Use Import either before or after an Adobe Illustrator document is created. If no document is open, Import will open the New Document dialog box.

MAPublisher will interpret the artboard dimensions during the import process and calculate a map scale for the document accordingly. If the document size is changed in the Adobe Illustrator document settings, the scale will have to be recalculated using the MAP View Editor.

Additional import options can be specified in the MAPublisher Preferences dialog box Import Map Data category, such as attribute order, layer naming convention or display of extents in the import dialogs.

Using Import

Use Import to add data to the document. Click the Import button on the MAPublisher toolbar or from the Adobe Illustrator menu File > Import Map Data > Import.


The Import dialog box has two modes: Simple and Advanced. In Simple mode, a file format drop-down list, a format import settings button, and a Filename path box and Browse button are available. In Advanced mode, several additional controls are available. The coordinate system section displays which coordinate system the data has (if applicable) and provides an option to edit it. In both Simple and Advanced modes, a status displays information such as data being loaded successfully or if further settings are required.



Adding Files

To specify the format to be imported, click the Format drop-down list and choose <Auto detect format> or another specific format. The <Auto detect format> option allows all supported GIS files to be displayed in the file browser. Choosing a specific format is recommended to ease navigation.


Once a format has been selected, click the Browse button to select the file(s) to be imported and click Open. Alternatively type in the full path of the file(s) in the Filename box. Multiple files of the same format and the same coordinate system can be imported at the same time (see Multiple Data Import to import files of different formats and coordinate systems).


A status displays whether or not the data was loaded successfully. In some cases, it may be necessary to click the status to reload the data again. Click the Log button to view more information about the chosen data file.

Format Import Settings

Certain file formats have additional configuration parameters which can be accessed by clicking the Settings button (listed in the Format Import Settings section above). These settings affect how MAPublisher and Adobe Illustrator handle the data during import. The Settings button is enabled when additional format import settings are available.


Settings are mandatory only when importing Delimited XY Text Data or Microsoft Excel formats.

Format Information

Click the format information button to discover more details about supported extensions, feature types, coordinate systems, encoding and more.


Delimited XY Text Data Settings

Delimited text files can be imported as point data provided they contain coordinate values. MAPublisher supports the following delimiters between data values: comma, return, end-of-line and tab. When importing delimited text data, specify the character encoding and format: Projected Units, Decimal Degrees, Delimited Degrees Minutes Seconds, Degrees.Minutes, Degrees.MinutesSeconds, Packed DMS with decimals and Packed DMS. In the Coordinate Columns section, specify the fields in the source file that contain the appropriate coordinate values. The drop-down list labels display Longitude and Latitude or X and Y, depending on the selected format. If the first line of the text file contains column headings, enable the Use first line as a header check box (MAPublisher generally detects it automatically). If the file does not appear to contain column headers, MAPublisher will assign default header names (Column1 and Column2) to the chosen fields on import. Assign data schema types to attribute columns in the Select Schema frame.

Encoding (Advanced Mode)

Most formats have a character encoding setting. Extended and international character sets are supported as attributes on import. To assign a character codec suitable for your selected dataset, choose the appropriate value from the Encoding drop-down list (the first column displays the name and the second column displays the code or alternate name, if available).

Filtering (Advanced Mode)

There are several filtering options available to reduce or simplify the amount of data being imported: Layer filter, Spatial filter, and Simplification. On the Import Dialog box (Advanced Mode), the link provides a status of whether or not the default or custom filtering options are being used. To change filtering settings, click the Filtering link to open the Filtering Options dialog box.



Layer Filter

Use the Layer filter to remove attribute columns prior to datasets being imported or to remove layers from multi-layer import formats. Check the Layer filter check box and click the button to open the Layer Filter dialog box. To include an attribute, ensure the Include? column check box is checked. To exclude an attribute, uncheck the check box in the Include? column. Use the Check All or Uncheck All buttons to quickly check or uncheck the attributes in the Include? column. Optionally, create an expression to further filter for specific values (e.g. filtering the country attribute to a specific country). Double-click in the Expression column to enter an expression or click the Edit button to open the Expression Builder dialog box.


Layer filters can be saved in the Filtering Options dialog box. Click the Save button and enter a name. Picking a saved layer filter from the drop-down loads saved attributes designated for inclusion/exclusion. Choose [Default] to return to the original filter settings.

information Saving multiple layer filters at once is not supported.

Spatial Filter

Use the Spatial filter to reduce the amount of map features that are imported by specifying an extent of an area of interest and importing only features within it. This can help reduce the amount of time spent when importing only a portion of large datasets. Check the Spatial filter check box and click the button to open the Spatial Filter dialog box. Use the Relationship drop-down to change how the extent interacts with the features being filtered. The relationship of the extent boundary can be Intersects, Contains, and Crops.


Intersects: imports whole features which are within or intersect area of interest extents.

Contains: only imports whole features which fall completely within area of interest extents.

Crop: imports whole features within area of interest extents and partial features that intersect area of interest extent.


Spatial filters can be saved in the Filtering Options dialog box. Click the Save button and enter a name. Picking a saved spatial filter from the drop-down loads the saved extent. Choose [Default] to return to the original filter settings.


Select From Online Map

Specify a spatial filter using a web map. Click and drag the red corner markers to define a spatial extent to filter. The extent of a dataset is shown in blue. It is possible to have multiple dataset extents shown on a map. Pan the map using click and drag. Zoom in using + button, mouse scroll wheel or left mouse button double-click. Zoom out using - button, mouse scroll wheel or right mouse button double-click. Toggle between satellite or map display. Enter search criteria into the Search bar to locate features such as cities or countries.



Select Bounds

Two options are available to enter bounds: Bounding box and Position.


For the Bounding box location type, enter corner values to define the extent of the bounding box. The coordinate system displayed is used unless another is specified.



To filter geometry by position, select the Position location type. Use this method to define a filter based on dimensions from a specific base point. In the Point drop-down, choose a position for the base point. Specify the Latitude and Longitude values (or X and Y if using a projected coordinate system) of the point of which the filter bounds will be based on. The diagram below explains base point positioning.

filtergeo-select-position-center filtergeo-position-diagram

Under Dimensions, specify Width and Height values of which the filter bounds will be drawn to. If needed, click the Constrain dimensions check box to keep both dimension values the same (creates square bounds). If desired, click the Units drop-down to choose a new measurement unit.


Select Area by MAP View

Apply a spatial filter using bounds defined by a MAP View in the current document. Click the Select Area by MAP View button and choose a MAP View from the drop-down.


Use Vector File Extents

Use this feature to filter an area based on the geographic extents of a vector file. Click the Use Vector File Extents button to select a vector dataset. Choose from a variety of vector formats including shapefiles, KML/KMZ, GPX, and DWG. Note that this does not select an area to the boundary defined by the vector, only a rectangular shape defined by its geographic extents.

information Esri formats such as geodatabases (GDB, MDB, MXD) and text formats (TXT, CSV, XLS) are not supported.


Use Coordinate System Envelope

Apply a spatial filter using the envelope of a coordinate system to define a geographic area. Click the Use Coordinate System Envelope button to choose a coordinate system.  If only a portion of the envelope falls within the extents, it will still be filtered. If a coordinate system envelope is outside of the image’s extents, it will fail to filter and a warning will appear.


Simplification on import functions similarly to Simplify Art. In this case, it allows for the simplification or generalization of vector line and area data during data import. Simplification can be applied to all art together or applied separately to lines or areas. Two options are available when simplifying data: Split into compound paths or Simplify. The Split into compound paths option allows you to split areas larger than the vertex limit into lines (which places it on a MAP Line layer). When choosing the Simplify option, use either the Douglas-Peucker or Visvalingam-Whyatt method for removing nodes and vertices. The Fault Tolerance setting allows you to control how much tolerance is allowed to accommodate for a small amount of positional error between shared edges in the topology.


When the Reduce all geometry evenly setting is enabled, simplification will be applied uniformly for all features of the same type. The Prevent geometry from being dropped setting ensures that no art is dropped entirely even if it is simplified. The Maintain Topology setting ensures that the simplification process maintains topology of features across all layers.

Create Dynamic Data Link

Enable the Automatically check for updates when document is opened check box to create a link to the data source that allows you to update layers in Adobe Illustrator when the data source that was originally imported has been modified, changed, or moved. Data links are checked automatically every time a document is opened and will display the status of affected layers in the MAP Views panel. See the Manage Data Links dialog box on how to manage dynamic links to data sources.

Source Coordinate System (Advanced Mode)

When the Filename text box has been populated with a valid path, MAPublisher will load the file(s) to determine if a valid coordinate system can be found and will display it in the Source Coordinate System section. When [No Coordinate System Specified] is shown, no coordinate system was detected. If necessary, click the hyperlink to specify one.


In the Specify Source Coordinate System dialog box, coordinate systems are separated into categories (geodetic or projected) to ease the process of choosing a coordinate system: under the Coordinate System category *All* will list all the coordinate systems in the database. For an overview of Geodetic and Projected systems and Datums see appendix A2. To view the parameters of a certain coordinate system, click the Info button.


To change the coordinate system of a chosen dataset to match the coordinate system of an existing MAP View in the document, enable the Same as check box and choose a MAP View. See Importing Data (next page) for available options when the coordinate system of imported data matches that of an existing MAP View.

Conflicting Coordinate Systems

Conflicts may arise when trying to import multiple datasets with different coordinate systems. MAPublisher will detect and list the coordinate system of each dataset. Only datasets with the same coordinate system can be imported together. Click the check box for each dataset that should be kept for import (and uncheck others) and click the Update button.


Importing Data

When format and dataset file(s) are chosen (with settings specified), click OK to start the import process. If the coordinate system of the imported data matches the coordinate system of an existing MAP View, the Matching MAP View dialog box will automatically open with the following available options:


Add to: choose the MAP View from the drop-down list in which to add the imported data. To control how the data is scaled, choose from Use existing scale, Fit to artboard, or Crop to artboard.

Fit to page based on new MAP View: the imported data will be treated separately from the matching data and a new MAP View will be created (based on the same coordinate system). The imported data may overlap with existing data. After import, use the MAP View Editor to scale and move the data on the artboard.


Data is imported as an individual Adobe Illustrator layer (or layers if multiple dataset files were chosen) with an assigned feature type (point, line, area, or image) that matches the source data type. It is also now considered a MAP Layer. All MAP Layers are contained in a MAP View (existing or new) that designate how the data is displayed on the artboard (based on coordinate system, map scale, and artboard extents).


MAP Layers are named based on the file name or on the layer name in the source file. By default, the assigned feature type extension is used as a suffix (e.g. name_area) and when a layer name already exists, a suffix with a number (e.g.  name_area 1) will be used — this may be disabled in MAPublisher Preferences > Import MAP Data property sheet.

information When attempting to import a 16 bits/pixel raster or 16 bits/pixel FME raster file, MAPublisher will convert it to 8 bits/pixel.

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Last updated: 4/4/2019