Before Rasterio there was one Python option for accessing the many different kind of raster data files used in the GIS field: the Python bindings distributed with the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library, GDAL. These bindings extend Python, but provide little abstraction for GDAL’s C API. This means that Python programs using them tend to read and run like C programs. For example, GDAL’s Python bindings require users to watch out for dangling C pointers, potential crashers of programs. This is bad: among other considerations we’ve chosen Python instead of C to avoid problems with pointers.
What would it be like to have a geospatial data abstraction in the Python standard library? One that used modern Python language features and idioms? One that freed users from concern about dangling pointers and other C programming pitfalls? Rasterio’s goal is to be this kind of raster data library – expressing GDAL’s data model using fewer non-idiomatic extension classes and more idiomatic Python types and protocols, while performing as fast as GDAL’s Python bindings.
High performance, lower cognitive load, cleaner and more transparent code. This is what Rasterio is about.
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