[OSM-dev] Options for displaying a large GeoTIFF in JOSM

Paul Norman penorman at mac.com
Sat Mar 12 01:35:41 GMT 2011

I'm looking for a way to display a large GeoTIFF or MrSID in JOSM as a TMS
or WMS layer, but am running into a scaling issue with my normal method. I
received a 9 GB MrSID file from the city which turns into a 166 GB GeoTIFF,
covering a large area at a 10cm resolution.


My normal method for imagery like this that I intend to use frequently would
be to use gdal2tiles to turn it into a slippy map, but when I started
running it I ran into an issue. I've done the exact same area before, but at
40cm resolution and that took a week. I quickly found out that 10cm
resolution not only has 16 times the tiles, the tiles take longer for each
one, leading to an estimated runtime of approximately a year. gdal2tiles
isn't fast, and I could speed it up by throwing more CPU power at it, but
not with the scaling problem.


My second method for imagery is to use mapserver to serve it up as a WMS
layer. That didn't work, mapserver never responded when trying to handle
such a large file. I think it just took too long to process anything with


Does anyone have any suggestions for alternative methods that will work
better for large files? Ideally I'd like to do a tms slippymap but I'm open
to anything

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