I'm writing a web application using GeoTools (it's Java running in a web container). I need to crop a raster file based on a shape file. The core GeoTools documentation and examples I can follow suggest that cropping is limited to Envelope (rectangular) cuts.

I came across the ImageWorker class which provides "helper methods for applying JAI operations on an image." It has a promisingly named method "mask" method ... which seems like what I want ... but it's poorly documented and seems really slow.

I'm looking for examples and/or suggestions for alternative strategies.

3 Answers 3


I appreciate the suggestions by Moovida and John but it turns out that GeoTools does indeed support the ability to crop a raster based on an arbitrary (....) geometry. There are no good examples out there but a colleague passed me a tip suggesting the CoverageProcessor and its "ROI" argument.

private Coverage clipImageToFeatureSource(RenderedImage image,
        ReferencedEnvelope bounds,
        FeatureSource<SimpleFeatureType, SimpleFeature> featureSource)
        throws IOException, FactoryException, MismatchedDimensionException, TransformException {
    FeatureCollection<SimpleFeatureType, SimpleFeature> collection = featureSource

    CoordinateReferenceSystem crsFeatures = featureSource.getSchema().getCoordinateReferenceSystem();
    CoordinateReferenceSystem crsMap = bounds.getCoordinateReferenceSystem();
    boolean needsReproject = !CRS.equalsIgnoreMetadata(crsFeatures, crsMap);
    MathTransform transform = CRS.findMathTransform(crsFeatures, crsMap, true);

    FeatureIterator<SimpleFeature> iterator = collection.features();
    List<Geometry> all = new ArrayList<Geometry>();
    try {
        while (iterator.hasNext()) {
            SimpleFeature feature = iterator.next();
            Geometry geometry = (Geometry) feature.getDefaultGeometry();
            if (geometry == null)
            if (!geometry.isSimple())
            if (needsReproject) {
                geometry = JTS.transform(geometry, transform);
                System.out.println("Reprojected a geometry.  Result is " + geometry.toString());
            Geometry intersection = geometry.intersection(JTS.toGeometry(bounds));
            if (intersection.isEmpty()) {
            //String name = (String) feature.getAttribute("NAME");
            //if (name == null)
            //   name = (String) feature.getAttribute("CNTRY_NAME");            
            if(intersection instanceof MultiPolygon) {
                MultiPolygon mp = (MultiPolygon)intersection;
                for (int i = 0; i < mp.getNumGeometries(); i++) {
                    com.vividsolutions.jts.geom.Polygon g = (com.vividsolutions.jts.geom.Polygon)mp.getGeometryN(i);
                    Geometry gIntersection = IntersectUtils.intersection(g, JTS.toGeometry(bounds));
                    if (gIntersection.isEmpty()) {
            else if (intersection instanceof Polygon)
    } finally {
        if (iterator != null) {
    GridCoverageFactory gridCoverageFactory = new GridCoverageFactory();
    Coverage coverage = gridCoverageFactory.create("Raster", image, bounds);
    Coverage clippedCoverage = null;
    if (all.size() > 0) {
        CoverageProcessor processor = new CoverageProcessor();
        ParameterValueGroup params = processor.getOperation("CoverageCrop")
        GeometryFactory factory = JTSFactoryFinder.getGeometryFactory(null);
        Geometry[] a = all.toArray(new Geometry[0]);
        GeometryCollection c = new GeometryCollection(a, factory);
        clippedCoverage = processor.doOperation(params);
    if (all.size() == 0){
        logger.info("Crop by shapefile requested but no simple features matched extent!");
    return clippedCoverage;

This clips the image but may also reduce the original extent. If you want to preserve that, then you'll need to "matt" the clippedCoverage like this:

    private BufferedImage mattCroppedImage(final BufferedImage source, GridCoverage2D cropped) 
    RenderedImage raster = cropped.getRenderedImage();
    int height = source.getHeight();
            int width = source.getWidth();
            BufferedImage image = new BufferedImage(width, height, BufferedImage.TYPE_INT_RGB);
            Graphics2D gr = image.createGraphics();
    gr.fill(new Rectangle2D.Double(0,0, image.getWidth(), image.getHeight()));
    AffineTransform at = AffineTransform.getTranslateInstance(0, 0);
    gr.drawRenderedImage(cropped.getRenderedImage(), at);
    return image;
  • Now that I remember, the ZonalStats operation in geotools does exactly that to get info from shapes. I think you should be able to get what you need from the testcase. In there you have also a method to get to an AWT polygon from the "geographic" one, which should then be the ROI.
    – moovida
    Oct 5, 2013 at 20:53
  • Edited to show more robust solution.
    – msr
    Nov 21, 2013 at 19:39
  • I used your approach, in my case however, it clipped to the bounding box of the shape, not the shape itself. I had to do a refined test, i.e., I had to check each pixel if its in the polygon (after clipping).
    – Mr M
    Apr 24, 2016 at 11:43

If the image needs to be cropped to any shape, you might want to use a rasterization and masking approach.

One example of doing this with geotools is done in the jgrasstools ScanlineRasterizer:


The result is a raster mask, that can be used to extract only the needed part.


I know you've stated that you are using GeoTools, but if you're willing to use other software as an alternative strategy, then I would suggest using the 'Clip Raster to Polygon' tool in the open-source GIS Whitebox GAT (http://www.uoguelph.ca/~hydrogeo/Whitebox/). It does exactly that, crops a raster to a vector polygon file. Full disclosure: I am the lead developer of Whitebox.

enter image description here

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