Collaborating in geospatial context since 2000!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ben Franklin Digs GeoPDF

FYI, Ben Franklin announced new world use of geospatial PDF at James Fee's Spatially Adjusted. Of course, James used "geospatial PDF", and I'm using GeoPDF to stir up the pot... We like to GeoPDF it up around here.

In the post, James kindly provided a pointer to the upcoming webinar wherein Tomas Lopes plays Ben Franklin, discussing how to integrate Acrobat into work-flows with geospatial contexts.

I think that there is something in the previous sentence that often gets lost in the obsession with the arcane details of format and who should do what for how much by when: Adobe Acrobat offers value for people who work with GIS and geospatial work-flows. Although I haven't seen the script, I'm sure Tom is going to go over this in some detail, so I won't try to grind through all of that here.

It seems that folks like to talk about the things things can't do or don't do to satisfaction. Acrobat, PDF, and GeoPDF are not exempt, nor from what I hear is ArcGIS. If there is something that you wish Acrobat would do, you can tell Adobe. If there is something that you wish Reader should just do for free, tell Adobe. If you want more features added to PDF exported from ArcGIS right out of the box, tell ESRI. If you want ArcGIS to interact more seamlessly with PDF files and Acrobat and LiveCycle work-flows right out of the box, tell ESRI. I can't recommend this more strongly. The more robust the platform, the better. Platform is the job of the platform providers.

If you want to get somthing that finds maps and items of plant using easy-to-use geospatial contexts into the hands of your field crews, talk to TerraGo [mailto]. If there is something you'd like to see in platform that you're not getting from the platform providers, say it here and stimulate some discussion. Maybe TerraGo will implement it in between the platform providers' release cycles, maybe not. Likely no one will if no one knows why it might be a good thing to have.

It would be interesting to hear how you think things should be. The more Adobe and ESRI hear how people want to solve problems, the more they will provide tools and interfaces that play together nicely. Sometimes TerraGo can help bridge the gap between what is being done and should be done by the platform providers.

What would be more interesting yet would be to hear your what data distribution and data collection problems and pain-points are, and who suffers. The ArcGIS jockey may feel no pain in a work-flow, but myriad linemen might be suffering at the other end. That's the person in whom I'm keenly interested.

If you don't want to work with TerraGo for whatever reason, you're always free to roll your own tools and solutions or talk with third-parties to help you do so. Like ArcGIS, Acrobat, and Reader, TerraGo's tools are proprietary. The Portable Document Format and the geospatial extensions thereto (GeoPDF!) are not [OGC] [Adobe/ISO]. I'll even try to hook you up as best I can. GeoPDF is an open platform, regardless of what anyone says to the contrary.

Although I strongly encourage use of this forum, if there is anything that you want to discuss, but don't want to do so publicly, email me directly [mailto], and I'd be glad to discuss it with you.


Blogger Mike said...

Is there a way to convert the GeoPDF to a GeoTiff for GIS users?

2:27 PM EDT

Blogger George Demmy said...

Hi Mike,

TerraGo does not provide tools to do this, but there are a couple of ways to do it. One would be to use Map2PDF for ArcGIS to view a GeoPDF in ArcMap and export to GeoTIFF from there. You get all of the benefits provided by ArcMap -- reprojection and what not. Alternatively, you export a GeoPDF as a plain TIFF file from Acrobat and georeference the TIFF with tools for doing that sort of thing. I'm sure there are other ways to do it as well.

2:39 PM EDT


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