What is JPEG 2000?

JPEG 2000 is an image compression and coding system format to the ISO/CEI 15444-1 standard that is ideally suited to handling satellite images.

The JPEG 2000 format enables images to be viewed in variable compression modes, making it popular with users looking for ever increased precision, resolution and information content in geospatial imagery, as well as for faster access to data.

The table below compares file sizes for a Pléiades 50-cm, pan-sharpened (4-band) product covering an AoI of 20 km x 20 km. The size of the initial, uncompressed 12-bit image file is roughly 10 Gb.


12 bits

  • Optimised: 2.6 GB
  • Regular (sans perte): 6 GB (max)

12 bits (16 bits encoding)

  • 12 GB

8 bits

  • Optimised: 2.6 GB
  • Regular (sans perte): 6 GB (max)

8 bits
(with loss of data due to switch from 12 to 8 bits)

  • 6 GB

JPEG200 files are therefore significantly smaller than GeoTIFF files while retaining optimal image quality, with clear, sharp outlines and good colour rendering.
This means images take up less disk space, they upload/download faster and navigation is optimised for enhanced data access and sharing.

Main features and advantages of JPEG 2000

JPEG 2000 offers much more than standard JPEG format.

In particular, besides its superior compression quality, it gives you a choice of two modes:

  • Lossy or optimised compression, which generates image files roughly 5 times smaller than with uncompressed image formats like GeoTIFF, for example. On the other hand, this compression format can’t be reversed and you can’t reduce the level of image compression.
  • Lossless or regular compression, which generates files half the size of uncompressed image formats. This mode offers more flexibility by allowing you to specify different levels of compression to suit the purpose for which the image data is intended.