Adobe Geospatial PDF (pdf)

Import and Export

The geospatial PDF is considered an Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (following the PDF 1.7 specification) that contains information that is required to georeference location data. It is an open specification developed and maintained by Adobe Systems. See detailed specifications in Section 8.3 at

AutoCAD Drawing (dwg) and Drawing Exchange (dxf)

Import and Export

These file types are most commonly created by Autodesk AutoCAD product, though other computer-aided design (CAD) programs such as Bentley MicroStation capable of creating them. Two formats are used by AutoCAD: DXF (drawing exchange format) files and ASCII representations of the binary DWG (drawing) files. Logically, both files are identical and MAPublisher treats both file types in the same manner. AutoCAD files consist of drawing settings and configurations, as well as a series of entities, or graphic elements, organized into layers. MAPublisher provides broad support for many AutoCAD entity types and options. Prior to import, set the colour mode of the Adobe Illustrator document to the same scheme used in the colour table of the CAD file (RGB or CMYK) to ensure colours are imported correctly. Note the hierarchy of layers in multi-feature imports is by feature type: text layers, then point, then line, then area layers. Annotation objects are converted to a point containing attribute information including the text value to be labeled and its angle. Certain symbols may import as "exploded" objects in MAPublisher.

Delimited XY Text Data (csv, tsv, txt)

Import and Export

MAPublisher also supports the import of Delimited Text Data held in a variety of tabular file formats, as long as the data contains coordinate values. File types supported are Text (txt), Tab Separated (tsv) and Comma Separated (csv) files. Import Settings dialog box: In order to import point data with MAPublisher the parameters must be set by clicking the Settings’ button. This operation is required to choose the columns of the selected attribute file that will be used to derive the X and Y coordinates of the data, and ensure correct georeferencing. These and further settings are discussed in the Delimited Text Data Settings section.

Digital Line Graph (opt, dlg)

Import only

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) DLG file structure is designed to accommodate categories of spatial data represented on a conventional line map. Node (point), line, and area data types are accepted. The attribute coding scheme is designed to accommodate basic cartographic data categories such as hypsography, hydrography, or political and cultural features, as well as additional thematic data categories.

Esri ArcInfo Generate (gen)

Import and Export

ArcInfo Generate files are created by Esri ArcInfo product, and have a simple ASCII from x-y to x-y format. Due to its simplicity you can also use a text editor such as Notepad to create text files and save them with a GEN extension, which can then be imported with MAPublisher.

Esri Interchange File (e00)

Import and Export

Esri Interchange File files are created by Esri ArcInfo product. A single E00 file describes a complete ArcInfo coverage. The file itself is actually an archive of several smaller files, or sub files, which will have fixed names and follow a predefined data format. MAPublisher will reproduce these sub files as distinct Adobe Illustrator layers on import. Therefore importing a single e00 import can result in the generation of point, area, line and text layers.

information Note the hierarchy of layers in multi-feature imports is by feature type: text layers, then point, then line, then area layers.

Esri Shapefile (shp)

Import and Export

Shapefiles are most commonly created by Esri ArcGIS or ArcView. Shapefiles store both geometry and attributes for features, and a single shapefile will consist of at least three physical files: the SHP portion contains the geometric data, the DBF contains attributes for the geometric data, and the SHX contains the index information. There is often a PRJ file, which stores coordinate system information and is automatically read by MAPublisher on import. If a shapefile folder does not contain a PRJ file, a coordinate system should be specified in MAPublisher. The important things to remember when importing shapefiles are that the SHP file must be the one that is selected through the MAPublisher import filter and that all its component files must be in the same folder. You may also find that a shapefile directory includes two extra files, a SBN and a SBX, which hold the spatial index for the geometric data. These two files will not exist unless the shapefile was created with an Esri product, and are not necessary for successful import with MAPublisher.

FME Feature Store (ffs)

Import only

FFS stands for FME Feature Store. This format is a memory dump of FME features; so it supports the complete FME data model and can hold anything that FME features carry. This makes the format attractive as a holding spot for data that should persist between FME runs.


MAPublisher-FME Auto is a plugin for MAPublisher. It is already installed with MAPublisher and requires activation through MAPublisher Licensing. See MAPublisher FME Auto and FME FFS Import for more information.

Geography Markup Language (gml, xml)

Import and Export

The Geography Markup Language (GML) was designed as a geographic interface language for the Geo-Web. It is currently in draft as an ISO standard (ISO 19136). The goal of the format is to provide users with a set of abstract base objects that can be built into working real world dataset. It uses an XML base to store geometry and feature information that can easily be transported across the Internet.


The GML Simple Feature Profile was created by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) as a restricted but useful subset of the GML specification. It provides a reduced geometry and metadata profile that can be shared across many GIS tasks. This simple feature model can be used as a base to generate local application profiles for a specific work area. Since the GML models base abstract classes, these application profiles (schemas) are required for accessing and processing any GML datasets. GML data has a GML extension, and may be accompanied by an attributes schema file XSD. Alternatively, some GML files may have their XSD file referenced to a URL path. If a schema or XSD cannot be found, MAPublisher will attempt to resolve the correct attribute types based on the attribute values. Users have two options to store their GML and XSD files: they can be both located in a same directory or the XSD files can be kept in the MAPublisher GML Schema directory found here:


Windows: C:\Program Files\Avenza\MAPublisher 10.7\Data Source Files\GMLSchema

Mac: /Applications/Avenza/MAPublisher 10.7/MAPublisher Plug-In/Data Source Files/GMLSchema


The second option is the most practical if all the GML files are using a same schema (only one instance of the XSD file needs to be saved). Installed with MAPublisher are three default XSD files:

xml.xsd, generic GML attribute schema.

nen3610.xsd and top10nl.xsd, models standardized in the Netherlands (maintained by the Dutch topographic office Kadaster).


MAPublisher supports the import of simple features (points, lines, polygons, donuts, and aggregates) in GML 2.0 and later versions. MAPublisher supports export to GML 3.1.1.

GeoPackage (gpkg)

Export only

A GeoPackage is a platform-independent SQLite database file that contains GeoPackage data and metadata tables, with specified definitions, integrity assertions, format limitations and content constraints. While a GeoPackage can contain vector feature data, MAPublisher currently only supports tile matrix pyramid tile images.

GeoJSON (geojson, json)

Import and Export

GeoJSON is a format for encoding a variety of geographic data structures. A GeoJSON object may represent a geometry, a feature, or a collection of features. GeoJSON supports the following geometry types: Point, LineString, Polygon, MultiPoint, MultiLineString, MultiPolygon, and GeometryCollection. Features in GeoJSON contain a geometry object and additional properties, and a feature collection represents a list of features. A complete GeoJSON data structure is always an object (in JSON terms). In GeoJSON, an object consists of a collection of name/value pairs -- also called members. For each member, the name is always a string. Member values are either a string, number, object, array or one of the literals: true, false, and null. An array consists of elements where each element is a value as described above.

Google Earth (kml, kmz)

Import and Export

Keyhole Markup Language (KML), is an XML-based language for managing the display of three-dimensional geospatial data in the programs Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Mobile and WorldWind. The KML file specifies a set of features for display. Each feature always has a longitude and a latitude and can have other data, such as tilt, heading, and altitude. KML shares some of the same structural grammar as GML. KML files are very often distributed as KMZ files, which are zipped KML files with a KMZ extension. MAPublisher imports and exports both file type based on the KML version 2.2 specifications. KML track and linestring import is supported. KML image import to attributes is supported. When importing and exporting data that includes images, the KMZ format should be used.

information Picklist attributes exported from the Avenza Maps app as KML are currently not supported in MAPublisher. Importing just a schema (without data) from Avenza Maps into MAPublisher is not supported.

GPS Exchange Format (gpx)

Import and Export

GPS Exchange Format (GPX for short) is a light-weight XML-based data format designed for the interchange of GPS data. MAPublisher supports GPX schema version 1.1.


Export only

Export HTML5 maps created by MAP Web Author. Most modern web browsers are compatible with HTML5, including mobile web browsers. Vectors are rendered as vectors, including symbols and other line work. Map tiles are created for the base layer.

Image (png, jpeg, jpg, jpe, tif, tiff, gif, jp2, jpf, jpx, j2k, j2c, jpc, psd, pdd, bmp)

Import and Export

Referenced raster files of the above mentioned formats can be imported and placed directly into a MAPublisher MAP View using Import and Multiple Data Import. These images have the option to be linked or embedded into Adobe Illustrator upon import. Images cannot be reprojected by MAPublisher in Adobe Illustrator. Use Geographic Imager or another third-party software to properly reproject geospatial images.

International Hydrographic Office S-57 (000, 030)

Import only

S-57 is referring to the IHO (International Hydrographic Office) Special Publication number 57 related to the IHO transfer standard for Digital Hydrographic Data . Maintained by the IHO, S-57 format is intended for the exchange of digital hydrographic data between national hydrographic offices and for its distribution to manufacturers, mariners and other data users. It is used for the supply of ENC cells (Electronic Navigational Charts) to ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System). The objects spatial geometry can be of Point, Line or Area geometry, while object descriptions are categorized in object classes, organized in specific attributes schemas. To make full use of this format, refer to the online object catalog available on


MAPublisher imports non-encrypted S-57 data into MAP layers named per S-57 object acronym, of type Area, Line or Points. All S-57 Attributes are converted into MAP Attributes.


An Adobe Illustrator template is supplied to automatically style the map after import. The template contains a series of MAPublisher stylesheets linking S-57 imported features to nautical symbols and graphic styles (libraries provided by Avenza). This representation is non-exhaustive and meant to assist users with limited knowledge of the S-57 format to interpret the data contents more easily. The S-57 template and the symbols and graphic styles libraries can be found in the MAPublisher Helpful Styles & Symbols folder (see Appendix 4).

MapInfo Interchange Format (mif)

Import and Export

Files of this type are most commonly created by the MapInfo product, though other products, including MAPublisher, are also capable of generating files in this format. These files exist in pairs where each file has the same name but ends in either a MIF or MID file extension. The MIF portion contains the vector geometric data, and the MID contains the associated attributes. Both files are required in order to successfully import a file of this format to Adobe Illustrator using MAPublisher. The important things to remember when importing MapInfo files are that the MIF file must be the one that is selected through the MAPublisher import filter and that both files must be in the same folder. MAPublisher will automatically locate and deal with the MID file.

MapInfo Table (tab)

Import and Export

The TAB format is a simple, non-topological format for storing the geometric location and attribute information of geographic features, and is an integral part of the MapInfo product. The TAB format defines the geometry and attributes of geographically-referenced features in several files with specific file extensions that are stored in the same folder on disk:

.tab: main file, table structure in ASCII format.

.map: the file that stores the feature geometry.

.id: the file that stores the index of the feature geometry.

.dat: the dBASE file that stores the attribute information of features.

.ind: table field indexes (if necessary)

The geometry of each feature is stored as a shape that comprises a set of vector coordinates. The attributes for each feature are stored as a record in a dBASE table (dat) associated with the shapefile (map). There is one record in the dBASE table for each feature in the map file. Raster TAB files cannot be imported in MAPublisher.


To ensure successful import, select the TAB component in the MAPublisher importers.

Microsoft Excel (xls)

Import and Export

Import geographic point data from an Excel spreadsheet (version 2007 and earlier only;  XLSX is not supported) that contains latitude and longitude entries for each row.  In order to import point data, click the Settings button in the Import dialog box to choose which columns will be used to as the X and Y coordinates of the data, and ensure correct georeferencing.

MicroStation Design (dgn)

Import and Export

MicroStation Design files (dgn) are the native files created by Bentley Systems Inc. (and formerly Intergraph) MicroStation product. Design Files consist of a header, followed by a series of elements. The header contains global information including the transformation equation from design units to user coordinates, as well as the dimension of the elements in the file. Each element contains standard display information, such as its colour, level, class, and style, as well as a number of attributes specific to its element type. During the import process, MAPublisher will produce one layer for each Level that exists in the MicroStation Design File. Annotation objects are converted to a point containing attribute information including the text value to be labeled and its angle.


MAPublisher supports the import of MicroStation J (version 7 and 8) files, however attached raster file will not be imported (ignored). Prior to import, the colour mode of the Adobe Illustrator document should be the same scheme used in the colour table of the original file to ensure that the colours are interpreted correctly.


The hierarchy of layers in multi-feature imports is by feature type in the following order: text layers, then point layers, then line layers, then area layers. Raster files attached to DGN files are ignored during the import process.

Files are exported from MAPublisher as MicroStation J files. Upon export, users may select a DGN seed file. All information  in the seed file gets carried over to the output file, such as level (layer) definitions, units, colors, line styles definitions, etc. If an exported layer name matches a level name in the seed file, the data of that layer is appended to the existing level, if not, a new level is created.

Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) (catd.ddf)

Import only

Digital cartographic products of the USGS are available in the Spatial Data Transfer Standard format, and are generally distributed over the Internet as a means of promoting the standard. For SDTS import, select the catd file (xxxxcatd.ddf), which is the index file that contains a description of the other files in the SDTS transfer. Individual DDF files cannot be imported. Generally all SDTS downloads will contain the CATD file.

TIGER/Line (rt1, r*1, bw1)

Import only

TIGER is an abbreviation of Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Reference System, and was developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. TIGER/Line files are a digital database of geographic features, such as roads, railroads, rivers, lakes, political boundaries, census statistical boundaries, etc., that cover the entire United States. The database contains information about these features such as their location in latitude and longitude, the name, the type of feature, address ranges for most streets, the geographic relationship to other features, and other related information. TIGER/Line files are the public product created from the Census Bureau TIGER database of geographic formation. TIGER was developed in order to support the mapping and related geographic activities required by the census and sample survey programs. More information on the TIGER/Line file format and data product can be found on the US Census web page at:


MAPublisher considers the RT1 or BW1 file as the TIGER dataset. Even though each county will consist of a series of files with a common base name, there may be a number of different extensions. Remember to select the RT1 or BW1 file when importing TIGER data.

Basic File Geodatabase (gdb)

Import only

A basic file geodatabase is a native Esri single-user spatial database. It is a collection of various types of GIS datasets held in a file system folder. This is the recommended native data format for ArcGIS. Importing this format requires ArcGIS software and a valid license — see Spatial Databases for more information.

Basic Personal Geodatabase (mdb)

Import only

A basic personal geodatabase is a native Esri single-user spatial database. This is the original data format for ArcGIS geodatabases stored and managed in Microsoft Access data files. Importing this format requires ArcGIS software and a valid license — see Spatial Databases for more information.

PostGIS Spatial Database

Import only

PostGIS is an extension to the PostgreSQL object-relational database system which allows GIS objects to be stored in the database. PostGIS includes support for GiST-based R-Tree spatial indexes, and functions for analysis and processing of GIS objects — see Spatial Databases for more information.

ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Web Service

Import only

Created by Esri, ArcGIS Online is an online, collaborative web GIS that allows you to use, create, and share maps, scenes, apps, layers, analytics, and data. MAPublisher can import Map Feature Layers, Map Image Layers, Map Tile Images, web services. See ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Service for more information.

Web Feature Service

Import only

Web Feature Service is an interface standard designed by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) for GIS vector data transactions across the Web. The MAPublisher WFS import connects to servers that use versions 1.0.0, 1.1.0, and 2.0.0 of the OGC standard. WFS servers provide GML files, which are read using the MAPublisher GML importer. The GML importer supports the GML simple features 2.0+ profile.


As the WFS importer is read-only, WFS-T is not supported. See Importing WFS for more information on WFS parameters.

Web Map Service

Import only

Web Map Service is an interface standard designed by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) for GIS raster data transactions through http protocol. The MAPublisher WMS import connects to servers that use version 1.1.1 of the OGC standard. WMS data formats include PNG, JPG, TIF and GeoTIFF. See Importing Map Data for information on WMS parameters.

Other Supported Formats

MAPublisher also supports Adobe Illustrator (ai) files created by Cartographica, a third-party GIS software.Cartographica users who wish to use files in MAPublisher must check the Include data in export option during export.


MAPublisher reads Adobe Illustrator files exported by Cartographica and extracts the geospatial information to convert it into layers and MAP Views—including projection, map scale and page position. However, there may be limitations when working with these files and it is recommended that they be saved as the latest version of Adobe Illustrator files compatible with your system (this is required before exporting to geospatial PDF).

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Last updated: 12/2/2020