Consider tags (x827) and (x240) with their respective tag excerpts:


Use this tag when referring to Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) within the GIS environment.


GeoTIFF is a public domain metadata standard which allows georeferencing information to be embedded within a TIFF file.

Is there anything we could do to improve how these tags are used?


I agree with you that the two tags warrant review, and that bringing them to a single tag would be ideal.

I agree with @Midavalo's comment that:

All geotiff files are tiff files, but not all tiff files are geotiff.

I agree with another comment by @Midavalo that:

I can export a map from ArcMap as a TIFF file, without it being a GeoTIFF.

I also see some questions that involve pictures in TIFF files being hyperlinked to, or loaded as attachments to, features in spatial datasets. However, I think these have generally been tagged or instead and I think that is fine to continue with that.

I propose that a simple, pragmatic and quick fix to our TIFF/GeoTIFF tagging conundrum will be to:

  1. Rename (via a moderator merge) to be a composite tag named , leaving as a synonym, and that the tag excerpt for be:

Use this tag when referring to georeferenced or ungeoreferenced TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) files.

  1. Merge (via a moderator merge) into the composite tag named , leaving as a synonym.

We have very few composite tags, and so I would not advocate creating them lightly, but in this case I think it is the cleanest fix.

  • Tks. How common do you think tiff is used in that alternative sense? I ask because I found very few questions of the like. – Andre Silva Dec 14 '17 at 23:30
  • Another question would be, aren't GeoTIFFs also suitable to use as pictures hyperlinked or attached to features? Does this type of use make it singular? – Andre Silva Dec 14 '17 at 23:32
  • @AndreSilva My gut feel, mostly from ArcGIS Desktop questions for TIFF:GeoTIFF is about 1:3 or 1:4 but often they will have a hyperlink or attachments tag so maybe we should have only GeoTIFF and push the others to those tags.. – PolyGeo Dec 14 '17 at 23:34
  • @AndreSilva Although GeoTIFFs can be hyperlinked/attached I think that would be relatively rare compared to photos related to features. – PolyGeo Dec 14 '17 at 23:35
  • I meant, consider the universe of questions tagged tiff how common do you think [tiff] is being used as an image not related to spatial data (like a photograph). Aren't those exceptions? – Andre Silva Dec 14 '17 at 23:38
  • @AndreSilva [tiff] hyperlink is:question and [tiff] attachment is:question suggest never. I suspect what has happened is that the questions I am thinking of are already tagged hyperlink or attachment rather than by their image format. I'm going to revise my answer. – PolyGeo Dec 14 '17 at 23:42
  • My concern is to pick up a tag which has a strong 'signal' (tiff being used as geotiff or wanting to be geotiff), turn it to be the 'noise' (images/photographs not related to spatial data used as attachments in databases, etc), then creating two problems just after updating the excerpt: i) having many questions incorrectly tagged (the signal); ii) having a tag once frequently used, now reserved to a subject with only a few questions (instead of use it as powerful synonym-merge). – Andre Silva Dec 14 '17 at 23:46
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    @AndreSilva I think that I am aligning with your thinking now. – PolyGeo Dec 14 '17 at 23:51
  • Note, I can export a map from ArcMap as a TIFF file, without it being a GeoTIFF. We also have jpg and png, for example, neither of which are spatial in nature, but like TIFF files are still used regularly. – Midavalo Dec 15 '17 at 16:03
  • @Midavalo maybe we do need to consider a composite tag of geotiff-tiff as a master to the other two. – PolyGeo Dec 16 '17 at 21:05
  • @AndreSilva I've revised my answer again so feel free to review any vote that you may have cast on it. – PolyGeo Dec 17 '17 at 6:01
  • I had already upvoted and continue to upvote. I think this answer is even better now. Because [tiff] and [geotiff] have been used for almost the same thing, and because their concept are almost the same too I do not consider [geotiff-tiff] a composite tag, just a little bit broader tag than the former which name/excerpt will be adjusted to what we currently have in GIS SE. – Andre Silva Dec 17 '17 at 13:19
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    PolyGeo & @AndreSilva - While I'm not a fan of geotiff-tiff, I think it would work better than having the two separate tags, and would be better than just geotiff on its own. I'm happy to go with that as a solution. – Midavalo Dec 17 '17 at 16:32
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    Thanks @AndreSilva - I'll try to give just a few more days for any dissenting views to emerge. Midavalo may not have had the chance to use the merge tool as often as I have, and so should feel free to do the implementation too, if ready to do so before I get to it. – PolyGeo Dec 17 '17 at 23:31
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    @AndreSilva it's time - this has now been implemented - thanks for the reminder – PolyGeo Jan 6 '18 at 21:16

I think in practice, the two tags have been used interchangebly, hence they should be synonyms.

Moreover, the tag excerpts also address a similar method of use, in which the 's excerpt reads: use it within the GIS environment, i.e., when tiff files are related to spatial data.

The greater number of questions in suggest it is the preferred terminology, so it could be the master tag (or not, vote on Midavalo’s comment if the other way around is preferred).

I agree there are questions about using TIFF images which are not GeoTIFF and even so are related to GIS (for example: Convert TIFF to GeoTIFF) but I don't think keeping the two tags separate overcome the benefits of joining them (e.g. help reducing duplicates and improve searching content).

If this answer is well received two things that could be considered/evaluated in other answers are: i) the possibility to add/adapt the [tiff] excerpt in [geotiff]; ii) given point i, the possibility to rename [geotiff] to [geotiff-tiff].

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    I mostly agree, except I think tiff should be the master tag – Midavalo Dec 14 '17 at 17:26
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    All geotiff files are tiff files, but not all tiff files are geotiff. – Midavalo Dec 14 '17 at 17:27

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