GDAL Tips and Tricks

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GDAL is a translator library for raster and vector data formats. It is used by some GIS software (e.g. QGIS) as the underlying libraries for reading, writing, and some processing of spatial data. GDAL also creates many standalone command line applications (similar to the TUFLOW Utilities) that can be more convenient to use directly rather than using GIS software. This page describes some of these programs with examples that TUFLOW modellers may find useful. This is not an exhaustive list of examples, for more information please visit

Getting Started

The below describes three methods of getting setup with the GDAL programs. If you have QGIS installed, then it is recommended to use the first method below as you will already have GDAL on your computer. The second method describes how to install GDAL separately to QGIS using OSGeo4W. Finally the third method describes how to manually install GDAL separately to QGIS. This can be useful as it doesn't require installation (and therefore does not require admininstrator rights). These methods only relate to the pre-comiled programs and do not provide information on compiling, Python bindings, or installation via Conda.

GDAL Programs

  • ogr2ogr.exe - OGR is the vector library sub-module of GDAL. "ogr2ogr.exe" is the program that is used to convert between vector formats.
  • gdal_translate.exe - GDAL is the raster library sub-module of GDAL. "gdal_translate" is the program that is used to convert between raster formats.

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