PDF Maps Support - Android

These are frequently asked questions on how to use PDF Maps on Android devices (compatible with devices running Android 4.0.3 and higher).


What does the PDF Maps app do?

PDF Maps is a fast and powerful geospatial PDF, GeoPDF®, and GeoTIFF reader for most Android devices running Android 4.0 and higher. It renders maps quickly and features intuitive multi-touch gestures for easy navigation. With PDF Maps, you can download and open saved maps, pan, zoom, use GPS to locate yourself on the map, drop multiple placemarks, add attribute data, and measure area and distance. The easiest way to get maps is to download them directly from the PDF Maps Store.

What is a geospatial PDF and what other formats are supported?

Geospatial PDF files are PDF documents that contain geospatial information such as real world location and/or GIS attributes. Geospatial PDF documents can be created in many GIS applications such as ArcGIS and Mapinfo and from within Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop with the aid of the MAPublisher and Geographic Imager plug-ins, respectively. The geospatial data contained in a geospatial PDF document may be accessed and used (for example to locate a specific point or measure distances) without the aid of any additional plugins, using tools found natively in Adobe Reader 9 and Acrobat 9. 
GeoTIFF and JPG formats are also supported. GeoTIFF is a commonly used image format to store geospatial information. JPG format doesn't store geospatial or coordinate system information, so it must have external reference files: either TFW & PRJ or JGW & WKT. All three files must be placed in a ZIP file when importing to PDF Maps.

What is the PDF Maps Store?

The PDF Maps Store contains spatially referenced maps from around the world including USGS and Canadian Topographic maps. The PDF Maps Store can be accessed directly through the app where in-app purchases can be made. Maps can be downloaded for free as well. Vendors can register and sell their maps on the Map Store. See more info about the PDF Maps Store.

How do I sell maps on the PDF Maps Store?

Register as an PDF Maps Store vendor here. After approval, you will be able to upload your maps, enter descriptions and sales information, and publish them live to the store. Join hundreds of other map publishers to sell digital maps now. See more info about the PDF Map Store.

With over 700,000 maps on the PDF Maps Store, where do I begin?

You can browse the Map Store based on categories, current location, recently added maps, and popular maps. You can also perform an advanced search by tapping the magnifying glass that will allow you to search by keyword, and turning on or off categories from the Category List. Or you can just simply pan around the map to find maps of a particular area of interest. Zooming in to an area will show more available maps of a location.

Can I load my own maps into the app?

Yes! You can create your own geospatial PDF, GeoPDF®, and GeoTIFF files and load them into the app using several methods. 1. Load maps from the file system; 2. Load maps from Dropbox; and 3. Load maps from the web.

Why do some maps load slowly?

Every map varies in how it is created. For best results, use GeoTIFF or geospatial PDF documents that have been optimized. Also, large maps require more processing and it is recommended to use PDF Maps on a newer Android device because of its faster hardware specs (and at least 1 GB RAM).

How do I optimize my own PDF maps?

The geospatial PDF must be properly and accurately georeferenced and comply with the Adobe Acrobat PDF 1.7 specification (such as maps produced using MAPublisher or ArcGIS). Also, in Adobe Acrobat, use Advanced > PDF Optimizer to create a balance of small file size and good quality. Large rasters in the map could increase file size significantly, so try to use optimized/compressed images and only when necessary.
GeoTIFF images can be optimized by converting them to Indexed color using raster software like Adobe Photoshop. Image resolution should range from 200 dpi to 300 dpi to achieve sharp images suitable for multiple zoom levels. Note that higher resolution images can have more zoom levels, but create larger sized files.

Can I view maps offline?

Yes! Maps are stored on the device and can be used offline. This is a great feature for travelers who wish to load up maps before they travel outside of their home network coverage area - no roaming data charges! It works great with using an Android device that has GPS built-in (GPS can remain on even when cellular data is disabled).

Can I move maps to my SD card?

Regrettably, no. Maps purchased from the PDF Maps Store are locked to your device's internal storage in order to protect vendor content. This means that you can't store or move these maps to your SD card. Any purchases made with a PDF Maps Store account are available even if they are deleted. You can delete maps from your device that you don't immediately need in order to conserve space and download maps again when you need them.

Can I view maps on my desktop or laptop computer?

Regrettably, no. At this time, downloaded maps are only available through the app on your device and cannot be transferred to your desktop or laptop computer. Contact the map publisher directly if you want to acquire any maps for use on a desktop or laptop

How do I open maps from my own website?

We've developed a "pdfmaps" URL scheme that lets you open PDF Maps on your website. This pdfmaps scheme also has several parameters where you can customize how a PDF Map opens. See this thread on the Avenza User Forum for more information.

Why does PDF Maps not work on my Android device with an Intel processor?

PDF Maps was developed for Android devices with ARM processors and is currently not supported for Android devices with Intel processors. A solution is currently under development to resolve this.

Moving around the app

Which gestures are supported?

The following is a list of supported gestures and what they perform:

  • Single tap and drag: pan the map
  • Single tap and flick: pan the map quickly
  • Single tap: hide all placemark labels
  • Single tap and hold: pick up a placemark, drag to reposition
  • Double tap: zoom-in and centers
  • Two-finger double tap: zoom-out and centers
  • Expand: Zoom-in
  • Pinch: Zoom-out

How do I delete a map?

First, tap the Back button or the top-left PDF Maps icon to return to the list of maps. Tap the check box beside the map thumbnail, then tapDelete. Alternatively, while browsing a map, tap Details, then tap Delete.

How do I access individual map details?

In the list of maps, tap the check box beside the map thumbnail, then tap the Details icon. Alternatively, while browsing a map, tap theDetails icon. In the map details screen, you can change the map title, read its description or delete the map.

How do I open password protected PDFs?

Currently, any password protected PDF is not supported by the app yet. This feature will be available in a future release.

Functions and Map Tools

How do I use the built-in GPS?

Tap the GPS button to use the built-in GPS to view your location in real-time. Tapping the location icon once will locate you on the map while tapping the location icon again will focus the frame on your location as you move around the map. This only works if you are physically within the geographic extents of the map that you are viewing. The status Not on map appears if you are not within the extents of the map.

How do I drop a placemark at my current location?

Assuming that you are within the geographic extents of the map, tap the GPS button to locate yourself, then tap the Drop Placemark button. Placemarks are also known as pins (used interchangeably).

How do I drop multiple placemarks?

First, move to a position you want to drop a placemark at, then tap the Drop Placemark button. A crosshair in the middle of the screen identifies where the placemark will be added. Pan the map again and simply tap the Drop Placemark button to drop another placemark. Tap the Map Features List button to see a list of all placemarks on the map.

How do I change the colour of a placemark?

Tap a placemark to show its label. Then tap the placemark label. On the Edit Map Feature screen, tap the thumbnail of the placemark (beside the placemark title) and then choose a different pin colour or choose an imported icon. The placemark will update with the chosen colour or icon upon returning to the map.

How do I add or edit map feature attributes?

Tap a placemark to show its label. Then tap the placemark label. Tap the Edit Folder/Attribute Schema icon (pencil) to view more settings. Under the Attribute Schema section, tap the + icon to add a new attribute or tap an existing attribute to edit it. Enter or edit the Field Name, Field Type and, if necessary, add items to a Pick List. Attributes and fields may be edited at any time.

How do I add a description to a map feature?

Tap a placemark to show its label. Then tap the placemark label. On the Edit Map Feature screen, tap the Description heading and type into the text area. Descriptions or notes can be used to record information.

How do I add photos to a map or map feature?

To add photos to a map, tap the Tools button and tap Plot Photos. In the photo browser, choose an existing photo. Note that only geotagged photos can be added using this method. To add photos to a placemark, line or track, tap one to show its label, then tap the label. On the Edit Map Feature screen, tap the Photos heading. Tap the Camera icon to add photos using the device camera or tap the Gallery icon to choose an existing photo.

How do I record GPS tracks?

Tap the Map Tools button, then tap Record GPS Tracks. On the map, tap the Play icon to begin recording. Your movements will be recorded when the app is open or when it is minimized to the background. Tap Done at any time to stop recording and to automatically save the track to the Tracks folder. For more detailed track information, tap the track to show its label, then tap the Show Graph heading. In the Track Statistics screen, the distance, elevation change and time are displayed. Tap Speed or Elevation to see its respective graph.

How do I view coordinates on the map?

When viewing a map, the map coordinates are displayed at the top of the screen. The coordinates are designated by the crosshair in the middle of the map view. By default, the latitude and longitude coordinates are listed. Tap the coordinates to change the display format to WGS84, Northing/Easting, or Military Grid Reference System (MGRS).

How do I view the coordinates of a placemark?

Tap a placemark to show its label. Then tap the placemark label. The coordinates are listed beside the Location heading. Tap the location values to edit them (note that new values do not update the actual placemark location on the map).

How do I export placemarks, lines or tracks?

Tap the Map Features List button, then tap the Export Map Features button. In the Export Map Features screen, specify a file name and format (KML). In the Send To section, tap the option to choose either SD Card, Email, or Dropbox. Finally, tap Export to send the file to the chosen location. Tap Export Schema only to send the schema of the map to the chosen location.

How do I remove placemarks, lines or tracks?

Tap the MAP Features List button. In the Map Features screen, tap Placemarks folder to open it. Tap the check box beside a placemark to select it, then tap Delete. Alternatively, an entire folder containing placemarks or map features can be deleted using the same steps. To delete a placemark while editing it, tap the Delete icon.

How do I hide placemarks, lines or tracks?

Tap the MAP Features List button. In the Map Features screen, tap the check box beside a folder or map feature. In the top menu, tap the Visibility icon (eye). A folder or map feature that is not visible will have a faded/transparent icon. Use the same step to make the folder or map feature visible again.

How do I hide all the labels on a map?

Simply tap anywhere on the map once that's not a label and the map feature labels will hide.

How do I measure distances and areas?

Tap the Map Tools button, then tap Measure Distance or Area. Tap the Measure Area/Distance icon to toggle between the respective modes. Move the crosshair to the initial measurement point, then tap the + icon to begin. Pan the map away from the initial measurement point. The measurement values are displayed at the top of the screen. Tap the + icon to set another measurement point. The measurement updates as more points are added. Tap the x icon to delete the last placed measurement point. Tap Save to save the line.

How do I change the distance and area units?

In the Measure Distance or Measure Area mode, tap the Options icon in the upper-right corner, then choose a new measurement (feet, kilometres, metres, miles, nautical miles, minutes (walking), or yards. Under the Custom Units section, tap the + icon to add a new unit (e.g. m/s, ft/s, km/h, mi/h).

How do I navigate with the compass?

Tap the GPS button to enable the GPS mode, then tap the GPS button again to enable the compass mode. In Compass mode, a floating compass orients towards north (red tip) and rotates the map as you turn. To exit Compass mode, tap the GPS button once more or pan away from your location.

How do render a map in high resolution?

The option to render in high resolution is not supported yet, but will be available in a future release.

How do I search for places?

Tap the Map Tools button, then tap Find Places. Enter an address or keyword to search for and tap OK. Use the arrows to cycle through search results. Tap Done when finished searching and optionally save the results to a folder.

How do I import KML/KMZ files?

Tap the Placemarks List button, then tap the Import Placemarks button. In the Import Placemarks screen, choose to import placemarks from SD Card, from Dropbox, or from the web. Upon import, placemarks are added for each location specified in the KML file.

Attribute Schemas

What is an attribute schema?

An attribute schema is a set of pre-defined properties that are applied across an entire folder of KML points. Their primary purpose is to allow quick and efficient data collection without having to define them point by point.

How do I create an attribute schema?

Create and edit attribute schemas in a folder in the Map Features List. Tap the Map Features List button, then tap the checkbox beside a folder and tap the Edit Folder/Attribute Schema icon (pencil). In the Attribute Schema section, add or edit attributes including the field name, field data type and create pick lists. You can also set the folder with a default icon and as the current folder so any placemarks dropped will automatically have the schema applied to it.

Can I have multiple attribute schemas?

Yes you can! Attribute schemas exist inside the folders you create them in. By creating multiple folders you can have multiple schemas on the same map. Just be sure to change the Current Folder setting to match the attribute schema you want.

How can I share attribute schemas with other users and maps?

You can share attribute schemas in the same way you can share KML/KMZ points. Tap the Map Features List button, then tap the Import or Export button. In the Export Map Features screen, choose to Import Schema Only or Export Schema Only. Once an attribute schema is imported, it will appear as a folder in your Map Features list.


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