Safe Software Webinar Recap – Sharing geo Data as PDF

Here’s a brief recap and some numbers of interest from a Safe Software hosted webinar on using PDF format geospatial data

On July 12 the crew from Safe Software (@safesoftware on Twitter) hosted a webinar all about sharing your Geo data as PDFs. Interesting to note that to kick off the event, Dale Lutz commented how PDF is likely the most widely misunderstood data format used on the web for mapping purposes. Many (including a tweet I received this morning) refer to PDF as the data format where data goes to die… Obviously there are many in the industry who think otherwise.  Lutz noted how important it is to keep Geospatial data readily available to users and that professionals aren’t doing so if their data is moving – PDF is one format that enables simple sharing of Geo data with the masses… even your mother can use the popular Adobe reader!

So, why PDF? The Safe guys noted that PDF is idea for sharing because it provides:

  • native support for spatial
  • 2 and 3D support (many folks don;t ever realize that PDF supports 3D)
  • widespread use of Adobe reader


PDF is just one of many data formats support by Safe Software and their FME tools and the webinar was designed to reinforce this and show off the many capabilities of working with PDF – note, Lutz also commented how the powerful solutions provided by Avenza Software also enable extending the use of your PDF data in the mobile environment (namely iOS) – see PDFMaps from Avenza.

To give you an idea of how people are working with PDF, the following poll results came from the webinar attendees:

What best describes how often you use FME?

39% – Regularly
24% – Occasionally
15% – Rarely
22% – I have not used FME

What type(s) of data do you want to make PDFs from?

58% – Raster
7% – BIM
96% – GIS
48% – CAD
16% – Other

What type of PDFs do you want to make?

82% – Adobe 2D Geospatial PDF
23% – TerraGo GeoPDF
49% – Adobe 3D PDF
28% – I didn’t know it was possible to make 3D PDFs

Now, what are you most likely to use PDF as an output for?

68% – Cartographic products
77% – Sharing data as 2D
51% – Sharing data as 3D
55% – Sharing data via the web
2% – None of the above

Note: a recording of this webinar is now available.

See Also: The @safesoftware FME Webinar Recap – Safe Software and Working With LiDAR Data

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