"],
                "OUTPUT": os.path.join(y_dir, str(i) + ".tif")
            outputs["ClipRasterByExtent"] = processing.run("gdal:cliprasterbyextent", alg_params, context=context, feedback=feedback, is_child_algorithm=True)
            results["Landcover"] = outputs["ClipRasterByExtent"]["OUTPUT"]
        return None

    def name(self):
        return "model"

    def displayName(self):
        return "model"

    def group(self):
        return ""

    def groupId(self):
        return ""

    def createInstance(self):
        return Model()

If you happen to be more experienced with this kind of programming than me, you might have an idea what to return (I used return None, which doesn't hurt but results in an ugly error message because QGIS doesn't know what to do with this. I only want to write files to disc so there is nothing meaningful to return from the function)

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