Geospatial Portable Document Format

Tuesday February 28, 2012

What is it?

The Geospatial Portable Document Format (GeoPDF), a commercial off-the-shelf format adopted by the U.S. Army Geospatial Center (AGC), allows Geospatial Information and Services (GI&S) professionals to share geospatial maps and data as PDF documents via a free plug-in "Toolbar" for Adobe products. Data from large, bandwidth-heavy applications are transformed into much smaller, 2- and 3D GeoPDF files without sacrificing resolution and keeping geospatial functionality.

What has the Army done?

The AGC funded a means of converting complex National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA) and United States Geological Survey (USGS) geospatial information and map data into GeoPDFs. Users may now exploit and understand data without advanced GIS training by using the free "Toolbar", which is on the Army Golden Master - the standard software load for Army. The AGC helped to convert more than 33,000 NGA standard paper maps and 60,000 USGS GeoTIFF files into GeoPDFs. BuckEye Map Books, cultural maps, Urban Tactical Planners and other AGC data products are available as GeoPDFs.

Toolbar also provides the flexibility to see multiple coordinate displays, capture coordinates, GPS tracking as well as the ability to import and export geospatial data such as Google's Earth KML and Esri's Shapefile files. A GeoPDF may contain raster and/or vector data and provide a scalable display of a digital map or image with crisp, clear delineation of its symbology.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The AGC and NGA funded the development of the 3D GeoPDFs format. The center also funded "Memento", which allows users to view multiple GeoPDFs seamlessly. The program continues to work with industry to ensure that handheld Windows Mobile GeoPDF software, upcoming Android and current iOS apps meet Army requirements. The AGC is also updating the GeoPDF State Coverages of U.S. States, District of Columbia and U.S. Territories (Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) from USGS data.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Army's missions rely heavily on complex mapping data, however many Soldiers do not have the training or resources to transform it into actionable information. The GeoPDF program enables Soldiers to exploit this data without requiring advanced GIS training, allowing them to concentrate on mission planning and execution.


GeoPDF Fact Sheet

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