Tell me again what GeoPDF does…

Ever since the news that Adobe Acrobat 9 would support “mapping”, I’ve been getting emails from people asking what this does to GeoPDF. I’m sure the GeoPDF team has been fielding the same questions and has blogged about what they think are the important points of GeoPDF.

GeoPDF is a geospatial extension to the Adobe PDF file format, from TerraGo Technologies. It is used to present GIS and mapping data in a standard Adobe Systems PDF. This extension adds a coordinate transformation matrix and other metadata to allow transformation of PDF coordinates to a projected Cartesian coordinate system. GeoPDFs often include other advanced PDF features such as layers and object data which can add significant GIS functionality to the file, particularly when used with the TerraGo Technologies plugin to Adobe Reader.

Unfortunately, that description doesn’t do enough to convince me that GeoPDF is a viable format moving forward. I’ve barely run into GeoPDF over the years so believe me when I say I’m a GeoPDF novice and I could be missing the boat here. I’m sure there are very good reasons to use GeoPDF and I know some people who seem to believe in the format. GeoPDF of course requires an extra step to create and take advantage of the format, thus TerraGo really needs do a better job of getting out “the why” to use GeoPDF.

Otherwise it will just become a niche format.

Update: Commentator Kevin has some points as to why GeoPDF is powerful.

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