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Thursday, August 7, 2008


How many times have you tried inserting TIFF images of aerial photos and have gotten frustrated? I hear about it a lot. You insert an image into your drawing and everything seems to be going great. Then all of a sudden you insert another one and everything starts going down hill. One or more of the images becomes white in the drawing. (See Figure 1) Uh oh! What do you do? You install the Raster Design Object Enabler but that does not help? Even using Raster Design does not help.

Figure 1

Don’t panic! There is a solution. But I will get to that in a moment.

One thing you have to consider when working with TIFF images is that there are approximately 27,000 different types of TIFF images out there today. Autodesk cannot support all of them. What TIFF images do they support? I am not sure. I have asked Autodesk but they cannot tell me.

So how do you get your work done? If you cannot get anything other than TIFF images what are you supposed to do? Simple, follow the steps below.

The first thing that you want to do is purchase image viewer software. I recommend either Irfanview or Global Mapper. Irfanview is FREEWARE for home use only and the author asks that if you are going to use it for commercial use that you send him some money, $12 cash, and register the product. Global Mapper (GM) is the more expensive of the two for the full version, $299 for one license. Make sure that you download and install the plug-ins for Irfanview. To use all of the tools in GM, especially the conversion tools, you will need to purchase the full version. To read more about what these two providers have to offer just click the links above.

Once you have installed the image viewer you want to start converting your TIFF images into another image format. I used for Irfanview for this article.

1. Go to the ‘File’ pull down menu and select ‘Batch Conversion/Rename’ or hit the ‘B’ key.
2. In the upper right hand corner of the Batch Conversion dialog box, see figure 2, browse to the folder where your images are located and select the ones you want to convert and click ‘Add’.
3. In the upper left hand corner of the dialog box select ‘Batch Conversion’.
4. Select the ‘Output format’ that you want. In this case select the PNG, Portable Network Graphics, format. You can choose any format that you want.
5. Select where you want the files saved to.
6. After you have made all of your selections then click on ‘Start Batch’.

Figure 2

Depending on the size and complexity of your images it might take a while to complete the conversion. The 13 images that I used were all about 120MB in size. It took about 3 hours to complete the process.

What about the world files? Simply copy the existing TFW files to another location and change the file extension to PGW, i.e. Taft-NE.TFW will become Taft-NE.PGW. If you convert your images to any other format besides PNG please remember that the world file extensions will need to be changed to match that format. All you have to do is remove the middle letter/character and slide the last letter/character to the middle and add a ‘W’ at the end, i.e. for a JPG file the world file extension would be JGW.

Once you converted your images and changed the file extensions on the world file you can insert your images again. All of your images should come in correctly! See Figure 3.

Figure 3

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