I need to average a set of n rasters using gdal or some other GRASS module. What command exists for this purpose?

marked as duplicate by Fezter, MappaGnosis, Devdatta Tengshe, PolyGeo, whuber Sep 16 '13 at 14:10

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • This question is clearly a duplicate of the one that you linked, Jay. I don't know how I failed to find that, as I did look. – Gregory Sep 15 '13 at 0:41

How about gdal_calc.py? This is assuming that you have GDAL installed.

Usage would be:

gdal_calc.py -A input.tif -B input2.tif --outfile=result.tif --calc="(A+B)/2"

Source looks like this format supports up to 26 (A-Z) layers. If that is not sufficient, you could modify the code quite simply to work on more than 26 layers.

  • deleted to pose as new question – Gregory Sep 15 '13 at 0:57

If you're looking for a solution that is more convenient than a raster calculator type solution, can handle any number of raster inputs, and offers an easy-to-use user interface, then I would suggest the following solution. If you download Whitebox GAT (http://www.uoguelph.ca/~hydrogeo/Whitebox/), open the Scripter, change the scripting language to Groovy, and paste the following code in. Then save the file as AverageOverlay.groovy. You'll be able to run the new tool either from the Scripter or from the GIS Tools toolbox.

import java.awt.event.ActionListener
import java.awt.event.ActionEvent
import java.util.concurrent.Future
import java.util.concurrent.*
import java.util.Date
import java.util.ArrayList
import whitebox.interfaces.WhiteboxPluginHost
import whitebox.geospatialfiles.WhiteboxRaster
import whitebox.geospatialfiles.WhiteboxRasterBase.DataType
import whitebox.ui.plugin_dialog.ScriptDialog
import whitebox.utilities.StringUtilities
import groovy.transform.CompileStatic

// The following four variables are required for this 
// script to be integrated into the tool tree panel. 
// Comment them out if you want to remove the script.
def name = "AverageOverlay"
def descriptiveName = "Average Overlay"
def description = "Calculates the average for each grid cell from a group of raster images."
def toolboxes = ["OverlayTools", "StatsTools"]

public class AverageOverlay implements ActionListener {
private WhiteboxPluginHost pluginHost
private ScriptDialog sd;
private String descriptiveName

public AverageOverlay(WhiteboxPluginHost pluginHost, 
    String[] args, def descriptiveName) {
    this.pluginHost = pluginHost
    this.descriptiveName = descriptiveName

    if (args.length > 0) {
        final Runnable r = new Runnable() {
            public void run() {
        final Thread t = new Thread(r)
    } else {
        // Create a dialog for this tool to collect user-specified
        // tool parameters.
        sd = new ScriptDialog(pluginHost, descriptiveName, this)    

        // Specifying the help file will display the html help
        // file in the help pane. This file should be be located 
        // in the help directory and have the same name as the 
        // class, with an html extension.
        def helpFile = "AverageOverlay"

        // Specifying the source file allows the 'view code' 
        // button on the tool dialog to be displayed.
        def pathSep = File.separator
        def scriptFile = pluginHost.getResourcesDirectory() + "plugins" + pathSep + "Scripts" + pathSep + "AverageOverlay.groovy"

        // add some components to the dialog
        sd.addDialogMultiFile("Select some input raster files", "Input Raster Files:", "Raster Files (*.dep), DEP")
        sd.addDialogFile("Output file", "Output Raster File:", "close", "Raster Files (*.dep), DEP", true, false)

        // resize the dialog to the standard size and display it
        sd.setSize(800, 400)
        sd.visible = true

// The CompileStatic annotation can be used to significantly
// improve the performance of a Groovy script to nearly 
// that of native Java code.
private void execute(String[] args) {
  try {

    if (args.length != 2) {
        pluginHost.showFeedback("Incorrect number of arguments given to tool.")
    // read the input parameters
    String inputFileString = args[0]
    String outputFile = args[1]

    String[] inputFiles = inputFileString.split(";")

    ArrayList<WhiteboxRaster> rasters = new ArrayList<>()
    int rows, cols
    int numFiles = 0
    double[] nodataVals = new double[inputFiles.length]

    for (String inputFile : inputFiles) {
        if (!inputFile.isEmpty()) {
            rasters.add(new WhiteboxRaster(inputFile, "r"))
            if (numFiles == 0) {
                rows = rasters.get(0).getNumberRows()
                cols = rasters.get(0).getNumberColumns()
            } else {
                if (rasters.get(numFiles).getNumberRows() != rows ||
                 rasters.get(numFiles).getNumberColumns() != cols) {
                    pluginHost.showFeedback("Each input raster must have the same dimensions.")
            nodataVals[numFiles] = rasters.get(numFiles).getNoDataValue()

    WhiteboxRaster output = new WhiteboxRaster(outputFile, "rw", 
    rasters.get(0).getHeaderFile(), DataType.FLOAT, nodataVals[0])

    int progress = 0
    int oldProgress = -1

        pluginHost.updateProgress("Please wait...", 0)
        ArrayList<DoWorkOnRow> tasks = new ArrayList<>();
        for (row in 0..(rows - 1)) {
            double[][] data = new double[numFiles][]
            for (int j = 0; j < numFiles; j++) {
                data[j] = rasters.get(j).getRowValues(row)
            tasks.add(new DoWorkOnRow(data, nodataVals, row))

        ExecutorService executor = Executors.newFixedThreadPool(Runtime.getRuntime().availableProcessors());
        // the only reason for the getExecutorResults method 
        // is that Groovy throws a compilation type mis-match
        // error when compiled statically. I think it's a bug.
        List<Future<RowNumberAndData>> results = getExecutorResults(executor, tasks); //executor.invokeAll(tasks);

        int i = 0
        for (Future<RowNumberAndData> result : results) {
            RowNumberAndData data = result.get()
            def row = data.getRow()
            output.setRowValues(row, data.getData())
            // update progress bar
            progress = (int)(100f * i / rows)
            if (progress > oldProgress) {
                pluginHost.updateProgress("Progress", progress)
                oldProgress = progress
            // check to see if the user has requested a cancellation
            if (pluginHost.isRequestForOperationCancelSet()) {
                pluginHost.showFeedback("Operation cancelled")

    for (int j = 0; j < numFiles; j++) {

    output.addMetadataEntry("Created by the "
                + descriptiveName + " tool.")
    output.addMetadataEntry("Created on " + new Date())

    // display the output image

    // reset the progress bar
  } catch (Exception e) {

public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent event) {
    if (event.getActionCommand().equals("ok")) {
        final def args = sd.collectParameters()
        final Runnable r = new Runnable() {
            public void run() {
        final Thread t = new Thread(r)

public List<Future<RowNumberAndData>> getExecutorResults(ExecutorService executor, ArrayList<DoWorkOnRow> tasks) {
    List<Future<RowNumberAndData>> results = executor.invokeAll(tasks);
    return results

class DoWorkOnRow implements Callable<RowNumberAndData> {
    private double[][] data
    private int row
    private double[] nodata

    DoWorkOnRow(double[][] data, double[] nodata, int row) {
        this.data = data
        this.row = row
        this.nodata = nodata

    public RowNumberAndData call() {
        int numImages = data.length
        int cols = data[0].length
        double[] retData = new double[cols]
        double total, n
        for (int col = 0; col < cols; col++) {
            n = 0
            total = 0
            for (int i = 0; i < numImages; i++) {
                if (data[i][col] != nodata[i]) {
                    total += data[i][col]
            if (n > 0) {
                retData[col] = total / n
            } else {
                retData[col] = nodata[0]
        def ret = new RowNumberAndData(row, retData)

        return ret

class RowNumberAndData {
    private int row
    private double[] data
    private int numDataEntries = 0

    RowNumberAndData(int row, double[] data) {
        this.row = row
        this.data = data
        this.numDataEntries = data.length

    public int getRow() {
        return row

    public void setRow(int row) {
        this.row = row

    public double[] getData() {
        return data

    public void setData(double[] data) {
        this.data = data

    public double getDataAt(int n) {
        if (n < numDataEntries) {
            return data[n]
        } else {
            return null

if (args == null) {
pluginHost.showFeedback("Plugin arguments not set.")
} else {
def f = new AverageOverlay(pluginHost, args, descriptiveName)

enter image description here

I'll add the tool to the next public release of Whitebox but it'll work fine for now if you just add it as a plugin. Also, I've written the tool to work in parallel, taking advantage of multiple cores, so it's fairly speedy. This may not be ideal if you have a massive dataset and little RAM. It would be straight forward however to modify the code to work in serial if this is the case.

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