gdal_utilities man page

gdal_utilitiesGDAL Utilities
— A collection of GDAL related programs.

The following utility programs are distributed with GDAL.

Creating New Files

Access an existing file to read it is generally quite simple. Just indicate the name of the file or dataset on the command line. However, creating a file is more complicated. It may be necessary to indicate the the format to create, various creation options affecting how it will be created and perhaps a coordinate system to be assigned. Many of these options are handled similarly by different GDAL utilities, and are introduced here.

-of format

Select the format to create the new file as. The formats are assigned short names such as GTiff (for GeoTIFF) or HFA (for Erdas Imagine). The list of all format codes can be listed with the --formats switch. Only formats list as '(rw)' (read-write) can be written.

Many utilities default to creating GeoTIFF files if a format is not specified. File extensions are not used to guess output format, nor are extensions generally added by GDAL if not indicated in the filename by the user.


Many formats have one or more optional creation options that can be used to control particulars about the file created. For instance, the GeoTIFF driver supports creation options to control compression, and whether the file should be tiled.

The creation options available vary by format driver, and some simple formats have no creation options at all. A list of options supported for a format can be listed with the '--format <format>' command line option but the web page for the format is the definitive source of information on driver creation options.

-a_srs SRS

Several utilities, (gdal_translate and gdalwarp) include the ability to specify coordinate systems with command line options like -a_srs (assign SRS to output), -s_srs (source SRS) and -t_srs (target SRS).

These utilities allow the coordinate system (SRS = spatial reference system) to be assigned in a variety of formats.

General Command Line Switches

All GDAL command line utility programs support the following 'general' options.


Report the version of GDAL and exit.


List all raster formats supported by this GDAL build (read-only and read-write) and exit. The format support is indicated as follows: 'ro' is read-only driver; 'rw' is read or write (i.e. supports CreateCopy); 'rw+' is read, write and update (i.e. supports Create). A 'v' is appended for formats supporting virtual IO (/vsimem, /vsigzip, /vsizip, etc). A 's' is appended for formats supporting subdatasets. Note: The valid formats for the output of gdalwarp are formats that support the Create() method (marked as rw+), not just the CreateCopy() method.

--format format

List detailed information about a single format driver. The format should be the short name reported in the --formats list, such as GTiff.

--optfile file

Read the named file and substitute the contents into the command line options list. Lines beginning with # will be ignored. Multi-word arguments may be kept together with double quotes.

--config key value

Sets the named configuration keyword to the given value, as opposed to setting them as environment variables. Some common configuration keywords are GDAL_CACHEMAX (memory used internally for caching in megabytes) and GDAL_DATA (path of the GDAL 'data' directory). Individual drivers may be influenced by other configuration options.

--debug value

Control what debugging messages are emitted. A value of ON will enable all debug messages. A value of OFF will disable all debug messages. Another value will select only debug messages containing that string in the debug prefix code.


Gives a brief usage message for the generic GDAL command line options and exit.


Tue Feb 14 2017 GDAL