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       r.compress  - Compresses and decompresses raster maps.


       raster, map management, compression


       r.compress --help
       r.compress [-upg] map=name[,name,...]  [--help]  [--verbose]  [--quiet]  [--ui]

           Uncompress the map

           Print compression information and data type of input map(s)

           Print compression information in shell script style

           Print usage summary

           Verbose module output

           Quiet module output

           Force launching GUI dialog

       map=name[,name,...] [required]
           Name of existing raster map(s)


       r.compress  can  be  used  to compress or decompress raster maps.  Additionally, it prints
       information about the compression method and data type of the input raster map(s).

       All raster maps (those imported  for  the  first  time  and  those  newly  generated)  are
       compressed by default using the ZLIB compression method (see below). Related no data files
       (i.e.: NULL files), if present, are compressed by default unless  a  specific  environment
       variable  is  set  to  explicitly disable NULL file compression (GRASS_COMPRESS_NULLS, see

       During compression or re-compression, r.compress compresses raster maps using  the  method
       specified  by  means of the environment variable GRASS_COMPRESSOR. The default compression
       method is ZLIB’s "deflate" algorithm (LZ77-based). Raster maps that  contain  very  little
       information (such as boundary, geology, soils and land use maps) can be greatly reduced in
       size. Some raster maps are shrunk to roughly  1%  of  their  original  sizes.   All  newly
       generated  raster  maps  are  automatically stored as compressed data with varying methods
       depending on the raster format (i.e.,  CELL:  integer;  FCELL:  single  precision;  DCELL:
       double  precision;  see below). All GRASS GIS modules are able to read both compressed and
       uncompressed raster maps.

       Raster maps that are already compressed might be compressed again,  either  by  setting  a
       different  method  with  GRASS_COMPRESSOR (supported methods: RLE, ZLIB, LZ4, BZIP2, ZSTD)
       or, for the case  of  ZLIB  compression,  by  changing  the  compression  level  with  the
       environment variable GRASS_ZLIB_LEVEL.

       Compressed  raster maps may be decompressed using r.compress with the -u flag. If a raster
       map was already decompressed and the -u flag is set, the module simply  informs  the  user
       that the map is already decompressed and exits.

       Information  about  the compression method and data type of the input raster map(s) can be
       printed in shell style with the -g flag. In this case, the module  prints  to  stdout  one
       line  per  input  map  with  the  fields  "input  map  name",  "data  type", "name of data
       compression method", "NULL file compression" separated by the pipe  character.  NULL  file
       compression is indicated with "YES" or "NO".

           ·   INTEGER map (CELL data type): a raster map of INTEGER type (whole numbers only)

           ·   FLOAT  map  (FCELL  data  type):  a  raster map of FLOAT type (4 bytes, 7-9 digits

           ·   DOUBLE map (DCELL data type): a raster map of DOUBLE type (8 bytes,  15-17  digits

           ·   NULL:  represents "no data" in raster maps; to be distinguished from 0 (zero) data

       The following compression methods are available (set by export GRASS_COMPRESSOR=method):

           ·   NONE (uncompressed)

           ·   RLE  (generic Run-Length Encoding of single bytes; deprecated)

           ·   ZLIB (DEFLATE, good speed and compression)

               ·   with zlib compression levels (export GRASS_ZLIB_LEVEL=X): -1..9 (-1 is default
                   which corresponds to ZLIB level 6)

               ·   note: export GRASS_ZLIB_LEVEL=0 is equal to copying the data as-is from source
                   to destination

           ·   LZ4  (fastest, low compression)

           ·   BZIP2 (slowest, high compression)

           ·   ZSTD (compared to ZLIB, faster and higher compression, much faster decompression -
               default compression)
       Important: the NULL file compression can be turned off with export GRASS_COMPRESS_NULLS=0.
       Raster maps with NULL file compression can only be opened with GRASS GIS 7.2.0  or  later.
       NULL file compression for a particular raster map can be managed with r.null -z.  The NULL
       file compression is using the LZ4 method as being the best compromise  between  speed  and
       compression rate.

       All  GRASS  GIS raster map types are by default ZLIB compressed, i.e. using ZLIB’s deflate
       algorithm. Through the environment variable GRASS_COMPRESSOR the compression method can be
       set to RLE, ZLIB, LZ4, BZIP2, or ZSTD.

       Integer  (CELL  type)  raster  maps can be compressed with RLE if the environment variable
       GRASS_COMPRESSOR exists and is set to RLE. However, this is not recommended.

       Floating point (FCELL, DCELL) raster maps never  use  RLE  compression;  they  are  either
       compressed with ZLIB, LZ4, BZIP2, ZSTD or are uncompressed.

           DEPRECATED  Run-Length  Encoding,  poor  compression  ratio  but  fast. It is kept for
           backwards compatibility to read raster maps created with GRASS 6. It is only used  for
           raster  maps  of  type  CELL.   FCELL  and  DCELL  maps  are never and have never been
           compressed with RLE.

           ZLIB’s deflate is the default compression method for all raster maps, if ZSTD  is  not
           available.  GRASS  GIS 7 uses by default 1 as ZLIB compression level which is the best
           compromise between speed and compression ratio, also when compared to other  available
           compression  methods.  Valid  levels  are  in the range [1, 9] and can be set with the
           environment variable GRASS_ZLIB_LEVEL.

           LZ4 is a very fast compression method, about as fast as no compression.  Decompression
           is  also  very  fast. The compression ratio is generally higher than for RLE but worse
           than for ZLIB. LZ4 is recommended if disk space is not a limiting factor.

           BZIP2 can provide compression ratios much higher than the other methods, but only  for
           large raster maps (> 10000 columns). For large raster maps, disk space consumption can
           be reduced by 30 - 50% when using BZIP2  instead  of  ZLIB’s  deflate.  BZIP2  is  the
           slowest  compression and decompression method. However, if reading from / writing to a
           storage device is the limiting factor, BZIP2  compression  can  speed  up  raster  map
           processing.  Be  aware  that  for  smaller raster maps, BZIP2 compression ratio can be
           worse than other compression methods.

           ZSTD (Zstandard) provides compression ratios higher than ZLIB  but  lower  than  BZIP2
           (for  large data). ZSTD compresses up to 4x faster than ZLIB, and usually decompresses
           6x faster than ZLIB. ZSTD is the default compression method if available.


   Compression method number scheme
       The used compression method is encoded with numbers. In  the  internal  cellhd  file,  the
       value for "compressed" is 1 for RLE, 2 for ZLIB, 3 for LZ4, 4 for BZIP2, and 5 for ZSTD.

       Obviously,  decompression  is  controlled  by  the  raster  map’s  compression, not by the
       environment variable.

       Conceptually, a raster data file consists of rows of cells, with each row  containing  the
       same  number  of cells. A cell consists of one or more bytes. For CELL maps, the number of
       bytes per cell depends on the category values stored in the cell. Category values  in  the
       range  0-255 require 1 byte per cell, while category values in the range 256-65535 require
       2 bytes, and category values in the range above 65535 require 3 (or more) bytes per cell.

       FCELL maps always have 4 bytes per cell and DCELL maps always have 8 bytes per cell.

       Since GRASS GIS 7.0.0, the default compression method for Integer (CELL)  raster  maps  is
       ZLIB and no longer RLE.

   ZLIB compression levels
       If  the  environment  variable  GRASS_ZLIB_LEVEL  exists and its value can be parsed as an
       integer, it determines the compression level used when newly  generated  raster  maps  are
       compressed  using  ZLIB  compression.  This  applies to all raster map types (CELL, FCELL,

       If the variable does not exist, or the value  cannot  be  parsed  as  an  integer,  ZLIB’s
       compression level 1 will be used.


   Printing of current compression state
       Example for an uncompressed raster map:
       r.compress compressed_no -p
         <compressed_no> (method 0: NONE). Data type: <CELL>

   Applying ZLIB compression
       Applying ZLIB compression to a copy of the uncompressed map from above:
       # compression of map using ZLIB compression
       g.copy raster=compressed_no,compressed_ZLIB
       r.compress compressed_ZLIB
       r.compress compressed_ZLIB -p
         <compressed_ZLIB> is compressed (method 2: ZLIB). Data type: <CELL>
       unset GRASS_COMPRESSOR # switch back to default

   Applying BZIP2 compression
       Applying BZIP2 compression to a copy of the ZLIB-compressed map from above:
       # compression of map using BZIP2 compression
       g.copy raster=compressed_ZLIB,compressed_BZIP2
       r.compress compressed_BZIP2
       r.compress compressed_BZIP2 -p
         <compressed_BZIP2> is compressed (method 4: BZIP2). Data type: <CELL>
       unset GRASS_COMPRESSOR # switch back to default

   Applying ZSTD compression
       Applying ZSTD compression to a copy of the BZIP2-compressed map from above:
       # compression of map using ZSTD compression
       g.copy raster=compressed_BZIP2,compressed_ZSTD
       r.compress compressed_ZSTD
       r.compress compressed_ZSTD -p
         <compressed_ZSTD> is compressed (method 5: ZSTD). Data type: <CELL>

SEE ALSO, r.null,

       Compression algorithms: bzip2, LZ4, zlib, zstd


       James  Westervelt  and  Michael  Shapiro,  U.S.  Army  Construction  Engineering  Research

       Markus Metz

       Last changed: $Date: 2018-08-24 12:37:09 +0200 (Fri, 24 Aug 2018) $


       Available at: r.compress source code (history)

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       © 2003-2019 GRASS Development Team, GRASS GIS 7.6.0 Reference Manual