Help Page for JPEG 2000 Image Format Files

What is JPEG 2000?
How do I look at JPEG 2000 files?

(Note: The NAIP08 county files are the first data that MnGeo has distributed in JPEG 2000 format. We will add information to this page as we use the format more extensively. If you have suggestions for additional information to provide, please let us know: )

What is JPEG 2000?

JPEG 2000 is a wavelet-based data format that allows image files to be substantially compressed with little to no loss of image quality. This format, created by the Joint Photographic Experts Group committee, allows you to view any portion of a JPEG 2000 image at any resolution very quickly. It is similar to MrSID and ER Mapper formats; however, it is based on an open standard so it can be used by anyone.

For more information:

How do I look at JPEG 2000 files?

You may look at JPEG 2000 files with some web browsers or with some geographic information systems (GIS) software packages.

Note: USDA reports that ER Mapper and some earlier ESRI software releases have had trouble converting NAIP JPEG 2000 formatted files. They are working to resolve those problems.

  • Plug-in for web browsers (free)
    If you want to see JPEG 2000 images using either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox web browsers (Windows versions), you can use LizardTech's ExpressView Browser Plug-in (formerly called the MrSID Browser Plug-in). It is free for individual use; download it and follow the installation wizard instructions.

    LizardTech maintains a Frequently-Asked Questions page specifically for the plug-in.
  • Free data viewers
    The Farm Service Agency's Aerial Photography Field Office provides an information sheet about several software packages that can view JPEG 2000 (note that some do not recognize the 4th band in a 4-band image).
  • ESRI's ArcGIS software

    MnGeo has tested ArcGIS 9.1, 9.2, and 9.3 and the software comes enabled to view JPEG 2000 files. For more details, search for the keyword "JPEG 2000" in ArcGIS Help. Other questions may be answered at ESRI's Support Center website.

    ArcGIS Tips:  If your JPEG 2000 image is composed of more than one band, you can display either a composite image or any individual bands.

    • NAIP 2008 example:  NAIP08 color imagery is composed of four bands. To see a composite view, choose "Add Theme" and make sure you have selected the image name (not the individual band names that appear as "subdirectories"). This will add three bands and will display them with the red/green/blue color assignments that are set under the Tools/Options/Raster menu. In ArcMap, if you double-click on the image name when you add a theme, you will open a listing of the bands and can choose an individual band to add instead of the composite.
    • Changing band settingsTo change the band color assignments:  Right-click on the layer name and choose "Properties". On the "Symbology" tab, left-click on a band name to see a dropdown menu of band names. Choose the band you want to display as the color. Click "OK". (Click on graphic to right to see more detail.)
      • To view the NAIP08 composite as natural color, set:
        Band 1 = red
        Band 2 = green
        Band 3 = blue
      • To view the NAIP08 composite as color-infrared, set:
        Band 4 = red
        Band 1 = green
        Band 2 = blue
    • "Washed out" image problem in ArcGIS 9.3
      If the NAIP 2008 photos (or any other 4-band imagery) look washed out or transparent when viewed in ArcGIS 9.3, the "Alpha" channel needs to be unchecked.

      Problem:  In ArcMap 9.2 only three channels (or bands: blue, green, red) could be displayed in a raster image. Starting in ArcMap 9.3 four channels are now displayed by default. Since the fourth channel (the "Alpha" channel) for NAIP 2008 imagery contains the infrared data this tends to interfere with or wash out the red, green and blue channels.

      How to Fix:  Right-click the image layer in ArcMap's table of contents. Then select Properties followed by the Symbology tab of the Layer Properties dialog (click on image shown at right to see more detail). Make sure RGB Composite is selected in the box under Show and then uncheck the box to the left of the Alpha channel as shown. This will turn off the Alpha channel so that it will not interfere with the other image channels. Finally, click the Apply and OK buttons on the dialog and the image should redraw clearly without the wash out effect.

      Note: If you reopen the Layer Properties dialog for the NAIP 2008 image layer, the Alpha channel box is rechecked despite your previous effort to turn it off. This is a bug in ArcMap 9.3 that will hopefully be fixed in the next service pack. Fortunately, however, ArcMap's automatic rechecking of the box has no effect and the image will continue to be displayed without the wash out. If you wish to view the Alpha channel, uncheck it and then recheck it again and it will become visible.



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