Georeferenced Tagged Image File Format (GeoTIFF) is an open file format and de facto standard based on the TIFF format and is used as an interchange format for georeferenced raster imagery. GeoTIFF is in wide use in NASA Earth science data systems.

The GeoTIFF 1.0 specification is dated 28 December, 2000. However, this specification is out of date due to changes over time in how various organizations employed the GeoTIFF format. Most organizations use the libgeotiff library software, which has been updated many times since the original version.

Current users and suppliers of GeoTIFF-formatted data rely primarily on being able to acheive interoperability based on using the same software code base (libgeotiff) and on commonly known (but not well-documented) conventions.


Developing Standard

Recognizing the importance of GeoTIFF, the Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) and the ESDIS Standards Office (ESO) have been actively investigating ways to (a) document the current state of GeoTIFF, the format, as embodied in libgeotiff and (b) document the current practice as employed by NASA data providers.

As part of an approach towards developing a current document covering GeoTIFF and its use, ESDIS helped charter the GeoTIFF Standards Working Group at the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).


Links to GeoTIFF information are below. Note that ESDIS does not endorse the material that can be found via these links.

Primary GeoTIFF web site GeoTIFF home on
Open Geospatial Consortium OGC GeoTIFF Standards Working Group
GeoTIFF Format Specification GeoTIFF Format Specification Version 1.8.1, October 31, 1995
Notes on refining GeoTIFF beyond 1.0 Refining GeoTIFF
TIFF Tag Reference (includes some GeoTIFF tags) TIFF Tag Reference
GeoTIFF Description in Geospatial World, September 2009 GeoTIFF – A standard image file format for GIS applications

Last Updated: Sep 19, 2017 at 3:01 PM EDT