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I'm looking for a cheap software to generate Geospatial PDFs (GeoPDF, ISO 32000 Adobe extensions, or OGC recomendation).

Currently, as far as I know, there are very expensive propietary solutions. See for details.

Adobe has retired Geospatial PDF support from Adobe Acrobat, and they propose to use expensive solutions form Esri or TerraGo.

Do you know any cheaper way to generate Geospatial PDF files?


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closed as too broad by PolyGeo May 24 at 12:43

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Does it have to be PDF? There are free and open source tools for producing GeoTiffs, for instance. – MBraedley Nov 15 '10 at 12:12
I know that, but the problem is that it is required by my client. It will cost me more to generate the PDF than to do the job :( – Ansar Nov 15 '10 at 12:33
GDAL support reads but not yet writes, but could be a good place to start. – Matthew Snape May 5 '11 at 20:56
What desktop GIS are you using? – Paul May 9 '11 at 20:38
These answers aren't all correct which is why im bumping this. the Terrago GEOPDF function works a hundred times faster at exporting the Geopdf's and has more functionality, however it crashes quite often. – user10688 Oct 3 '12 at 14:51

Starting with GDAL 1.8.0 / 1.10.0 PDF documents can be created from other raster datasets und OGR datasources which are supported by GDAL. The driver supports both the OGC encoding and the Adobe ISO 32000 extension.

This link gives an overview of the Geospatial PDF support of GDAL. Furthermore Jukka Rahkonen created a Tutorial Making geospatial PDF maps from OSM with GDAL which is very helpful. This question and the answers relate to the Geospatial PDF export using QGIS and OpenJump.

To answer your question, using GDAL would be a free way to generate a Geospatial PDF.

If you only have vector data stored in a sqlite database, it is as easy as ogr2ogr -f PDF out.pdf in.sqlite. – AndreJ Nov 7 '14 at 14:36

Global Mapper can import and export GeoPDFs. A single license costs $350, which is quite a bit less than many of the alternatives.®_Files


If you are already using ArcMap 9.3 or above, the "Export to PDF" will create a GeoPDF.

In ArcMap v10, it is named File, "Export Map ..." Choose the .pdf format for geopdf. – klewis Nov 7 '11 at 22:37
It is far from free or cheap though. – If you do not know- just GIS Nov 7 '14 at 13:41

Terrago licensed the "GeoPDF".

Esri software and OSM alternatives produce a "GeoSpatial PDF"

Both software allows you to make a layered PDF file with coordinates.

Geospatial Location Tool (Lat, Long) and Measure Tool already included in Adobe Reader.

Terrago toolbar can capture field information and has a enhanced suite of interactive tools.


If you want to create quick and simple GeoPDF that you can turn shapefile layers on and off use ArcMap or OSM software (Read, Export).

If you want to actually use GeoPDFs (Read, Write, Import, Export) use Terrago.

More details on the definitions of GeoPDF and GeoSpatial PDF: In Adobe Reader the geospatial tool is under "Edit > Analyse" menu (but it doesn't do much other than report location). – matt wilkie Dec 2 '14 at 23:00

If you can locate a couple of coordinates on your map you can use

  • convert your PDF to a JPG and upload it to a hosting environment
  • on, zoom to the general area of your map
  • click Add New Layer -> Geospatial Image
  • enter the URL for your image and two reference coordinates
  • right-click on your image which should be overlaid on the map and choose Georeference -> Mark Point for each reference point
  • click save, your image should now display in it's proper location on the map
  • choose Print to PDF or JPG from the menu
  • select the area for you map image then click Generate PDF

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