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Filename extension .sid
Internet media type image/x-mrsid, image/x.mrsid, image/x-mrsid-image
Developed by LizardTech
Type of format lossless or lossy bitmap image format

MrSID (pronounced Mister Sid) is an acronym that stands for multiresolution seamless image database. It is a file format (filename extension .sid) developed and patented by LizardTech for encoding of georeferenced raster graphics, such as orthophotos.

Common uses

Geographic information systems

MrSID was developed primarily for Geographic Information Systems (GIS). With this format, massive image data can be partitioned and displayed as satellite imagery in map software.

World Wide Web

Since MrSID files contain multiple scale and quality levels they are claimed to be well suited for streaming over the World Wide Web. Only the requested zoom and area of the image is sent to the browser making the drawing/navigating/viewing performance extremely fast. The MrSID (.sid) format is supported in all major GIS applications such as ESRI, ERDAS, Autodesk, MapInfo, Intergraph and other product lines.

GeoExpress, the product that writes the MrSID format, can also generate JPEG 2000 (.jp2) data. When combined with LizardTech's Express Server, .sid and .jp2 data can be served quickly to a variety of GIS applications and other client applications either through direct integrations or via WMS (open source).


LizardTech offers a software package called GeoExpress to read and write MrSID files. They also provide a free web browser plug-in. Most commercial GIS software packages can read MrSID files including those from GE Smallworld, ESRI, Intergraph, Bentley Systems, MapInfo, Safe Software, Autodesk and ERDAS IMAGINE.

There is no Open Source implementation of the MrSID format. Some Open Source GIS systems can read MrSID files, including MapWindow GIS and those based on GDAL. The Decode Software Development Kit (SDK) is made available as a free download from This enables the capability to implement MrSID reading capability in any application.

Some image editing and management software systems can also read MrSID files; Xnview, IrfanView



MrSID technology uses lossless wavelet compression to create an initial image. Then the encoder divides the image into zoom levels, subbands, subblocks and bitplanes. After the initial encoding, the image creator can apply zero or more optimizations. While 2:1 compression ratios may be achieved losslessly, higher compression rates are lossy much like JPEG-compressed data.


MrSID uses selective decoding meaning that the decoder does not have to decode the entire file to view a specific zoom level, image quality or scene for example.

External links