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Tif not reading the tfw file

03-22-2016 08:24 AM
New Contributor III


I get tif and tfw files a lot for work. I always thought that the tfw would allow the tif to be projected. Each tif that I check for the spatial reference states undefined. For the tfw to work these needs to be set to the correct spatial reference.

So ill set the reference myself. But in some cases the spatial reference does not take, it still states undefined.

Any thoughts on this.

Also, this is just to see if im missing something but why would a company send me tif fies with no spatial reference added yet have the tfw file with them? Is there some benefit that im not understanding. But I always thought the tfw would allow the tif to open in the correct place

Thank you for any help

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1 Reply
Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi Pierre,

The world file will store coordinate information about the raster, but not actually the coordinate system.  The coordinate system will be stored in the auxiliary file (.aux or .aux.xml).

You can define the raster coordinate system using the Define Projection tool.  This will create the .aux.xml file for you.  After you define the projection, you can configure ArcMap to read the world file information first:

World files for raster datasets—Help | ArcGIS for Desktop

The raster should then display in the correct location.