I've had this problem with ESRI base maps before but not this bad. The problem is that when I use an ESRI basemap as my backdrop, it looks fine in my MXD but when I export the map to PDF, JPG, or whatever format, the quality of the basemap in the export file is a lot worse than what I see on-screen in ArcGIS. Here's the most recent, egregious example:

What I see in ArcMap: enter image description here

What it looks like in my exported PDF: enter image description here

I've tried several things to solve this problem, and the result you see above is the best I can do:

  • Turning up the export quality on the PDF to 600dpi or higher
  • Exporting to JPG, or to TIF with no compression at all
  • Clearing my cache on the basemap layers I'm using
  • Printing to the Adobe PDF print driver rather than using Export to PDF

Some people apparently have this problem due to a slow internet connection, but since I can see the tiles in my MXD and they look fine, I don't think that's my problem.

Is there something I'm missing?

  • 1
    In the Export Map options, there's a slider for Output Image Quality (Resample Ratio) - Is that slider set to Best? If I set that slider halfway and export a PDF, my image looks just like yours.
    – Mintx
    Apr 4 '13 at 22:38
  • Yep, I have it turned all the way up. I'll try varying it.
    – Dan C
    Apr 5 '13 at 2:15
  • Try this help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#/… in you Python window. There are JPG compression option, image comression option.
    – Tomek
    Apr 5 '13 at 8:34
  • Export to tiff then convert tiff to PDF using Acrobat Pro. (cannot be jpeg or a bitmap. Acrobat renders tiff really well resulting in the best quality and smallest file size.) Seems like a very static and a cumbersome procedure but it is the best way to produce a PDF from ArcMap. Only Adobe Acrobat rendered and Nitro 7 and greater (not 6) yield good results. No other 3rd party tiff to PDF converter works as well. Apr 5 '13 at 14:20
  • 1
    hey Mintx, turning the Output Image Quality to 1:2 (halfway between Normal and Best) actually worked better than anything else, if you want to submit that as an answer I'll accept it.
    – Dan C
    Apr 9 '13 at 15:49

I've been having a similar problem. Might not be 100% applicable to your problem, but I figure it's related enough for folks that stumble across this question..

According to one of the posters on an ESRI blog, "vector layers with a transparency are rendered as rasters in ArcMap". So turn the transparency off, export the map into Illustrator, and change it there.

Hope that helps someone.

Source: http://blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/2007/09/20/tips-for-exporting-to-adobe-illustrator-format-ai-so-cymk-colors-are-maintained/

  • More details on print and export quality settings and their rasterization effects at gis.stackexchange.com/a/218617/108. Not posted here because this Q is basemap layers, not regular layers. Nov 22 '16 at 23:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.