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Top Reasons to Create a Free PDF Maps Account

#1 – It’s free!

PDF Maps accounts are free for personal use.

#2 – It’s easy to do

Creating a PDF Maps account is quick and easy. It can be done in the app and takes less time than reading this blog post.

#3 – Have access to maps anytime

If you lose, break, change or upgrade your device you don’t lose the maps you have purchased. They are linked to your account, so you can always re-download them at any time. It doesn’t matter if you change brands or operating systems, your maps are always available.

#4 – Share maps on multiple devices

You can download any map you have purchased unlimited times onto five different devices.

See this Avenza blog article for advice on this process.

#5 – Better access to help

Having a PDF Maps account enables Avenza to provide you a higher level of support.

 

If you are interested in using PDF Maps in a commercial, governmental or educational environment please see PDF Maps licensing and contact Avenza Sales or see

Also, learn more about about PDF Maps on its dedicated site www.pdf-maps.com.

New Image Data Type Available in MAPublisher

Do you have pictures and images you want to insert as an attribute in MAPublisher?

MAPublisher 9.4 introduces a new data type called Image. To work with the Image data type, you’ll have to take a look in the MAP Attributes panel. The Image data type can be used in the same way as the other data types in the MAP Attributes panel. Use the Edit Schema dialog box to edit or create the Image data type as an attribute.

For this example, we have a point layer called “Point of Interests”. Let’s create a new attribute column with Image data type called “Picture”.

Edit Schema with a new data type "Image Data Type

We added a fourth attribute to this point layer (existing attributes were PlaceName, Note, and PhoneNumber).

Let’s insert an image into the attribute cell. Click the “No image…” hyperlink in the attribute cell. It will open the Edit Picture dialog box. Click Let's insert an image file to an attribute cell to browse for an image to add to the attribute cell. Once the image is added, a preview of the image will be visible in the Edit Picture dialog box.

Inserting a photo as an attribute value

There are other controls in this dialog box.

Edit Image Attribute Window: button for Select an image Select and insert an image to the attribute cell. Use this button to replace the existing image to something else. You can insert jpg or png file.
Edit Image Attribute Window: button for Export image attribute as jpg or png Export image as jpg or png
Edit Image Attribute Window: button for removing image from the attribute cell Remove image from the attribute cell
Edit Image Attribute Window: button for navigation control (zoom to fit) Navigation control – zoom to fit
Edit Image Attribute Window: button for navigation control (zoom to actual size) Navigation control – zoom to actual size
Edit Image Attribute Window: button for navigation control (zoom in) Navigation control – zoom in
Edit Image Attribute Window: button for navigation control (zoom out) Navigation control – zoom out
Edit Image Attribute Window: Textbox to change the name of the imageChange the name of the image

 

After clicking OK, the image will be listed in the attribute cell. The cell shows the file name of the image (it will be the file name of the image by default but you can change the name of the image to anything else). Also, hovering the mouse pointer over the image name in the attribute cell will show a quick preview of it.

An image file is inserted to an attribute cell as image data

The Image attribute type also supports images exported from PDF Maps (in KML format) and images exported to Google (in KML format).

 

The iTunes of Maps: A New Business Model for Map Publishers

Originally published in Directions Magazine. http://www.directionsmag.com/articles/the-itunes-of-maps-a-new-business-model-for-map-publishers/280993

By Joe Francica

Summary:
In September 2010, Avenza Systems, Inc. released the first version of PDF Maps for the Apple App Store where both free and for-pay versions of maps in the Geospatial PDF format could be downloaded for use with the iOS operating system. Currently, over 100,000 maps are now available for download. Are users likely to download maps normally found in a print version to their iPhone or iPad? Editor in Chief Joe Francica sat down with Avenza president, Ted Florence for more details on the “the iTunes of maps” business model – selling maps the way iTunes sells music.

Directions Magazine (DM): The transition from publishing printed paper maps to the digital world is a difficult one for many publishers who have been in the map business for many years. Why has the transition been so slow when we’ve had online mapping and the platform, the Internet, for many years?

Ted Florence (TF): Most publishers who have heretofore catered to the printed map audience have neither the means, the know-how nor financial capability to jump into the digital world, and hence a real catalyst was required. That is the essence of where Avenza’s PDF Maps app and digital map store solution come in. While the migration from analog product to digital product has unfolded over the last few years and the better part of the last decade for book and music publishers, map publishers (save for those with means of their own) have only been able to enviously sit back and watch as their printed map businesses have started to struggle. And recognizing that catalysts like Apple, with iTunes and iBooks, and Amazon, with Kindle, have made themselves available to music and book publishers, one could argue that were it not for those catalysts, music and books may not have made the migration either. Furthermore, the cost of transitioning can be very expensive and even prohibitive for many publishers, not to mention that undertaking such major initiatives as creating their own app or mapping device could likely distract most publishers from their main business of producing and delivering maps. So again, despite the fact that the paper or analog to digital transition has proven to be a viable model in the book and music industries and the demand for digital maps has increased with the advent of powerful smartphones and tablets, the map industry has lacked a similar manner of both transitioning and ultimately transacting in maps and has thus been faced with the simple dilemma of how to make that transition, at least until now.

DM: You’ve come up with a new model to support the transition by taking the archive of printed maps and exposing a new delivery method for the publishers. Can you explain the business model in some detail?

TF: The business model for the Avenza PDF Maps app and map store solution is very simple. Think of it basically as iTunes or Kindle but for maps.

The PDF Maps app and solution is an all-encompassing solution for the use, distribution and sale of digital versions of paper maps to mobile devices. Similar to iTunes for music, the Avenza PDF Maps solution includes both an app for users to discover, purchase and use maps directly from and to their devices, as well as a back-end store to facilitate the transaction and delivery of the maps. The app on the smartphone or tablet device contains all the functionality for using maps both on- and offline, including locating oneself, measuring, plotting points, importing and exporting points, and much more, all of which goes well beyond traditional paper map usage. Users can carry around dozens of maps on their device just like they are now accustomed to carrying around a library of music or books. On the other side of the equation, and again like iTunes and Kindle, the app has a built-in map store which connects users to a vast and growing library (currently over 100,000 titles) of maps from around the world and representing multiple genres and publishers. Users may browse and search through this catalog and quickly and easily find, purchase and download the map or maps of their choice, may of which are offered free of charge. Maps are then immediately and automatically delivered wirelessly to the device.

Any geo-referenced map may be uploaded to the system and made available for purchase in a fully electronic manner similar to the way in which music, videos, books and apps are currently sold and delivered.

Additionally, users may add their own maps directly into the Avenza PDF Maps app via a variety of methods. This is particularly useful for private and public-sector organizations that have a need to use their own private maps out in the field while doing work on tablets or smartphones such as iPads and iPhones. So the insertion of maps into the app is not exclusively dependent upon a purchase and download from the in-app map store.

DM: If your new model is essentially “the iTunes of maps” why wouldn’t one of the larger publishers like National Geographic or Rand McNally try to use their brand to do this themselves?

TF: This is certainly an option for all publishers, and some will do that, however, as many publishers are finding, the development and ongoing maintenance of such a dedicated app is very time-consuming and costly. That is why one of the business models in the Avenza PDF Maps solution is a customized or OEM offering of the Avenza PDF Maps app whereby publishers can avail themselves of the functionality and transaction model of the Avenza PDF Maps solution without the time and overhead required to do it all themselves. Moreover, though, as we look at the trail blazed in the music and book industries by iTunes and Kindle, we find that all the various publishers have gravitated to a one-size-fits-all solution in which all music publishers provide their offerings through a single place, iTunes, and all book publishers do so though a single place like Kindle or iBooks. What we do not see are dedicated apps for each publisher. We do not see individual music players and digital stores for Sony, Arista, Def Jam or Geffen nor do we see individual readers and digital stores for Penguin, Random House or Harlequin. Furthermore, on the user side, the fragmentation of the offerings is really not ideal or desirable as users do not want to have dozens of music and book apps on their devices in order to find, maintain and use their content. Simply put, why reinvent the wheel? We have seen how successful the digital music and book transition has become under this model, so why should we try to be any different in transitioning the map industry?

DM: Give us a better understanding of the app delivery method. How do you envision the store to function and what “departments” will you have in the store to make it easy to find content?

TF: Just like with iTunes, iBooks and Kindle, users can access a digital map store directly from within the Avenza PDF Maps app on their device. From within the map store they can browse various map categories or genres such as tourist, transit, recreation, nautical, aeronautical and special purpose, or enter any search term that might apply to a map they are looking for such as a geographic place or term or a particular map use case such as cycling or camping. Additionally, the map store interface allows for finding maps near to one’s current location, browsing recent additions to the map store and browsing the most popular maps at the time. Searches by publisher or brand may also be performed should users have a particular brand or publisher loyalty.

Once they have located a particular map of interest they can simply touch the listing to reveal more information about a map such as publisher, date of publication, file size and full description and even see a full preview of the map in order to feel comfortable that they have found a map they want to purchase. Then, as is done with music in iTunes, they simply touch the “buy” button and complete the transaction.

On iOS devices (iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches) the payment comes seamlessly via the user’s iTunes account and then the map is delivered to the device. Essentially the system functions with the same elegance and simplicity that users are accustomed to when purchasing music and books.

DM: What does the store look like in three years? How do you envision the model developing over time?

TF: Currently there are over 100,000 maps in the map store from over 200 government and commercial publishers and more are being added all the time, every day. We expect this to continue to grow and eventually become the de facto place to purchase maps, much like iTunes has become the place to get music. It would not surprise me at all if we had over one million maps and many millions of users within two to three years. Just ask yourself this: If you need a map of a particular place for a particular use on your device, do you know where to get it? Well, we intend to answer that question for everybody, with the answer being the Avenza PDF Maps store.

There is no other model like this catering to the map industry and as more and more users discover it and more and more publishers realize it to be a viable and costless solution for them to enter the digital map business we see it indeed becoming the iTunes of maps.

We are currently working on an Android version of the solution followed by Windows Mobile and possibly Blackberry, as well as a Web-based interface and store for users who might prefer to do their map shopping on a computer screen rather than on the mobile devices themselves. This is something that music and book purchasers are already able to do, so why not maps as well? As these platforms are unveiled, continued growth is anticipated as new audiences get added. There is no doubt that there is a demand for this type of user and publisher solution so essentially the sky is the limit.

Using QR Codes to Deliver Maps Electronically

Updated: August 6, 2015 – New URL syntax for QR codes

Delivering mobile maps just became even easier for Avenza Maps vendors. This is a brief overview of how vendors can easily create QR codes (Quick Response Codes) to help promote, sell, and deliver their maps electronically.

A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that can be easily scanned using any modern mobile device. When scanned, the mobile device automatically launches a web browser to direct the user to a website or other action. In our case, the map product page (free or purchase) in the Avenza Map Store.

These QR codes can be strategically placed on printed maps, signage, websites, advertising and anywhere else your maps are promoted.

This is an example of such a QR code:

When scanned on a device that has Avenza Maps installed, this code will automatically launch the Avenza Map Store listing for Avenza’s Amsterdam map. From there, one can browse details about the map and immediately purchase it. In this case, the QR code contains a special URL to which only the Avenza Maps app will respond.

 

Create a QR Code to launch an Avenza Map Store product listing

Previously, two types of URL syntaxes—one each for Android and iOS—were used to create QR codes for map downloads. This is no longer the case. With the most recent update to the Avenza Map Store, only one URL syntax will be needed to create QR codes compatible for both Android and iOS.

The new URL syntax now shares the same link from the Avenza Maps site and will look like this: http://avenzamaps.com/maps/{mapsku} (e.g. http://avenzamaps.com/maps/62190). Adding a title to the URL is optional: http://avenzamaps.com/maps/{mapsku}/{title}. If a title is added, any spaces in the title should be replaced with dashes. For example, a map listing that has a SKU number of 61290 and a title of Amsterdam Netherlands will yield the URL http://avenzamaps.com/maps/62190/amsterdam-netherlands. To retrieve the URL of one of your maps, go to your Avenza Map Store vendor page, view one of your map listings and copy its URL.

Once you’ve retrieved the URL of one of your maps, simply go to one of the QR code generators recommended below:

https://qrcode.littleidiot.be
http://www.visualead.com/qurify2
http://createqrcode.appspot.com
http://qrcode.kaywa.com

Some sites provide an option to download the QR code in different formats. We recommend saving the QR code as a high resolution image or SVG.

 

Examples of QR codes to deliver maps from the Avenza Map Store

As described earlier, QR codes can be used with Avenza Maps to drive a map purchase, but they can also be used to effect the download of any map within the Avenza Map Store.

QR codes with the Avenza Map Store can be a very effective way to deliver a free map, such as those found in transit shelters, tourist offices, car rental counters, parks, and trail heads. In such cases, for example, a QR code can be placed on a transit map in a bus shelter or on a signpost at a trail head, and anyone equipped with the Avenza Maps app who may be looking at that map can scan the code and immediately get the map delivered to their device. Here is an example of such a sign Avenza used recently at an event in San Diego, CA.

Imagine seeing such a sign on a hotel concierge desk, city tourist office or in an airport and how easy it would be to quickly obtain a map for that city.

Here is an example of how the City of Stavanger, Norway has employed a QR code on their city maps placed in popular and high foot-traffic areas.


Photo and map courtesy of Stavanger Guide Maps Norway.
Notice the QR code in the lower right corner directing viewers to the Avenza Maps app.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area has also implemented QR codes by adding them to posters placed in Visitor Centres and other strategic areas to allow visitors to get their hands on the park map before hitting the trails.

qrcode

What else can you do with QR codes and maps?

  • QR codes can be strategically placed on printed maps, signage, websites, advertising and anywhere else your maps are promoted.
  • They can be placed on a paper map product to offer a digital copy of the printed map to someone who buys the paper one.
  • They can be used in magazine and newspaper articles to offer a map for sale for a destination mentioned in the article. If a map is used in an article a QR code can be used to offer that map.
  • QR codes can be placed on websites to enable the purchase of a map that is shown and offered for sale on that website.
  • They can be used on maps and map signage, such as those in Stavanger or on a hiking trail head map sign, to offer the same map that someone may be looking at on the sign.
  • They can be used on signs on hotel concierge desks, travel agencies, airports and train stations and any other place where travels congregate.
  • The ideas one can come up with are endless and we encourage everyone reading this to explore and exploit the use of Avenza Maps QR codes in their sales and distribution tactics.

Sell Your Maps Digitally to Mobile Devices

As we have all seen over the last decade, the distribution and consumption of music, videos and books has moved to a digital model and so, the question then becomes, why not maps? Similarly to the aforementioned media types, maps are also very conducive to both the distribution and use in a digital and mobile way. As we see organizations like Borders, Blockbuster and Kodak succumb to this digital revolution, we map-makers must adapt or suffer a similar fate.

Many of you may be struggling with the issue of selling your maps digitally, tackling the question of the “mobilization” of your content and wondering how to attack the new markets.

But what if there were a generic iTunes/iBooks/Kindle type environment where a map publisher, like many of you reading this, could offer their maps for sale just like musicians and book publishers currently do with their songs and books? There is and it’s called the Avenza Map Store, accessible through the PDF Maps app.

Right now, the Avenza Map Store has more than 100,000 maps from publishers all over the world and we are looking for more as we strive to become the “iTunes of maps”. Map sales in January have already more than doubled December in terms of both units and dollars and December was higher than previous months already.

Signing up to become a map store vendor is free. We encourage and invite everyone to do so.

So here is the gist of the system and the thinking behind it.

 

What is PDF Maps?

The award winning PDF Maps app is an all-encompassing solution for the use, distribution, and sale of digital versions of paper maps to mobile devices. It includes both an app for users to use, discover and purchase maps directly using their devices as well as an in-app store to facilitate the transaction and delivery of the maps.

Think of it like iTunes, iBooks or Kindle, but for maps.

The app loads georeferenced maps and has functionality for locating (via GPS), measuring, plotting points, importing and exporting points and much more, this goes well beyond traditional paper map usage.

 

Why PDF Maps? What are the advantages?

The PDF Maps app and the connected map store responds to the demand of both map users and map producers for a 21st century digital map consumption and delivery solution. In an era where a vast amount of content is shifting from analog to digital delivery and use, the map industry demands a similar solution for its users and producers.

For the user it solves four major problems:

  1. How can I use a map I really like on my mobile device instead of the often less-desirable ones Google and other streaming services offer?
  2. Google and other streaming services fail to perform when there is no Internet connection such as when hiking or traveling in remote unconnected areas.
  3. Services that rely on a bandwidth connection are very undesirable when outside your home network area due to the high cost of data roaming charges.
  4. Google and other streaming services, as well as many existing mobile apps, do not always offer a useful map for a particular purpose such as hiking, boating, and visiting national parks which leaves much desire for a “better” map.

 

For publishers it responds to the following specific needs:

  1. With paper map sales declining, how can I get my content into the digital age for the mobile device market?
  2. Devices like Garmins, TomToms and in-car navigation systems are usually closed to outside map content and thus map producers cannot easily, if at all, make their maps available to users of these systems.
  3. In an effort to get into the digital marketplace it has to be easy, efficient, and inexpensive to repurpose existing content and map libraries. In most cases existing map libraries can be easily ported to the PDF Maps system and existing production processes do not need to be drastically modified, if at all, in order to produce new content for PDF Maps and the Avenza Map Store
  4. With digital map use there is no printing, production quantity guesswork, inventory to manage, distribution and returns to account for.
  5. Updates to the maps are controlled by the vendor and can be instantly made available to the marketplace, while at the same time, older redundant content can be instantly removed and discontinued.
  6. Immediate, easy and effortless entry into the digital map marketplace.

 

Available now for iOS. For more info visit PDF Maps site and the Avenza Map Store site.

Hope to see your content in the map store soon.

PDF Maps on Daily Planet [VIDEO]

[Video archived] Ted Florence provides a demonstration of the PDF Maps app for iPad. He compares a basic looking Google map of Algonquin Park to a very detailed map of the park which is available on the Avenza Map Store. Combined with using the built-in GPS, it provides a great offline navigation solution.

In addition to showing off the map, Mr. Florence loads a TTC map of Toronto and imports waypoints shared through email. This feature allows for collaboration between people who use the same maps. Importing and exporting waypoints can also be done through Dropbox or iTunes, as demonstrated here. Look for more sharing options in future releases.

PDF Maps is available on the App Store.

Geospatial PDF in Adobe Acrobat: Examining latitude and longitude values

After creating a map with MAPublisher or Geographic Imager, you might want to export it as a geospatial PDF file. You want to ensure that the georeference information of your Geospatial PDF files are correct before bringing them into the field for use. A great way to use geospatial PDF maps (and GeoTIFFs) is to load them onto an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with PDF Maps installed.

One way to check for georeference accuracy of geospatial PDF files is to use Adobe Acrobat. Open the “Analysis” tool from View > Tools > Analyze.

Adobe Acrobat: Opening Anlysis Tool

Click the “Geospatial Location Tool” from the Analyze panel.

With the Geospatial Location Tool enabled, you can see the latitude and longitude values of the map while you move the mouse over the opened Geospatial PDF file.

Geospatial PDF viewed in Adobe Acrobat

An important tip you should keep in mind: you need to set the preference option for this tool correctly depending on the coordinate system of the map in the geospatial PDF file.

Open the Preference dialog window:

Acrobat X on Windows: Edit > Preferences > General …
Acrobat X on Mac: Acrobat > Preferences …

In the Preference dialog window, find the preference category “Measuring (Geo)” from the list of categories.

Adobe Acrobat Preference dialog window

In the “Measuring (Geo)” category, take a look at the right side. There are many options for the georeferencing tool. One of the options is “Latitude and Longitude Format”. In this section, you have a checkbox option “Always display latitude and longitude as WGS 1984”.

Adobe Acrobat Preference option for Latitude Longitude Display

This option is very important. If the coordinate system of the map is “NAD 27 / UTM Zone 16 N”, which geodetic system would you like to have to show the latitude and longitude values in Adobe Acrobat? For example, if you are checking the latitude and longitude values in the WGS 1984 geodetic system, you should keep this option selected. However, if you are checking the latitude and longitude values in NAD 1927 geodetic system, then you should de-select this option. The difference in the distance at the same spot between two different geodetic systems may be small or large. If you would like to see the correct latitude and longitude values, you should be aware of this option.

Optimizing Adobe Illustrator Documents with MAPublisher for Geospatial PDF Export

Adobe Illustrator documents with GIS data can be exported to georeferenced PDF files thanks to the MAPublisher Export Geospatial PDF feature. A geospatial PDF is an Adobe Acrobat file that contains geospatial coordinates. With coordinates, users can view and interact with the PDF to find and mark location data. MAPublisher exports all the MAP Attributes data in an Adobe Illustrator document into the geospatial PDF. Attribute values can subsequently be accessed and searched in Acrobat 9 (and 8 with limitations).

In order to ensure the best interoperability and geospatial PDF output results from your MAPublisher documents, the following work practices are recommended:

Convert document color mode to RGB

To ensure predictable color results, it is highly recommended to convert the documents color mode to RGB prior to exporting to Geospatial PDF. This is advisable especially if generating geospatial PDF documents to be used in conjunction with the PDF Maps app for IOS devices. The document color mode can be changed in Adobe Illustrator through File > Document Color Mode > RGB Color.

Colour mode

Crop data to the required extents using the MAP Vector Crop Tool

Remove any extraneous data not required for the geospatial PDF document by cropping the map using the Vector Crop Tool (located in the Adobe Illustrator Toolbar). If necessary, exclude data from being cropped by locking the its the appropriate layers.

Vector crop

Remove unnecessary layers

Delete any map layers that are not required for the final PDF map document. This may include raster layers, hidden layers, and layers that are outside the mapping extent or art board. Not only will this decrease file size, it will also simplify your layers list and improve organization. Delete layers in the MAP Views panel or the Layers panel.

delete selection

Preserve data contained within sublayers

If your document contains map data organized within sublayers it will be necessary to reorganize/move this data to it’s parent layer if you wish to preserve it when converting to and from geospatial PDF. This is necessary because data contained on sublayers are forced into their parent layer by the Adobe Illustrator PDF exporter. Layers are also required for importing a geospatial PDF back into MAPublisher in order to assign a schema.

Remove unused attribute information

Data sets, especially those available through various data portals and government agencies can contain attribute information not suited or required for our mapping need, or perhaps we are only interested in the geometry of the data for representational purposes. In this case it is advisable to delete any attribute information that does not fulfill a purpose as this will unnecessarily increase the resultant file size. Select your data, open the MAP Attributes panel, and click the Edit Schema button. You may delete and organize your attributes using this panel.

Edit attribute schema

Assign MAPublisher attributes to Adobe Illustrator Object names

This recommendation is not necessary but may be useful in some cases. In MAPublisher the #Id attribute column is a unique identifier MAPublisher uses internally to associate attributes with unique pieces of art. By default the art will have a name of “path” or “compound path” however it may be desirable to tag the object with a unique identifier from an existing attribute column for the purposes of making it easier to differentiate art objects within the Acrobat tree list, for example.

To do this we can use the “Apply Expression” option in the MAP Attributes panel. Simply designate the #Name column as the “Apply to” option while entering the name of the attribute column you wish to derive the attributes from as the “Expression”. For example in the screeshot below we are renaming the art objects contained in the #name column with values stoed in the “ROUTE” column with the results being reflected in the artwork listed in Illustrator Layers panel.

Use the Simplify Line Tool

Reduce the number of vertices available in MAP Line and Area layers by using the Simplify Line tool (located on the MAPublisher toolbar). This differs from the Adobe Illustrator Simplify Path tool because it takes into account X and Y coordinates. The proximity value or simplification tolerance is based on the vertical difference between the begin-end line and points off a line, not the distance between anchor points on the line.

Simplify lines

Geospatial PDFs derived from or include images should be generated as 72 DPI

This has particular relevance when dealing with geospatial PDF files, especially those generated with Geographic Imager. When a 200 DPI (dots per inch) georeferenced image is converted to a geospatial PDF, the image will be embedded in the PDF as a 200 DPI image. However, when displayed by PDF viewing applications such as Acrobat or Illustrator it will appear as a 72 DPI image. Due to this, on export, MAPublisher converts the referencing to 72 DPI format since it must be imported back as 72 DPI

Geospatial PDF at 72 DPI

Following the above recommendations should help ease the transition of your MAPublisher documents to and from geospatial PDF.

 

How to Download USGS Maps for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

If you haven’t read about it yet, USGS topographic maps for the United States are now available for download on the Avenza PDF Maps Library.

USGS topographic maps are great for viewing, reference and recreational uses such as hiking, fishing or exploring. You can download the maps beforehand (in cellular range or over Wi-Fi) and use the GPS capability (of the iPhone and iPad Wi-Fi+3G) to locate yourself on the map. These 1:24,000 scale maps include the lower 48 states, Alaska, Hawaii and the District of Columbia. All of the maps are in geospatial PDF format. Best of all, majority of the maps are lightweight meaning they download and process quickly on your device.

The process of getting USGS maps on your iOS device is simple

First, download and install the app if you don’t have it yet. Open the PDF Maps app. In the map list screen, tap the + button (Add Map) in the top-right corner.

open the PDF Maps app

Then tap the From Avenza PDF Maps Library button.

open the PDF Maps Library

The app connects to our PDF Maps Library server and lists several categories. Tap the USGS Topographic Maps category.

Tap USGS

The maps are categorized by state and area. We’ll retrieve a topographic map of a part of the city of Tucson, AZ. In the list of the U.S. states, tap Arizona.

Tap Arizona

In the preview map of Arizona, area grids are represented by the dashed gray lines. These area grids contain all of the available topographic maps categorized further by area name. Tap the area grid that contains Tucson.

Tap Tucson

Scroll down the list and tap Tucson East. This will take you to a preview of the map before the last step of downloading it.

Tap Tucson East

A preview of the map is shown. Finally, tap the Download 3.3MB button to download the Tucson East map. The PDF file size is listed as 3.3 MB.

download the map

The device automatically returns to the PDF Maps app where the Tucson East map will be downloading. After the download is complete, the app will automatically process and render all the tiles you’ll need to explore the map. This will only take a few minutes.

PDF Map downloading PDF Map processing

When the processing is completed, it will show it’s total size (18.1 MB) that includes tiles for all of the different zoom levels. Tap the Tucson East map to load it.

Done processing Explore map

These USGS maps and other maps on the Avenza PDF Maps Library are fully georeferenced and compatible with PDF Maps. Still have questions about PDF Maps? Read our support page or send us your questions. Stay tuned for more content.