MrSID SDK Improvements

For a long time, I avoided MrSID like the plague. After trying to do *anything* useful with it, I finally gave up; the requirement for old versions of gcc, non-working on 64bit, etc. really gave me a negative impression of the SDK for MrSID reading. This was especially painful when working with OpenAerialMap, since MrSID has a practical lock on the market from ortho imagery datasources. (There are exceptions to this, but they’re usually JPEG2000 data, which was even worse to work with with the tools that I use, in general.)

However, after a set of discussions yesterday, I sat down and had a bit of a discusion about it, and Frank said that MrSID building in GDAL had gotten much easier. I didn’t really believe him, but I had the DSDK handy for other reasons, and reading the build hints, it was supposed to be easy.

Thinking I was going to prove Frank wrong, I started building. I did ./configure --with-mrsid=~/Downloads/Geo_DSDK-; confirmed MrSID ‘yes’ in the output, then make.

3 minutes later, I had a gdalinfo and gdal_translate built on my Mac with MrSID support.

My historical problems with MrSID are completely irrelevant: the effort in the new SDK to support more platforms has clearly worked, and I can say that building MrSID support even on the Mac is trivial. A big thumbs up to the LizardTech folks for their effort in this regard — and to people like Frank and Michael for egging me on into learning this about the DSDK in the first place.

6 Responses to “MrSID SDK Improvements”

  1. STH Says:

    But can you for FREE create MrSid files? If NO, then I suggest to use ECW instead. Or even better JPEG-compressed GeoTIFFs with overviews for “close to no” quality loss.

  2. Zoom - The LizardTech Community Blog » Blog Archive » Post-sprint reflections Says:

    […] the grace to blush just a little, we’re not too modest to nonetheless link to Chris’ stirring post on using GDAL with our […]

  3. Tom MacWright Says:

    Note that the MrSID SDK can’t be distributed with GDAL on lots of systems because of licensing restrictions, and that you apparently have to create an account and agree to a TOS to download it. Now, LizardTech is certainly more open to open source than ESRI, but that’s basically the same as saying ‘they don’t actively hate open source.’

  4. crschmidt Says:

    Sure. It’s still proprietary software, and in some cases, you may have to pay to use it, but it’s a nice library that does something a lot of people need.

  5. fmatz Says:

    There is a new LizardTech GeoViewer to view MrSID for free.
    Also you can convert MrSID to GeoTIFF, JPEG and PNG.

  6. crschmidt Says:

    I agree with every part of that statement except for ‘new’; depending on your definition of ‘free’. (Freedom, or zero cost?)

    There have been zero-cost tools to do this with MrSID for many years. It still isn’t ‘free’ software, where free == freedom/libre.

    Which doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t worth using, just that it is not open source.