June 23, 2008

The case for GeoPDFs

James created a lively topic again recently by asking his readers what they felt GeoPDF does and essentially asking why would anyone want to use it. As could be expected this question prompted quick responses from the GeoPDF faithful... I actually thought it was a slightly odd question to ask, particularly since the data can be viewed in a PDF viewer that millions of people already have on their PC and are comfortable using - actually, there's loads more you can do as well! I think the issue really is that power GIS users may not in fact have an immediate use for GeoPDF, however, they can easily distribute and share their work with others (non-GISers) via GeoPDF... that's the real story here!

I piped in with the following response... Well, it is a useful format for large agencies to use to distribute and share their information.. think of the USGS serving up free GeoPDF formats of all their topos… would you rather have an SDTS format data file? This now enables any recreational user to easily grab a topo and use it immediately… that’s just for starts… I’ve used it loads and rarely use full blown Adobe for anything. I think asking this question James is akin to asking why would anyone use DWF… my 2 cents. FYI, you can get more details on it in this piece I did up last year.

A number of other comments followed but then a response from Ray Caputo came in and pretty much sums it all up... nice job Ray! He noted the following and more... "Just about anyone reading this is a GIS Pro so remember GeoPDFs are maps for masses, maps for non-mappers, maps for people who do not have big honking GIS/Mapping software on their “tricked” out PCs. Do me a favor ask your mailman (mailperson) next time you see them and ask them if they know what a GEOTIFF is when they say no ask them if they know what a PDF is I can bet you they say yes." See this comment and more

Do you use GeoPDF? I have and I also love the fact that the USGS serves up all their topos as free, downloadable GeoPDFs. See See http://www.terragotech.com/solutions/map2pdf-reader.html

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