GeoTIFF SWG is planning on minor and major revisions to the popular standard used for sharing geographic image data
21 January 2021: The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) seeks public comment on the draft updated charter for the GeoTIFF Standard Working Group (SWG), which introduces several new tasks for the SWG. Comments are due by February 11, 2021.
The Geographic Tagged Image File Format (GeoTIFF) specification, as an extension to the public domain TIFF format, has been used for sharing geographic image data successfully for years across many platforms and software environments. GeoTIFF defines a set of TIFF tags that describe the “cartographic” information associated with TIFF imagery originating from satellite imaging systems, scanned aerial photography, scanned maps, digital elevation models, or as a result of geographic analyses.
The initial scope of the GeoTIFF SWG was to incorporate the GeoTIFF specification into the OGC standards suite by updating the specification to bring it into conformance with current OGC practices. The resulting Standard, GeoTIFF v1.1 was adopted as an OGC Community Standard in 2019. The original scope of the GeoTIFF also specified that the SWG would: provide a forum for evolving the standard in the future; maintain compatibility with existing geoTIFF community implementations and practices; and that future evolution would be done in close cooperation with the existing geoTIFF community.
As a result of that cooperation, the GeoTIFF SWG has updated its charter to include the following additional tasks to support the evolution of this popular standard:
- GeoTIFF 1.2 – This task will address open issues which were out of scope for version 1.1 but not significant enough for a major revision. GeoTIFF 1.2 shall maintain backward compatibility with GeoTIFF 1.1.
- BigTiff support – The TIFF file format uses 32 bit offsets. This limits TIFF files to four gigabytes. The BigTIFF format resembles TIFF but uses 64 bit offsets instead. GeoTIFF 1.1 will be extended to enable bigTIFF (in addition to TIFF).
- Standardize Cloud-Optimized GeoTIFF (COG) – The COG community is willing to turn-over management of the COG specification to OGC. OGC shall establish a GeoTIFF/TIFF standard or best practice that fully documents the COG format in the manner of an OGC specification.
- GeoTIFF / LAS harmonization – This task will examine the overlap between GeoTIFF and LAS. The deliverable will be recommendations on how to keep these two standards synchronized.
- Data Cubes – This task will explore the potential of GeoTIFF to support analytics including coverages and data cubes.
- GeoTIFF 2.0 – This task will examine issues which cannot be addressed within the scope of a minor update (GeoTIFF 1.2).
The draft GeoTIFF SWG charter is available for review and comment on the OGC Portal. Comments are due by February 11, 2021, and should be submitted via the method outlined on the GeoTIFF SWG re-charter public comment request page.
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