This is an issue I've been trying to solve for a while and am told it's not possible.

I have made a PDF form with an input box for coordinates. As the form is for use on mobile devices, I would rather have a button to "grab" the coordinates directly from the device.

Within the PDF there is an area to insert Javascript but the script that works for HTML or some other apps does not seem to work. Importing a map from ArcMap with geospatial data isn't the answer.

  • 2
    Any reason you can't make a web form to do this rather than a PDF? Oct 21, 2014 at 20:30
  • a good point, i'd love to but these forms are used in remote rain forests and other crazy places with no internet. Also Pdf gives me some unique advantages with managing the data.
    – Luke315
    Oct 22, 2014 at 1:32
  • It does not really help with the issue, but the JavaScript you see in the PDF form is Acrobat JavaScript, not web browser JavaScript.
    – Max Wyss
    Oct 22, 2014 at 7:57
  • Can you require specific PDF viewers? Note that, particularly on mobile devices, the capabilities of the available PDF viewers vary quite a bit, and none of them comes even close to the capabilities of the reference viewers on computers.
    – Max Wyss
    Oct 22, 2014 at 7:59

1 Answer 1


If I were you, I'd throw away the PDF form. I doubt you'll get it working with GPS coordinates getting in there, unless you copy paste them in.

What you might like to look into is the following two products, both of which support offline data collection with nice forms:

  • Open Data Kit, a free Android only tool with a web-based backend and Google Fusion Tables integration
  • Fulcrum, a reasonably priced Android/IOS tool with a web-based backend and a nice API.

Both of these work really well. ODK needs a little bit of technical know-how to get it started, but it's pretty straight-forward. Fulcrum is really easy but costs money.

  • Thanks for your comments, I think you are right that pdf is a lost cause and ODK looks ideal for android, will look at Falcrum too. Thanks again
    – Luke315
    Oct 22, 2014 at 13:39

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