.ECW File Extension

Enhanced Compression Wavelet Image

Developer Earth Resource Mapping
3.8  |  8 Votes

What is an ECW file?

An ECW file is an image saved in the Enhanced Compression Wavelet (ECW) format. It was likely created using aerial photography or satellite imaging. Geographers and other Earth scientists use the images ECW files contain in GIS applications.

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Screenshot of a .ecw file in QGIS
ECW file open in QGIS

Earth Resource Mapping, an Australian-based software company, developed the ECW format in 1998. The format has since become widely used in the geographical sciences community, because it efficiently compresses the large images created by aerial and satellite imaging. This allows geographers to more easily store geographical images and load them in GIS applications, which are used to analyze data about the Earth's surface.

In addition to image data, an ECW file can also contain map projection data, used to map the two-dimensional image the file contains to the Earth's curvature. Each ECW file can contain up to 65,535 bands, which are layers or colors that can be viewed separately in the image.

NOTE: Leica Geosystems now owns the rights to the ECW format.

How to open an ECW file

You can open an ECW file with ESRI ArcGIS for Desktop (Windows), QGIS (Windows, Mac), and several other GIS applications. For example, to open an ECW file with QGIS, drag the file to the open program window. Then, the image your ECW file contains will appear in QGIS.

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Programs that open ECW files

EclipseCrossword Word List File

Developer Green Eclipse
2.6  |  5 Votes

An ECW file contains a crossword created by EclipseCrossword, a program used to generate crossword puzzles. It contains a crossword puzzle, which includes each word with its clue and whether it is down or across. ECW files also include the title, author, copyright, and letter width and height of the puzzle.

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You can open ECW files in EclipseCrossword. However, the program is only available for Windows. If you come across an ECW file in macOS you can open the ECW file with a text editor since the file is stored in plain text.

You can print crosswords stored in ECW files and save them as webpages in EclipseCrossword. You can also publish ECW puzzles as .RTF, .WMF, .EPS files.

Programs that open ECW files

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