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I have a PDF file, with a Map as a vector graphic. I want to get this into GIS. (I use ESRI's ArcGIS, but any FOSS solution is also fine).

I know that it is not possible to directly get the PDF into ArcGIS, so I was just testing various scenarios, and found that we can convert the vector graphic in the PDF to SVG using Inkscape. I was successful in doing that.

I was hoping that there might be some way of going from SVG into a vector format that ArcGIS understands. Is this possible?

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Believe Inkscape will go even further and allow the imported PDF to be saved as a DXF (Desktop Cutting Plotter (R13)), suitable for import to ArcGIS--but fidelity of resulting layers may remain an issue. –  V Stuart Foote Jun 26 '11 at 18:26
    
An alternative to Inkscape--use the GIMP. If you care to make use of the PDF as a raster/grid representation (and perhaps later digitize any needed vector data) use the GIMP to directly read the PDF and save as TIFF. Import TIFF to ArcGIS, georeference (rectify if GeoTIFF is needed). –  V Stuart Foote Jun 26 '11 at 18:43
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2 Answers 2

You can try these options:

  1. Use pstoedit to export PDF to DXF and later import it to GIS software. pstoedit translates PostScript and PDF graphics into other vector formats. SVG is also supported by means of a plugin.
  2. Use a tool like CorelDraw which can read SVG format and export the file to DXF.
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I use several methods.
First pdf can be vector or image format. That depends on the software that created it and options used.
If it is image format I use irfanview with the full plugins which support pdf reading. Save it to tif and then in raster design (autodesk) I geo-reference it and save out as geo-tiff.
Then it will work as georeferenced in any of my software.

If it is vector then I have a couple of options now.
the cheapest is scan2cad v8 pro it will allow export to dxf from many image formats and pdf.

The more expensive option is terrago publisher.
It allows direct load of a pdf into arcmap.
The pdf can then be geo-referenced and "hand digitized" into gis data.

It the realm of opensource there is always grass and gdal which have some functionality in converting images into vector. you need a "usable" (normally binary) image for completion of this method.

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