Tagged Image File Format

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Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) is a flexible tag-based file format for storing and interchanging raster images. The 6.0 specification was finalized in 1992 and is the current standard.

Data stored in the TIFF format can be placed anywhere in the file. It can store bit-mapped, grayscale, or color images in a number of compression formats. It is portable in the sense that the data can be stored in any machine-dependent way; it is up to the tools written to extract the data to format these values properly to the native architecture. For example, libtiff manages bit- and byte-ordering differences, bit reversal, and byte-swapping. Users of this library still have to unpack the data manually according to the BitsPerSample and SampleFormat tags, which specify the size and type (signed/unsigned, integer/floating-point) of pixels stored in the image.

GeoTIFF is a layer on top of TIFF that attaches geo-referencing data to the header of the image, such that the pixel locations can be mapped to a projection. GeoTIFF is a popular interchange format of remote sensing data released by the United States Census and United States Geological Survey.