Are there any programs which can convert from Postscript, Encapsulated Postscript, or Adobe Illustrator file formats to a shapefile? What about adding geo-referencing?

I'm also open to recipes using a number programs if there isn't a single one to fit the bill.

3 Answers 3


I don't think I've ever seen such a beast. I use several tricks though. Scan2cad will convert a vector pdf to dxf. So the 3 step process I have used.

  1. convert the ai,ps,eps to pdf with adobe acrobat.
  2. convert pdf to dxf with scan2cad.
  3. covert dxf to shp with arcmap.

rather ugly but it works

  • 1
    Turns out there's a number of applications for #2, just search "convert pdf to dxf". Commented Nov 1, 2011 at 23:34
  • Warning though - Many of the really cheap ones aren't as cheap as they appear. they start as free trials and end up as virusware. Just be cautious and don't expect too much for free. This would be a great area for some solid OS programmers to get involved and raise the bar.
    – Brad Nesom
    Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 3:24

You can convert PS to TIff using GhostScipt or IrfanView. If you georeference the Tiff first, creating a Geotiff or a world file, you should also assigned a coordinate system (gdal_translate -a_srs). Then you can run gdal_polygonize.py to convert the geoTiff to a Shapefile. The shapefile coordinates should match the geotiff.


If you have Adobe Illustrator, there is an add-on (not free) called MaPublisher. It adds some GIS capabilities to Illustrator. In addition, it adds some export functionality including export to shapefile.

I'm surprised that FME doesn't have the ability to read to these formats, but it can write to them.

  • I see MapPublisher has .shp listed for read/write. The $1500+ price tag keeps me from using it (and note it depends on Adobe Illustrator also, ~$400), but for others that may be a worthwhile investment. Thanks for rounding out the answers. Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 18:40
  • Yeah, the price is a hindrance.
    – Fezter
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 22:25

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