I am using JOGL in my astrophotography package Astro Pixel Processor.
I have a problem with large images and I am wondering if the error is familiar to you.
If a big image (2GB large in 32bit Float format) is loaded as a texture, then in some occasions the image data is not shown correctly on the texture. Instead the image is not visible and we are left with a texture with something like a rainbow...
At first, yes please ensure that it has nothing to do with the surface scale even though I doubt that it's the real root cause.
Then, try to make a similar image with exactly 16384 * 16384 pixels in order to check whether large square textures work with your hardware. If it does, you'll have to use this kind of workaround in some cases. Otherwise, try with a smaller texture.
My guess is that some drivers return wrong information about the maximum texture size.