Top 5 Benefits of MrSID Image Format

Every day we create and collect images on smart phones, digital cameras, drones, and anything else that has a lens attached. As technology progresses and cameras become more advanced on all devices, the size and quality of these images also improves. These hundreds and thousands of files often grow to gigabytes (or terabytes) in size. The larger the image the more difficult it is to store, transmit, and share with friends, colleagues, or customers. Most people turn to image compression to manage these large image files more easily. However, with many existing compression tools the original quality of the image is lost upon compression--and once it’s lost that quality is gone forever. While this may be fine for social media, it’s not so helpful for that gorgeous nature photo that could land on a magazine cover or those aerial images you need for in-depth analysis.

Extensis products Portfolio and GeoExpress both offer the capability to compress your imagery assets with ease, particularly your larger images, like aerial or satellite imagery, or high-resolution RAW or TIF files.BlogImage_MrSID-Thumbv3To support these capabilities, both products make use of our own image format, MrSID, which is both a file type as well as a set of technologies that provide powerful viewing capabilities. Most any image may be compressed to MrSID. It’s especially powerful when applied to your largest images. Here’s how it works.

  1. MrSID allows instantaneous viewing and manipulation of very large imagery without sacrificing quality. Originally created for geospatial imagery which may be state- or country-sized (so, incredibly large), making a MrSID file not only compresses the image itself, but also creates a built-in pyramid that can be compressed and decompressed with little or no loss of visual quality. This pyramid-based compression can work for any image regardless of its original format.
  2. With MrSID, it’s quick and easy to view and explore selected areas of these large images in real-time. The true power of MrSID is the ability to load only the portion of the image you are viewing at that moment. Remember those pyramids contained within every MrSID file? Unlike TIF or other raw file formats, these built-in pyramids let you quickly open and move from one part of an image to another without having to wait for the entire image to open. Long gone are the days of watching the spinning wheel—or worse—waiting for your image to be reprocessed by the application you’re working in. That typically happens because your app has to handle and possibly re-load the entire file for every action you take. MrSID removes the processing energy your app was using to deal with the whole file, making it easier and faster to get to just what you’re looking at.
  3. MrSID image compression also reduces storage and bandwidth resources required for managing sets of very large image files. Massive amounts of raw imagery require a significant amount of storage. MrSID uses a technology first developed at the National Research Laboratories at Los Alamos to achieve a visually lossless compression ratio of 20:1 for full-color images. The compression may be set even higher for greater size savings. With MrSID you can easily compress very large images to store locally, send to others, or upload to cloud storage.
  4. MrSID can compress files by 95% or more for fast and easy sharing and delivery. No more bounced emails from attached files being too large, or transmitting a file that renders your app or device busy for minutes or longer. MrSID compression frees up your bandwidth to reduce both cost and time wasted.
  5. The technology relies on mathematical algorithms to compress an image in a way that doesn’t skew the data. By utilizing the lossless compression option when using MrSID, the image is as accurate after compression as it was before compression. Your MrSID images will look identical to the originals but end up 50% smaller or more, and contain the built-in zoom levels that make them fast to open and view.

With Portfolio or GeoExpress leveraging MrSID, the world is truly your oyster.



Also, to learn more about how Extensis Portfolio and GeoExpress solves our customer’s needs, check out our customer success stories.



Jenelle Kemp - Product Owner, GeoExpress, Express Server, SquishPic

Jenelle Kemp is a product advocate who provides strategies for handling big images so that smart people can more easily analyze what's going on in the world. She is the product owner for GeoExpress, Express Server, SquishPic, and a suite of other image compression and management tools under development in Extensis' downtown Seattle office. She combines the spatial knowledge gained from her geography and GIS degree along with her lifelong love of technology to push for accurate and accessible applications. To unplug she enjoys hiking and camping in wild places, winemaking, refinishing and restoring vintage finds, exploring local breweries, and chasing after her small flock of backyard hens.