September 26, 2005
New Mapping Software Company Bridges the Gap between GIS and Non-GIS Professionals- More on Hurricane Katrina Response
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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“As Adobe expanded the distiller in the late 90's to bring over all the rich intelligence inside Office, Word, PowerPoint, and Project, we've extended that over to the GIS side. So when I create my PDF file, it's going to be layered, and will include all the attribute info associated with those layers, and aliases if they're used. The GIS pro running ArcMap can publish this data to meet the needs of a non-GIS technician.”


In a demonstration conducted by executive vice president, Phil Lee, a large dataset was used to create a GeoPDF which, when made into a GeoPDF, was only 3.2 megabytes. The same file shown inside Adobe Acrobat and ArcMap was identical.

“With MAP2PDF, users have the ability of turning layers on and off, zooming in to show fidelity, which is the same as you would find in the original application,” explained Lee. “When I click on the MAP2PDF toolbar set and georegister, it brings up layers and has multiple map frames and asks what layers I want to modify. It has projections and/or datums that are used around the world. We also can bring over the projection and datum that we used inside the GIS environment.”

“As you move the cursor over the GeoPDF file, MAP2PDF's dual coordinate displays let users view both lat/long and UTM coordinates simultaneously. If the user wants to change the projection and datum of one readout, they simply click on the coordinate display and select one of the many other projections and datums we support, such as MGRS or Geographic and the GeoPDF system is changed, virtually on the fly. By clicking on the GeoDisplay icon, I can have three coordinate systems displayed at one time.”

This can be useful when multiple groups such as local authorities, FEMA or the Army Corps of Engineers are operating with different coordinate systems. They can all look at the same map with their own coordinate projection system displayed.

“Also under Geodisplay I can set a waypoint that is scale dependent; therefore the user can zoom out to the map's full extent or zoom back in to sub meter resolution to view the exact waypoint location. MAP2PDF is capable of utilizing web services. For instance, I can pass the GeoPDF coordinates of an area zoom to Google Maps and then utilize that application to view satellite imagery or detailed map views of the same area of interest.”

“Using MAP2PDF for Acrobat, users can add Geonotes that are time and date stamped with the user's name and export notes to .shp files. Then, they can export .shp files back to the master geospatial database to update the coverage with real time information.

“Users have the ability to measure distance, azimuth and compass bearing on the magnetic declination in multiple segments by moving the mouse cursor and selecting a point. If I right click, I can work my way backward.

“The GeoPDF also embeds the feature attribute data joins associated with the .MXD file. These can be viewed by either querying the GeoPDF with Adobe's Search Tool or selecting the Adobe's Object Data Tool and moving the cursor over a point, polyline or polygon area, the cursor will change to a cross hair and then by clicking, the user can view the associated feature data.”


Because you can do so much in Adobe Acrobat such as export changes to .shp files so that they can be reviewed and round tripped back into a master geodatabase, the need for non-GIS professionals to own GIS applications or know how to use them is eliminated and they can simply focus on integrating GIS data into their daily workflow.

TerraGo's strategic move to embrace both GIS professionals and non-GIS users and bridge that technology gap is a good one. Besides focusing on the needs of their existing customers, the new company expects to attract more investments for expansion of sales, marketing and product development.

MAP2PDF versions for various software packages are available for
download and price starts at US$395.


More on Hurricane Katrina Response

Through a cooperative research program NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are exploring the use of innovative airborne laser mapping systems to quantify coastal change along the entire coastline affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Elevation data from these research instruments acquired before and after the hurricane are compared to determine the patterns and magnitudes of coastal change caused by erosion and destruction of buildings and infrastructure. Three Lidar surveys were collected using two different systems. The systems were NASA's Experimental Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL) and Army Corps of Engineers' Compact Hydrographic Airborne Rapid Total Survey (CHARTS).

In response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, URISA's GISCorps was once again asked to provide GIS volunteers to the affected areas. This time the request was for nine additional volunteers to function as map production specialists. A few of the volunteers are now stationed at the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) in Jackson, Mississippi, and several were deployed to five other county EOC offices (in Stone, Pearl River, Jackson, Hancock, and Harrison counties) on the Mississippi coast line. This group's average years of experience is about ten years and they come from Colorado, Arkansas (2), Texas (2), Alabama, Washington DC, Illinois, and Kentucky.

Two NASA satellites, planned for launch no earlier than Oct. 26, will give us a unique view of Earth's atmosphere. CloudSat and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) are undergoing final preparations for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

CloudSat and CALIPSO will provide a new, 3-D perspective on Earth's clouds and airborne particles called aerosols. The satellites will answer questions about how clouds and aerosols form, evolve and affect water supply, climate, weather and air quality.

Other Announcements

PCI Geomatics is pleased to donate its flagship geospatial software suite, Geomatics, to the scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center. Geomatica will be used to assist in the production of a high-resolution National Biomass and Carbon Dataset for the year 2000 (NBCD2000), the first-ever inventory of its kind. Through a combination of 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), topographic survey, land-use, land-cover, and extensive forest inventory data sets collected by the U.S. Forest Service, this dataset will serve as an invaluable baseline for carbon stock assessment and flux modeling in the United States. Geomatica will be instrumental in facilitating the successful
development of this project.

Safe Software Inc., provider of spatial data translation and data transformation solutions, has announced the introduction of its new community website,

This new online community, or wiki, will enable Safe Software staff and FME users to share information around issues relating to FME and spatial data interoperability. In particular, it provides a connection point for users to share detailed information on each of the over 150 formats FME supports.

Intermap Technologies announced that it has provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) with terrain elevation and imagery data of the Gulf Coast region for the Katrina rebuilding effort. The data will be made available to state, local and federal officials at no charge through 2005. Collected in late 2004 and early 2005 the data is part of Intermap's NEXTMap USA program which is the remapping of the entire continental United States and Hawaii. NEXTMap USA will result in the most accurate map of America ever created.

Queues at toll booths could be a thing of the past following a feasibility study into the use of satellite technology to monitor road usage in Dublin. The research, which will be undertaken by Mapflow with its co-sponsor, the Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) is being funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and aims to establish whether satellite technology (GPS) can be used to correctly calculate road usage in the Dublin city.

This study is to be carried out under the ARMAS (Active Road Management Assisted by Satellite) project to develop a 'virtual' road toll system. ARMAS is a system that uses in-vehicle black boxes and global satellite positioning (GPS) data to help determine the exact route a driver has traveled, so that a fair and precise toll can be calculated after each journey. The system calculates the cars position in real time and sends data about location and journey length to a control centre allowing drivers to be charged for the section of roadway they traveled on.

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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  • October 09, 2008
    Reviewed by 'Khubaib'
    'New Mapping Software Company Bridges the Gap between GIS and Non-GIS Professionals- More on Hurricane Katrina Response

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