Geospatial Portable Document Format (GeoPDF)

Published Feb. 14, 2013
GeoPDF example

GeoPDF example

Description and Background:

Portable Document Format (PDF): A file format developed by Adobe Systems for representing documents in a manner that is independent of the original application software, hardware, and operating system used to create those documents. A PDF file can describe documents containing any combination of text, graphics, and images in a device independent and resolution independent format. These documents can be one page or thousands of pages, very simple or extremely complex with a rich use of fonts, graphics, color, and images. PDF is a published open ISO standard file format, and anyone may write applications that can read or write PDFs royalty-free. GeoPDF: TerraGo has created a plug-in for Adobe Acrobat that allows you to embed a coordinate system and attribute data into the PDF maps you create. By using TerraGo’s tools you can create and view the Geo-referenced PDF.

Key Capabilities:

The GeoPDF file that is created is a much better looking map than NGA’s CADRG (ADRG quality-with CADRG size is a good way to think of it), the file is (but does not have to be) a standard NGA product (JOG, TPC, TLM) so the files can be used for demand based replication which is an initiative that NGA has as a way to reduce the number of maps being printed and placed in storage, only to have them go out of date. Printing maps as needed, or "on demand", would reduce the number of maps stored while providing an opportunity for update at the time of printing. Maps produced on demand would benefit from having the most current information. The PDF file format goes hand in hand with demand based replication because of small file sizes (1.5-10MB) which supports low bandwidth dissemination.

Current Status:

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has the eChart program which will produce vector based GeoPDF files for all new/updated maps through their GGI contracts (number of sheets produced based on NGA map update schedule, a limited number of sheets per year). In the interim, the NGA Research Center (Library) produced raster based GeoPDF files by scanning their holdings of standard NGA products or when available using the NGA computer to plate files to supplement the eChart initiative. The Army took the GeoPDFs and packaged them by country for distribution via the web and DVD. NGA’s CADRG/ECRG/GeoPDF Team has taken over production, maintenance and distribution [via DLA] of some of these GeoPDF Country Coverages. AGC and USGS have partnered to produce GeoPDF USA State Coverages along with the USA Territories, USA areas [i.e. Southern Border] and USA City coverages. These datasets are available via AGC’s websites and on DVD.



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Point of Contact

Commercial (703) 428-6784; DSN 364-6784.