Understanding world files expand/collapse all
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Adding image data

expand/collapse item About world files

Images are stored as raster data, where each cell in the image has a row and column number. World files establish an image-to-world transformation that converts the image coordinates to real-world coordinates.

Some image formats, such as ERDAS, IMAGINE, bsq, bil, bip, GeoTIFF, and grids, store the georeferencing information in the header of the image file. ArcIMS uses this information if it is present. However, other image formats store this information in a separate ASCII file. This file is generally referred to as the world file, since it contains the real-world transformation information used by the image. World files can be created with any editor.

World file naming conventions

In general, world files use the same name as the image, with a "w" appended. For example, the world file for the image file mytown.tif would be called mytown.tifw, and the world file for redlands.rlc would be redlands.rlcw. However, since ArcIMS only accepts 3-letter file extensions, the first and third characters of the image file's suffix and a final "w" are used for the world file suffix. Therefore the world files for mytown.tif and redlands.rlc would be mytown.tfw and redlands.rcw, respectively.

For images that lack an extension, or have an extension that is shorter than three characters, the "w" is added to the end of the file name without altering it.

How the georeferencing information is accessed

The transformation is calculated from one of the following sources, listed in order of priority:

Because a world file has higher priority, you can override the header file transformation information by creating your own world file.

World file contents

The contents of the world file will look something like this:


Note: values cannot be in scientific notation.

The values are inputs into the following formulas:

x1 = Ax + By + C

y1 = Dx + Ey + F

where the variables represent the following:

x1 = calculated x-coordinate of the pixel on the map
y1 = calculated y-coordinate of the pixel on the map
x = column number of a pixel in the image
y = row number of a pixel in the image
A = x-scale; dimension of a pixel in map units in x direction
B,D = rotation terms
C,F = translation terms; x,y map coordinates of the center of the upper-left pixel
E = negative of y-scale; dimension of a pixel in map units in y direction

The y-scale (E) is negative because the origins of an image and a geographic coordinate system are different. The origin of an image is located in the upper-left corner, whereas the origin of the map coordinate system is located in the lower-left corner. Row values in the image increase from the origin downward, while y-coordinate values in the map increase from the origin upward.

The transformation parameters are stored in the world file in this order:

20.17541308822119 = A
0.00000000000000 = D
0.00000000000000 = B
-20.17541308822119 = E
424178.11472601280548 = C
4313415.90726399607956 = F

Search code: @author_world_files