I need to create a large image .png with a resolution of 172500 pixels by 172500 pixels. I am using the image as a geographical map with different colours representing different heights and features.

MS Paint will only allow a maximum of 99999 X 99999 pixels. Gimp crashes when I attempt to open a file that large. Paint.net will not let me create such a large file. I need a program with the functionality of MS Paint that can work with such a large file. Which program can I use or can I alter MS paint to meet my requirements?

Note: I have created a scaled down version with a resolution of 17250 by 17250 in paint. This file is currently 980kb. My calculations say that a 172500 by 172500 file should be 98MB but Gimp tells me it will be 230gb.

Edit: This image will not be printed. A script will look at different sections of the image and using the colours as a heightmap, it will generate terrain in a program called mCAD

  • 1
    No offense but you're definitely asking the wrong question here. Even at 72ppi that would be a 200 ft image by my math. There is simply no fathomable reason to create a raster image so large. What kind of geographic map are you trying to achieve? What is this to be used for?
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 15:23
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    Photoshop reluctantly allows up to 300,000 pixels in either dimension, but I wouldn't offer that as a workable solution as my computer was not able to handle something that large. I agree with @Ryan, there is probably a better approach to the problem you're trying to solve
    – JohnB
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 15:24
  • Ryan, I've added the folowing detail to the post: This image will not be printed. A script will look at different sections of the image and using the colours as a heightmap, it will generate terrain in a program called mCAD
    – testuser
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 15:43
  • Also, Why is it such an issue? shouldn't it only be approximately 80MB?
    – testuser
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 15:56
  • When you save an image, the program compresses it. When you work with an image in an editor, it remains uncompressed until you export it. Try saving your scaled down version as a bitmap to see what the true uncompressed size would be.
    – JohnB
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


Before I made some sugestions that could help, I feel comepelled to mention this.

I know it is not for printing, but the reference Ryan is a good reference to see the dimensions.

Sometime ago I was using some geodata from nasa (as a hobby) and the raw information (from the terrain of the heights of the Earth) was 21,000 x 21,000 px in 8 diferent manageable blocks, giving a total of 84,000 x 42,000 px. That is an insane dimension for a normal computer.

Some math on the RAW disk space dimensions on your image.

172,500 x 172,500 = 29,756,250,000 px or 29,756.25 Mpx (More or less a thousand photos on a high resolution camera)

Asuming that you need a 24 bit image (normal RGB image) that is

  • 714,150,000,000 bits
  • 89,268,750,000 bytes
  • 89,268.75 Mb
  • 89.26875 Gb

of raw disk space.

The compressed size of an image depends on two things, the compression method and the info the image itself contains. But you need to think beforehand the RAW uncompressed dimension for this kind of work.

You could do that in Photoshop, but you need to max the RAM of your computer. It is recomended that you has the double RAM for the image you are processing. Win 10 64 bits Pro edition can handle 512 Gb. The home edition can handle 128 Gb. Of course you need to see if your hardware can handle the memory.

But I think the aproach is wrong

Becouse you need that bitmap as a raw data for a secondary process: convert that to some CAD info.

As we previously saw, the image is going to be dificult to process "per se" in a normal computer. You now need to see if the cad program can interpret that info.

Try to see if you can handle a lower resolution using lets say 4 or 9 blocks of half the linear size or 1/3 the linear size (1/4 or 1/9).

Or if the height info can be stored in some kind of database that can be accesed by delimitated zones. That is how cartography software manage that kind of info.

  • Game engines use what is sometimes called a megatexture which i think, in its basic form, is a file that looks like a memory mapped file or paged memory. So, whatever file type you use, it will need to be compatible with the renderer pipleine. I suspect that they work in tilesets of arbitrary (smaller) size that are then stitched when they "bake" the megatexture.
    – Yorik
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 17:46
  • +1 for suggesting using a database instead. It sounds like the purpose of this question is to use an image like it's a database. Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 19:09

I've found a better way of doing this. I will be using a tiled web map. This is how openstreetmaps and google maps works. This way, my images can be smaller.

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