I have few hazard maps (with color coding) of a particular state in a pdf report. I am a newbie in GIS and need to use these different maps from the pdf for combined interpretation. Can the colors representing different range of values in each map be imported in ArcGIS?

I have converted one of the maps into an image:

enter image description here

  • 1
    There is no way to directly import them. At best you can turn them into images, georeference them, and either digitize them and/or recreate them with data from another source. The color/range of values thing somewhat depends on the kind of data it's representing (ie categorical vs classified values). We'd probably need to see the maps you're referring to and have an idea of what you want to do with them in terms of analysis to offer much more help.
    – Chris W
    Mar 28, 2015 at 18:29
  • Hi Chris, I have converted one of them into an image. Link is attached to the question detail
    – kraft087
    Mar 28, 2015 at 18:52
  • You can import and georeference an image in ArcMap, but it will be a raster, not polygons
    – Erica
    Mar 28, 2015 at 19:33
  • 1
    That's a simple elevation map. I wouldn't bother trying to digitize it; it's faster/easier/more accurate just to recreate it. You just need to find a DEM (digital elevation model) of the area, typically a raster, classify it with the same ranges and symbolize them with similar colors, clip it, possibly convert to polygons (kind of depends on the analysis you want to do with it). That one is easy. Something else, like flood risk (you mention 'hazard maps') would be more difficult since an unknown analysis might go into making it. Source of/link to the report? Maybe they have data to download?
    – Chris W
    Mar 28, 2015 at 22:49
  • It is just a pdf report with a lot of maps with no link to data. Here is one such hazard zonation map drive.google.com/file/d/0ByvdW-OAXdidZ25Zc0FWSXRiREU/…
    – kraft087
    Mar 29, 2015 at 8:38

2 Answers 2


If you have Adobe Illustrator and the MAPublisher plugin, you can open the PDF in Illustrator and then export it as shapefiles for use in ArcMap

  • This assumes the maps within the report are still vector format. Also, most pdfs don't store any location information so you'd basically be scaling and georeferencing (spatial adjustment) the vector lines.
    – Chris W
    Mar 30, 2015 at 19:45

Yes, in layout view. A PDF can be inserted as a graphic layout element in the layout view. This can be done as follows as shown in this article:


A PDF cannot be inserted in data view without first converting the PDF to a raster/image format. This requires a separate graphics program to convert the PDF to an acceptable image format, such as TIFF, JPEG, BMP, etc.

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