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Communicating Route Data with GeoPDF (2007) PDF Print E-mail

There are a number of technologies to choose from for the delivery of maps and spatial data. The 'best tool for the job' depends on the audience, the data, and the project goal.  There is no one right choice.  As technology progresses, even today's best choice  might soon be surpassed by newer options and toys.

Be sure to view the Project History

TerraGo Technologies GeoPDF

This is a widely adopted format for many purposes.  For example, most of the USGS topology maps have been converted to the format.  BLM's internal document management system also incorporated GeoPDF.  This biggest advantage of this format is that GeoPDF maps are opened for viewing by Adobe PDF Reader.  Most have this Adobe Reader on their computer. No special software is needed to view these maps.  To create routes and comments, a small but free GeoPDF toolbar is needed.  

While the route data is not of insignificant size itself, the reference layers were very large.  The inclusion of topology and other large background maps make downloading the maps formidable via slower Internet connections.  Primarily for this reason, Google mapping tools were chosen for the distribution of map data to the public.

The original GeoPDF project description and files remain posted here for your reference.

An interactive map to communicate route location proposals and facilitate & race permitting processes

The Race Route GeoPDF map allowed for the exchange of race data and comments directly via an interactive map containing not only documented, approved routes but reference data essential to race organizers and BLM staff alike. 


When only previous permitted route segments were to be considered for future race routes, an efficient method was need for race organizers identify previous route segments to create new route proposals, and for BLM staff to efficiently enter those routes into GIS for comparison with reference background data for analysis and approval.  

Chosen Tools & Their Benefits
Previous race route locations and accompanying attributes such as race data, organize and BLM file numbers were screen-digitized from BLM files into GIS.  Maps of previous race routes, as well as important reference layers such as land status and wilderness areas were created and then published as a GeoPDF for race organizers.

The Winnemucca Race Route GeoPDF is viewed with the standard Adobe Reader.  The free GeoPDF toolbar allows users to sketch new routes from previously approved route segments, and add comments directly onscreen.  Proposed locations and comments are exported to a lightweight file easily distributed by email. The comment file is imported to the recipient’s copy of the map to review marked proposals, reply to comments and add their own markup. Once a route is finalized, BLM can convert this file to an ESRI shapefile for GIS analysis, approval and incorporation into GIS.  Other functions include the direct use with GPS.  See the for a complete product description.

The GeoPDF map allowed for the efficient communication of spatial data and a facilitated the special recreation permit (SRP) process that balanced the needs of the riders with federal regulations.

Many thanks to Mary Beth Stultz, BLM & Lon Cornell, TerraGo Technologies to whom this project would not have been possible.


Results: GeoPDF Files

GeoPDF brochure - PDF (1.7 MB)

NE area map - PDF (22.44 MB)
SW area map - PDF (18.24 MB)

Install script for GeoPDF toolbar (.exe) (11 MB)

GeoPDF instructions for race organizers - PDF (10.58 MB)


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