2002.01.16 14:52 "RE: How to interpret 16-bit GrayScale image?", by Paul Beaty
Unsigned 16-bit data means you have the possibility of a total value range of 65536 (0 - 65535) values. This does not mean they are all being used. Typically, when GIS and remote sensing data are stored as unsigned 16-bit, there is a good reason. This may indicate the values represent something other than a simple shade or color. How do you interpret the values.... first, what type of data do you have? DEM, vegetation index, satellite image, scanned photo, GIS thematic data?
If file size is an issue, use pack-bit compression to compress the non-used values. Note that pack-bit compression is a loss-less compression.