I have a 5 band, 16-bit orthorectified GeoTIFF from a satellite image that contains a significant amount of blackfill and has a file size of over 21GB. I would like to decrease the file size by eliminating or negating the blackfill. I have attempted to use the SPARSE_OK option in GDAL as such:

gdal_translate -of GTiff -co "BIGTIFF=YES" -co "SPARSE_OK=TRUE" -co "TILED=YES" input.tif output.tif

This has had no effect on the file size. Is my understanding of how SPARSE_OK works incorrect or is there a potential problem with the SPARSE_OK option? Is there a better way of reducing the file size? I have tried "COMPRESS=DEFLATE", which works, but then the product is veryyyy slow is loading into the viewing software.

  • 5-Band, 16-bit. What sensor is that data from? Do you have access to ERDAS, Envi, or Esri software?
    – MLowry
    Jun 12, 2013 at 11:56
  • It is a RapidEye 1B image. We have been working in PCI and GDAL, but we do have all 3 of the packages you mention. I am somewhat worried about SPARSE as it may create an image that will not work in some softwares.
    – Scott
    Jun 13, 2013 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


COMPRESS=LZW should give you better load times and equivalent packing ratio as DEFLATE. See if that helps?


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