Using the ImageMosaic plugin with footprint mangement


This step-by-step tutorial describes how to associate Footprint to a raster data using the ImageMosaic plugin.

Footprint is a Shape used as a Mask for the mosaic. Masking can be useful for hiding pixels which are meaningless, or for enhancing only few regions of the image in respect to others.

This tutorial assumes knowledge of the concepts explained in Using the ImageMosaic plugin.

This tutorial contains two sections:

  • The first section, Configuration, describes the possible configurations needed to set up an ImageMosaic with footprint.
  • The second section, Examples, provides examples of configuration of an ImageMosaic with footprint.


Footprint can be configured in three different ways:

  1. By using for each mosaic granule a Sidecar File, a Shapefile with the same name of the granule which contains the footprint for it;
  2. By using a single Shapefile called footprints.shp which contains all the footprints for each granule; each footprint is associated to a granule with the location attribute;
  3. By using a file called .

The last option should be used when the first two are not available and requires to write the following piece of code inside the file:

footprint_source=*location of the Shapefile*
footprint_filter=*filter on the Shapefile searching for the attribute associated to each granule*

For example if a Shapefile called fakeShapeFile stores the various footprints in a table like this, where each Name attribute is referred to a granule file:


And the associated granules are:

  • ortho_1-1_1n_s_la087_2010_1.tif
  • ortho_2-2_1n_s_la075_2010_1.tif
  • ortho_1-1_1n_s_la103_2010_1.tif
  • and so on ...

The associated file must be like this:

footprint_filter=Name=strSubstring(granule.location, 0, strLength(granule.location) - 4)

The substring operation is done for comparing the footprint attribute names and the granule names without the .tif extension.

There are three possible behaviours for Footprint:

  • None: simply doesn’t use the Footprint and behaves like a standard ImageMosaic layer;
  • Transparent: adds an alpha band of 0s on the image portions outside of the Footprint making them transparent, typically used for RGB data;
  • Cut: set the background value on the image portions outside of the Footprint, typically used for GrayScale data.

The behaviour must be set directly on the Layer configuration page.

Another feature of the Footprint is the possibility to calculate an Inset of the image. Inset is a reduction of the footprint border by a value defined by the user which is typically used for removing the compression artifacts. This feature can be achieved by adding the following code inside (in case of the first two configurations this file must be added):

footprint_inset=*value in the shapefile u.o.m.*

Full inset type calculates the inset for each footprint side while Border does the same operation but those straight lines that overlap the image bounds are avoided; this last parameter is useful for images already cut in a regular grid.

Each modification of the file requires to Reload GeoServer. This operation can be achieved by going to Server Status and cliking on the Reload button on the bottom-right side of the page.

The two datasets used in the tutorial can be downloaded here: Mosaic with a single image which represents Boulder (Colorado), Mosaic with multiple images which represents Italy. The first can be used for testing footprint configuration with a Sidecar File and the second for the other two configurations.


Here are presented a few steps for configuring a new ImageMosaic layer with footprint.

Step 1: Create a new ImageMosaic Layer

As seen before an ImageMosaic data store can be created by going to Stores ‣ Add New Store ‣ ImageMosaic.


An associated Layer can be created by going to Layers ‣ Add New Resource, choosing the name of the data store created above and then clicking on the publish button.

Step 2: Configuring a new Layer for the Mosaic

Inside the new page the only field which is interesting for this tutorial is FootprintBehavior:


The user can set one of the three values for the Footprint behaviour as described above.

After that, the user must confirm the modification by clicking on the Save button on the bottom side of the page.

Step 3: Example Results

Here are presented the results for each dataset.

Footprint configured with Sidecar File

This is an example of mosaic without applying Footprint:


And this is the result of setting FootprintBehavior to Cut:


Background is gray because in this example the BackgroundValues field has been set to -20000.

If an Inset is added, the final mosaic is:


The file is:



Remember that each modification on requires a Reload of GeoServer for seeing the results.


When configuring this mosaic you must set the declared CRS field to “EPSG:4326”.

Footprint configured with footprints.shp

This is another example of mosaic without Footprint:


And now after setting FootprintBehavior to Transparent (no Inset is used) on the Layer:


Footprint configured with


For testing this functionality the user must rename all the files to

The result of setting FootprintBehavior to Transparent, Inset type to border and Inset value to 0.00001 is:


The file is: