I have never used satellite data and I'm using NASA's information of PM2.5 "Global Annual PM2.5 Grids from MODIS, MISR and SeaWiFS Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD), 1998-2019, V4.GL.03", I got it from here. It is a 1 km resolution of PM2.5.

I want to get information of PM2.5 only for a certain area: xlim = c(-115.21,-115.763246), ylim = c(32.38, 32.702345) and for xlim = c(-116.903885, -117.142257),ylim = c(32.35, 32.591890).

When I download the data I get a folder with 6 files. I'm trying to work with the .tif.ovr file.

I understand that I need to read the raster

n14 <- "~/nasa2014.tif.ovr"
r <- raster(n14) 

but I don't understand how to access the data. I saw this post but it didn't work.

My file looks like this:

class      : RasterLayer 
dimensions : 6250, 18000, 112500000  (nrow, ncol, ncell)
resolution : 1, 1  (x, y)
extent     : 0, 18000, 0, 6250  (xmin, xmax, ymin, ymax)
crs        : NA 
source     : nasa2014.tif.ovr 
names      : nasa2014.tif 
  • 1
    is there a nasa2014.tif file among your files? If so, try to import that file instead of the nasa2014.tif.ovr. Also, it's better to use the terra package instead of the raster, like so: r <- rast(nasa2014.tif).
    – Nikos
    Sep 3, 2023 at 18:35
  • yes, you were right, I have a .tif that when I read it with terra I get .class : SpatRaster dimensions : 12500, 36000, 1 (nrow, ncol, nlyr) resolution : 0.01, 0.01 (x, y) extent : -180, 180, -55, 70 (xmin, xmax, ymin, ymax) coord. ref. : lon/lat WGS 84 (EPSG:4326) source : sdei-global-annual-gwr-pm2-5-modis-misr-seawifs-aod-v4-gl-03-2014.tif name : sdei-global-annual-gwr-pm2-5-m~misr-seawifs-aod-v4-gl-03-2014 min value :0.6 max value : 189.1
    – Lilia
    Sep 3, 2023 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


The .ovr file contains "overview" images - lower-resolution versions of the main data file to make mapping at low resolutions quicker, for software that understands it.

If you try creating a terra raster from the overviews file, it will tell you it doesn't have a known extent, and map it to coordinates 1:n, 1:m.

> ovr = rast("./popdens.tif.ovr")
Warning message:
[rast] unknown extent 
> ext(ovr)
SpatExtent : 0, 268, 0, 217 (xmin, xmax, ymin, ymax)

Compare with reading the tif file itself:

> tif = rast("./popdens.tif")
> ext(tif)
SpatExtent : 152881.239999998, 166256.239999998, 378970.300700001, 389795.300700001 (xmin, xmax, ymin, ymax)

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