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BigTIFF

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name BigTIFF
Description

Variant of the TIFF format that uses 64-bit offsets thereby supporting files up to 18,000 petabytes in size, vastly transcending TIFF's normal 4 GB limit. Since the format also supports all of the normal features and header tags of TIFF_6 and the extended metadata offered by GeoTIFF, it provides good service in the GIS domain, medical imaging, and other applications that employ large scanners or cameras.

Relationship to other formats
    Extension of TIFF_6, TIFF, Revision 6.0
    Extension of GeoTIFF_1_0, GeoTIFF Revision 1.0

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings  
LC preference  

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure Openly published.
    Documentation The BigTIFF File Format specification is provided online by AWare Systems.
Adoption

BigTIFF is supported by the following software libraries:

BigTIFF is supported by many specialist imaging applications, e.g, for geospatial and biomedical use. Some general image editing applications can read very large images, but have problems saving them. The following software applications support BigTIFF images:

    Licensing and patents The BigTIFF enhancements in Aperio’s libtiff were made by Ole Eichhorn (formerly of Aperio Technologies, acquired by Leica Biosystems in 2012) and (in the words of the bigtiff.org web page) "are donated to the public domain, in gratitude to Sam Leffler, Silicon Graphics, Joris Van Damme, AWare Systems, Frank Warmerdam, Andrey Kisley, Mike Welles, and all who have worked on libtiff over the years to provide such a great tool. The aperio libtiff changes were published on an 'as is' basis and neither Ole Eichhorn nor Aperio Technologies make any warranty as to their fitness for any intended use." See also TIFF_6.
Transparency Wrapper is as transparent as TIFF_6
Self-documentation Header provides some metadata.
External dependencies None for the wrapper.
Technical protection considerations Not applicable.

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

Still Image
Normal rendering LibTiff 4.0 reads ClassicTIFF and BigTIFF both, and the application does not need to be aware which TIFF version an opened file is.
Clarity (high image resolution)

Excellent support for images with very high spatial resolution.

GIS images and datasets
Normal functionality BigTIFF is supported in the GDAL - Geospatial Data Abstraction Library maintained by Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). See also GeoTIFF_1_0.
Support for GIS metadata See GeoTIFF_1_0
Support for grids See GeoTIFF_1_0

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension btf
tf8
tif
Mentioned in the AWare systems specification. .tif appears to be used most frequently.
Filename extension tiff
 
Filename extension gtiff
 
Internet Media Type image/tiff
See also TIFF_6.
Magic numbers Hex: 4d 4d 00 2b
Big-endian signature. From http://fileformats.archiveteam.org/wiki/TIFF.
Magic numbers 49 49 2b 00
Little-endian signature. From http://fileformats.archiveteam.org/wiki/TIFF.
Wikidata Title ID Q28205771
See https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q28205771.

Notes Explanation of format description terms

General BigTIFF is supported in the GDAL - Geospatial Data Abstraction Library maintained by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). The BigTIFF format is also adopted by large format scanners, medical imaging, astronomy, and in other fields of endeavor.
History

The BigTIFF design was first proposed in 2004 by Joris Van Damme of AWare Systems and refined on the AWare Systems mailing list. Contributors to the AWare Systems design discussion included Lynn Quam, Frank Warmerdam, Chris Cox, Rob Tillaart, Dan Smith, Bob Freisenhahn, Andrey Kiselev, Phillip Crews, and Gerben Vos. In 2007 Aperio released a version of libtiff which supported BigTIFF files. The BigTIFF enhancements in Aperio’s libtiff were made by Ole Eichhorn, then of Aperio Technologies (taken over by Leica Biosystems in 2012) and (in the words of the bigtiff.org web page) "were donated to the public domain, in gratitude to Sam Leffler, Silicon Graphics, Joris Van Damme, Aware Systems, Frank Warmerdam, Andrey Kisley, Mike Welles, and all who had worked on libtiff over the years to provide such a great tool. The aperio libtiff changes were published on an 'as is' basis and neither Ole Eichhorn nor Aperio Technologies made or make any warranty as to their fitness for any intended use. In 2007, WeoGeo, Safe Software, Leica Geosystems, and ESRI sponsored Joris Van Damme & Frank Warmerdam (the libtiff and gdal maintainers) with a project for updating libtiff to LibTiff 4.0."

The first code to support BigTIFF Code is available from bigtiff.org (formerly at www.aperio.com/bigtiff). This was a fork based on earlier libtiff code (version 3.8.2), with a latest version as of December 2011. The first official version of libtiff to support BigTIFF was 4.0.0.

As of May 2020, the primary official source for the libtiff library is at http://www.simplesystems.org/libtiff/ with version 4.1.0 being the latest stable version. A software archive is at https://download.osgeo.org/libtiff/. Versions older than 4.0.4 are available at https://download.osgeo.org/libtiff/old/.


Format specifications Explanation of format description terms


Useful references

URLs

Books, articles, etc.

Last Updated: 08/10/2021