Maps are particularly difficult for if you use paper, for they are static and purely what you see is what you get.Also paper doesn't move very well via email or via the web.
TerraGo Technologies has a solution using PDF files that allows users of ARCMap to distribute maps using the power of their product and Adobe's free reader to send maps that contain attributes, databases and some of the standard features of GIS in turning off and on layers, setting scale based display and even annotating the end user PDF file. This same TerraGO solution for other mapping products is in the pipeline.
What is even cooler is that the map to PDF process is bi-directional. So you can send out a map as a PDF, get it back as a PDF and then bring it back into the GIS.This allows you to capture field data without having anything but a plug-in on the end user's machine.Training for field or remote users is only on the functionality of Adobe Reader and not on a GIS.Many of the TerraGo product features work without the plug-in .
This is what you see when you open the PDF - an Adobe alert that the file contains attributes.
You will also see the GeoRegister, GeoDisplay, GeoZoom, GeoTrack, GeoMeasure and GeoHelp toolbar added to Adobe Reader.
TerraGo provides more examples of how the tools are manifest within Adobe.screen shots.
TerraGo's Cobb County Georgia example demonstrates all of the functionality available without the plug-in and will let you see the product in action for yourself..Note that if you have a slow connection, you may want to turn of the street and street label layers before you pan and zoom.This file is about 3 MB in size.
If you have the plug-in, it gives you the ability to see up to 3 different coordinate systems at the same time and it provides an additional toolbar for data capture.
Another very neat thing is the ability for the end user to use his connected GPS receiver with the TerraGo created PDF file and see the points captured on the map.This data can be captured in the PDF and sent back to the source GIS as well.
In chemistry there has been the eternal quest for the universal solvent, in this case TerraGo has found the equivalent in universal end user software.Adobe reports about 700,000,000 downloads of their free viewer and it is a standard software load on most corporate and government laptops.By using what exists in great numbers, TerraGo can send a dynamic map to almost anyone and can get it back with current updates.But even making this more dynamic, if the end use is connected to a database that is driving the TerraGo created map on the network, that link can update the map PDF file as the data changes in the source database.
Try the sample PDF file and see how it works for you.Additional information can be found at the TerraGo website.