Five Questions about Global Map Systems’ LOGIQ PDF Solution

By Adena Schutzberg

logoGlobal Map Systems announced its solution for analyzing and distributing geospatial data in PDF format in early September. The founders, Andy Skillen, president and CEO, and Mark Cederholm, CTO, answered our questions about the solution and how it's used.

DM: What are GeoDataEmbed and GeoDataVu?

GMS:
GeoDataEmbed is an ESRI ArcMap extension that takes the map data that went into producing your ArcMap layout and embeds it directly into a PDF map file. GeoDataEmbed uses logical content to embed geometry, spatial references, database field definitions and more.

By maintaining the original, or projected, map geometry (including curve definitions), LOGIQ PDF is a solution for analyzing and distributing mapping information via Adobe Acrobat. GeoDataVu is a FREE plug-in to Adobe Acrobat that allows you to access all the native GIS functionality.

DM: What software is required for the solution to work? What operating systems are supported? Why is Adobe Reader not supported?

GMS:
Beyond ArcMap and Adobe Acrobat (any level), no other software is required. We only support the Windows OS.

Just to be clear, GeoDataVu is an Adobe Acrobat plug-in, not an Adobe Reader plug-in, though the program code is fully compatible with Reader. Adobe has denied our application to distribute GeoDataVu on Adobe Reader. We are disappointed with Adobe's anti-competitive decision to prevent us from distributing our technology to the general public - especially since we were led to believe for over a year that we could. If Adobe will grant us the Reader key, then Adobe Reader users will get all the same functionality we offer to Adobe Acrobat users. We are hopeful Adobe will do the right thing and treat us as a partner, not a competitor.

What we are hearing from our customers about the Adobe Reader issue is literally this: "It would behoove Adobe to allow GMS to deliver its functionality on Adobe Reader, since LOGIQ PDF opens up whole new markets and applications for cartographers, our troops in combat zones, field technicians, and the general public that wants to use this new functionality on Adobe Reader."

LOGIQ PDF, combined with Adobe Acrobat's mark-up and security features, offers a complete solution for querying and working with native GIS information in the field. Organizations that have not yet upgraded to Acrobat 9 can use our free plug-in with Acrobat 7.0 or 8.0 today.

DM: What are the specific differences between LOGIQ PDF and TerraGo's GeoPDF and ESRI's ArcPublisher/ArcReader non-PDF solution?

GMS:
Our product leverages a superior methodology for embedding native GIS into the PDF file format, allowing for advanced spatial analysis features than aren't delivered in Map2PDF or ArcReader.

A comparison of ArcReader, Map2PDF and GeoDataVu. (Click for larger image)

We should emphasize that ours is the only solution of the three to allow user access to the underlying map geometry, enabling both spatial analysis and data export. (Map2PDF will only export mark-ups to a shapefile.) In short, we offer a more advanced PDF map publishing product at a lower price.

DM: How does storing the actual tables and geometry in the PDF impact its size?

GMS:
Embedding feature data does increase the size of the PDF; however, geometry is stored in a compressed format. Also, in the LOGIQ PDF specification, data redundancy is reduced by linking layer features to feature classes, so that a map with redundant features across multiple layers, frames and pages will link to the same feature class record. Although there's no arbitrary limit on embedded features imposed by the software, obviously there are limits imposed by the computer itself.

Using LOGIQ PDF for querying. (Click for larger image)
DM: One included feature is the ability to output shapefiles from Adobe Acrobat. Please explain why you chose to include that in what might be thought of as a "viewer" type solution.

GMS:
LOGIQ PDF is not a "viewer" solution. This solution will eventually become a mini-GIS for Adobe Acrobat. The ability to output shapefiles from Adobe Acrobat allows for the round-trip exchange of GIS data.


Published Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Written by Adena Schutzberg



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