MapInfo TAB and MIF/MID
MapInfo datasets in native (TAB) format and in interchange (MIF/MID) format
are supported for reading and writing. Starting with GDAL 2.0, update of
existing TAB files is supported. Update of existing MIF/MID files is not
Note: In the rest of this document "MIF/MID File" is used to refer to a
pair of .MIF + .MID files, and "TAB file" refers to the set of files for a
MapInfo table in binary form (usually with extensions .TAB, .DAT, .MAP, .ID,
The MapInfo driver treats a whole directory of files as a dataset, and
a single file within that directory as a layer. In this case the directory
name should be used as the dataset name.
However, it is also possible to use one of the files (.tab or .mif) in a
MapInfo set as the dataset name, and then it will be treated as a dataset
with one single layer.
MapInfo coordinate system information is supported for reading and writing.
The TAB File format requires that the bounds (geographical extents) of a new
file be set before writing the first feature.
There is currently no automated setting of valid default bounds for
each spatial reference system, so for the time being, the MapInfo driver sets the following
default bounds when a new layer is created:
- For a file in LAT/LON (geographic) coordinates: BOUNDS (-180, -90) (180, 90)
- For any other projection: BOUNDS (-30000000, -15000000) (30000000, 15000000)
Starting with GDAL 2.0, it is possible to override those bounds through two
- specify a user-defined file that contain projection definitions with bounds.
The name of this file must be specified with the MITAB_BOUNDS_FILE configuration
This allows users to override the
default bounds for existing projections, and to define bounds for new projections
not listed in the hard-coded table in the driver.
The format of the file is a simple text file with one CoordSys string
per line. The CoordSys lines should follow the MIF specs, and MUST
include the optional Bounds definition at the end of the line, e.g.
# Lambert 93 French bounds
CoordSys Earth Projection 3, 33, "m", 3, 46.5, 44, 49, 700000, 6600000 Bounds (75000, 6000000) (1275000, 7200000)
- use the BOUNDS layer creation option (see below)
If no coordinate system is provided when creating a layer, the projection
case is used, not geographic, which can result in very low precision if
the coordinates really are geographic. You can add "-a_srs WGS84" to the
ogr2ogr commandline during a translation to force geographic mode.
MapInfo feature attributes suffer a number of limitations:
- Only Integer, Real and String field types can be created. The various
list, and binary field types cannot be created.
- For String fields, the field width is used to establish storage size in
the .dat file. This means that strings longer than the field width will be
- String fields without an assigned width are treated as 254 characters.
Dataset Creation Options
- FORMAT=MIF: To create MIF/MID instead of TAB files (TAB is the default).
- SPATIAL_INDEX_MODE=QUICK: Use this to turn on "quick spatial index
mode". The default behavior of MITAB since GDAL v1.5.0 is to generate an
optimized spatial index, but this results in slower write speed than what we
used to get with GDAL 1.4.x and older. Applications that want faster write
speed and do not care about the performance of spatial queries on the resulting
file can use this option to require the creation of a non-optimal spatial index
(actually emulating the type of spatial index produced by OGR's TAB driver
before GDAL 1.5.0). In this mode writing files can be about 5 times faster, but
spatial queries can be up to 30 times slower.
Layer Creation Options
- BOUNDS=xmin,ymin,xmax,ymax: (GDAL >=2.0) Define custom layer bounds
to increase the accuracy of the coordinates. Note: the geometry of written features
must be within the defined box.
Before v1.8.0 , the driver was incorrectly using a "." as the delimiter for id:
parameters and starting with v1.8.0 the driver uses a comma as the delimiter
was per the OGR Feature Style Specification.