HFA -- Erdas Imagine .img

Driver short name


Driver built-in by default

This driver is built-in by default

GDAL supports Erdas Imagine .img format for read access and write. The driver supports reading overviews, palettes, and georeferencing. It supports the Erdas band types u8, s8, u16, s16, u32, s32, f32, f64, c64 and c128.

Compressed and missing tiles in Erdas files should be handled properly on read. Files between 2GiB and 4GiB in size should work on Windows NT, and may work on some Unix platforms. Files with external spill files (needed for datasets larger than 2GiB) are also supported for reading and writing.

Metadata reading and writing is supported at the dataset and band level. But this is GDAL specific metadata, not metadata in an Imagine recognized form. The metadata is stored in a table called GDAL_MetaData which as many columns as metadata items. The title of the column is the key of the key``=``value metadata item pair and the value of row 1 is value.

Driver capabilities

Supports CreateCopy()

This driver supports the GDALDriver::CreateCopy() operation

Supports Create()

This driver supports the GDALDriver::Create() operation

Supports Georeferencing

This driver supports georeferencing

Supports VirtualIO

This driver supports virtual I/O operations (/vsimem/, etc.)

Creation Issues

Erdas Imagine files can be created with any GDAL defined band type, including the complex types. Created files may have any number of bands. Pseudo-Color tables will be written if using the GDALDriver::CreateCopy() methodology. Most projections should be supported, though translation of unusual datums (other than WGS84, WGS72, NAD83, and NAD27) may be problematic.

Creation options can be specified in command-line tools using the syntax -co <NAME>=<VALUE> or by providing the appropriate arguments to GDALCreate() (C) or Driver.Create (Python). The following creation options are supported:

  • BLOCKSIZE=32-2048: Defaults to 64. Tile width/height.

  • USE_SPILL=[YES/NO]: Defaults to NO. Force the generation of a spill file (by default spill file created for images larger 2GiB only).

  • COMPRESSED=[YES/NO]: Defaults to NO. Create file as compressed. Use of spill file disables compression.

  • NBITS=[1/2/4]: Create file with special sub-byte data types.

  • PIXELTYPE=[DEFAULT/SIGNEDBYTE]: By setting this to SIGNEDBYTE, a new Byte file can be forced to be written as signed byte. Starting with GDAL 3.7, this option is deprecated and Int8 should rather be used.

  • AUX=[YES/NO]: Defaults to NO. To create a .aux file.

  • IGNOREUTM=[YES/NO]: Defaults to NO. Ignore UTM when selecting coordinate system - will use Transverse Mercator. Only used for Create() method.

  • STATISTICS=[YES/NO]: Defaults to NO. To generate statistics and a histogram.

  • DEPENDENT_FILE=<filename>: Name of dependent file (must not have absolute path). Optional

  • FORCETOPESTRING=[YES/NO]: Defaults to NO. Force the use of ESRI Projection Engine (PE) String in file instead of Imagine coordinate system format. In some cases this improves ArcGIS coordinate system compatibility.

  • DISABLEPESTRING=[YES/NO]: (GDAL >= 3.7) Defaults to NO. Disable use of ESRI Projection Engine (PE) String in file. The default value is NO, allowing the ESRI PE String to be written if needed.

Erdas Imagine supports external creation of overviews (with gdaladdo for instance). To force them to be created in an .rrd file (rather than inside the original .img) set the global config option HFA_USE_RRD=YES).

Layer names can be set and retrieved with the GDALSetDescription/GDALGetDescription calls on the Raster Band objects.

Some HFA band metadata exported to GDAL metadata:

  • LAYER_TYPE - layer type (athematic, ... )

  • OVERVIEWS_ALGORITHM - layer overviews algorithm ('IMAGINE 2X2 Resampling', 'IMAGINE 4X4 Resampling', and others)

Configuration Options

Configuration options can be specified in command-line tools using the syntax --config <NAME>=<VALUE> or using functions such as CPLSetConfigOption() (C) or gdal.config_options (Python). Currently the following configuration options are supported by the HFA driver:

  • HFA_USE_RRD=[YES/NO]: Whether to force creation of external overviews in Erdas rrd format and with .rrd file name extension (gdaladdo with combination -ro --config USE_RRD YES creates overview file with .aux extension).

  • HFA_COMPRESS_OVR=[YES/NO]: Whether to create compressed overviews. Default is to only create compressed overviews when the file is compressed.

    This configuration option can be used when building external overviews for a base image that is not in Erdas Imagine format. Resulting overview file will use the rrd structure and have .aux extension.

    gdaladdo out.tif --config USE_RRD YES --config HFA_COMPRESS_OVR YES 2 4 8

    Erdas Imagine and older ArcGIS versions may recognize overviews for some image formats only if they have .rrd extension. In this case use:

    gdaladdo out.tif --config USE_RRD YES --config HFA_USE_RRD YES --config HFA_COMPRESS_OVR YES 2 4 8

  • GDAL_HFA_OVR_BLOCKSIZE=value: Defaults to 64. The block size (tile width/height) used for overviews can be specified by setting this configuration option to a power-of-two value between 32 and 2048.

  • USE_SPILL=[YES/NO]: Defaults to NO. Whether to use a spill file when creating a new overview.

See Also