Geospatial PDF?!? How to Create a Geospatially Aware PDF


Yes, it is true!  You can make a PDF map spatially aware (aka georeferenced).  Geospatial PDF’s allow users to obtain latitude and longitude coordinates, turn data layers on and off, view a selected features attributes, and to query and highlight data.  This tutorial will explain how you create a spatially aware PDF map from ESRI ArcMap.  Just follow these easy steps!

1) Obtain the latest version of Adobe Reader (for free) at: NOTE: This tutorial uses Adobe Reader 10 so if you are using a later or newer version, some of the menus, etc. may be different.

2) Once you have created your map in ArcMap, select Export Map… from the File menu. Choose PDF from the ‘Save as type:” dialog box. If it is not already expanded, expand the Options menu at the bottom of the Export Map dialog box. Select the Advanced tab.  In the Layers and Attributes drop-down menu select ‘Export PDF Layers and Feature Attributes’. Also check the box in front of ‘Export Map Georeference Information’. 


3) Open your exported map in Adobe Reader.  Add the Model Tree to the Navigation Pane running down the left side of the Reader by right-clicking the panel.


4) Start exploring! 




Click on the Layers icon in the Navigation Panel.



You can turn layers/labels on or off by clicking the Eye icon to the left of a group of or individual layers.



Click on the Model Tree icon in the Navigation Panel.


Select a feature from the list to see its attributes (NOTE: These are the same attributes that appear in the attribute tables in ArcMap. If there is a field that is turned off in your ArcMap attribute table, it will also not appear in the PDF). The feature will also be highlighted in the map.


You can also select a feature with your mouse on the map to view its attributes in the Model tree. To do so, you must have the Object Data tool on. To turn this tool on: from the Edit menu, select Analysis, and then Object Data Tool.


Finally, using the Find tool is also a simple way to query for data.  Simply type the name of the feature into the Find tool or Advanced Search search box.  If there is more than one feature that meets the criteria, it will be listed on the screen.  To see the attributes of a specific feature, select it from the search results list.



To turn this tool on: from the Edit menu, select Analysis, and then Geospatial Location Tool. The location of the cursor while be shown in a text box at the bottom of the screen.



· Each data frame will have its own folder in the tree view of the PDF that contains all the layers and the data frame graphics (neatline, background) associated with it.

· Text, picture, or north arrow elements added to a layout become part of a layer called Other. It contains all the graphics and marginalia that are not part of a data frame.

· Each group layer will be represented as a folder in the tree view, and the contents of the group layer will be presented within the group layer.

· Layers that cause rasterization, such as transparent layers, or layers that use a picture fill symbology consolidate all the layers below them into a single layer with the name Image.

· If a layer contains picture marker or picture fill symbology, use the option Vectorize picture markers/fills, found on the Format tab of the Options panel. This prevents rasterization of layers below picture markers and fills.

· Raster layers, such as orthophotos, consolidate all layers below them into a single Image layer. Place raster layers lower in the ArcMap table of contents to avoid this problem.

· Graphic or text elements added to the data frame's default graphics layer from data view become a layer called <Default>. These are displayed above the layers in the data frame. If multiple annotation groups exist (check this on the Drawing > Active Annotation Target menu command on the Draw toolbar) and their contents are in the data view, each individual annotation group becomes a separate layer above the <Default> layer. This is a good way to add focus areas or graphics that emphasize or mask certain features in the data view.

· Backgrounds or drop shadows added to the data frame may become separate graphic elements and may be rendered multiple times as graphics. For example, if a data frame has a colored background, and the layout has a different colored background, the data frame's background may be rendered once to the data frame's Graphics or ArcGIS Layer and again to the layout's Graphics layer or ArcGIS Layer.

· Dynamic labels (not using annotation) in each data frame are rendered separately as part of a layer called Labels.

· Geodatabase annotation is displayed as a separate layer in the PDF. Map annotation is consolidated into the layer for the annotation group in which it belongs.

· When labels are converted to annotation, they are automatically placed in their own named annotation group and render separately from the<Default> group.

· Data frames and other layout elements are rendered in draw order when exported to PDF. Therefore, the topmost layout element in the map is the first element in the resultant PDF table of contents. Use the Bring Forward and Send Backward commands from the Draw toolbar to change the draw order of layout elements.


Creating a Roadkill Observation Density (aka Hotspot) Map


On the IFWIS Roadkill Observation webpage (, click Export Roadkill Data near the lower-right corner of the page.  This leads you to a records filter that allows you to query by species, date observed, highway, and milepost.  Once you have applied the filter(s), the data can be downloaded as an Excel .csv file, which can then be saved as an .xlsx file.  In ArcCatalog, create a point shapefile or geodatabase feature class (right-click the .xlsx file and click ‘Create Feature Class’). In ArcMap, use the Spatial Analyst toolbox --- Density toolset --- Kernal Density or Point Density tools to create roadkill density rasters. Depending on what the output raster is being used for (as a visualization tool, for strict data analysis, etc.) one method may be preferred over the other (read more about the differences).  You can customize the output raster cell size and search radius. ArcMap provides a Spatial Statistics toolbox for Cluster and Outlier Analysis and Hot Spot Analysis that identifies statistically significant hot spots, cold spots, and spatial outliers using Anselin’s Local Moran’s I or Getis-Ord Gi* statistics.


BONUS:  Idaho Department of Transportation Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) data is available on the INSIDE Idaho website.  The Roadkill and AADT data can be “combined” (think raster math) to create a categorical map that simultaneously reflects roadkill and traffic density. 



ArcMap 10 Add-ins - Accessing the new LayerFetcher Tools

Add-ins are the new way to deploy and access ArcMap 10 custom applications and tools. There is a new and improved version of the LayerFetcher tools developed as an ArcMap 10 Add-in.   All you have to do to access the new LayerFetcher application is reference the network folder where it is located and turn on the toolbar.  To add the LayerFetcher , do the following:

1) Click Customize on the top menu bar in ArcMap 10 then click Add-In Manager.
2) Click click the Options tab then click the Add Folder button.
3) Navigate to Q:\IFWIS\AddIns and click OK. Then close Add-In Manager.
4) Click Customize then Tool Bars and check on the IDFG LayerFetcher Tools.

That’s it! No installation programs, no copying files.  And you only have to do the first three steps once.  Any other tools we place in this folder will automatically be available to you.  Just check on the tool bar. Any updates we do to existing Add-ins will be available without you doing anything.

If you find other Add-Ins that you would like to use, you can create your own AddIns folder in you folder on the Q:\ drive.  Just save the Add-in to that folder, and then follow the same steps listed above to reference it in the Add-ins Manager.

You can dock the LayerFetcher toolbar and LayerFetcher window anywhere on the main ArcMap window.

ArcMap Bookmarks


Do you repeatedly return to a map extent in an ArcMap project and find it difficult to locate the exact same spot? Do you create a map and struggle to get the same map extent set up at a later date?  Do you have multiple maps to create, but want to use only one ArcMap project? It sounds like bookmarks are for you! 

Bookmarks are created and managed from the menubar under 'Bookmarks'.  Create a new bookmark by first zooming into the preferred map extent.  Then from the menubar, click on BookMarks-Create and name the new bookmark.  Returning to that same map extent later is simple.  Go back to the menubar, 'Bookmarks' and click on the bookmark name.  The graphic below shows the Bookmarks menubar options and two bookmarks, 'Map 1' and 'Map2'.

 Managing Bookmarks is simple too.  From the menubar, click on 'Bookmarks-Manage'.  The Bookmarks Manager will appear.  Within the manager you can create, delete, and order your bookmarks (and more).  You can make bookmarks available for use in other ArcMap projects by saving them out to a bookmark file (click save and specify a file name and location).  Later you can load saved bookmark files by clicking 'load'.  

Create maps using bookmarks

If you would like to use one ArcMap project to create multiple maps, bookmarks are a great way to save the various map extents.

1) First create bookmarks for each map

2) Make sure you have toggled to the layout view (the map).

3) Export the map to an image file.  On the Menubar, click File-Export Map.  Browse to, name, and choose an appropriate file format. 

4) Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 for each bookmark.


Font problems with your ArcMap exports?

When you need to export a PDF, EMF, EPS, AI or other vectorized graphic for a report or other format, you will inevitably run into the fonts problem. Especially when collaborating.

Here's a fix for you to consider.  

When exporting your map, you click "File --> Export Map"  The following dialog appears (this one for PDF export). The options available change depending on the export type, but the options to look for typically are always available:

This screen shot is from ArcMap 10, but the properties are similar in previous versions. Look for the following checkboxes, and mark them: 

  • Embed all document fonts
    • this will keep the funny fonts you might have loaded on your machine within the document
  • Convert Marker Symbols to Polygons 
    • this makes your graphic more portable between machines with different configurations


That's it. Your exports shouldn't give you and your collaborators a font headache if you use these steps.