NOAA creates geospatial PDFs with Plot Composer

NOAA's new PDF chart productNOAA's Hydrographic Surveys Division (HSD) has recently added an exciting new chart product deliverable, the Geospatial PDF: a PDF with georeferencing stored within it. This new product is being created using new functionality specifically requested by HSD and released in CARIS Plot Composer 5.2. Since production began in May, HSD has created a geospatial PDF product for every new survey received at their two processing branches. Once created, it is made available for free public download alongside traditionally available products such as high resolution bathymetric surfaces in BAG format, bottom sample data in KML format, and descriptive reports.

Because HSD uses CARIS HIPS and SIPS and BASE Editor as the main tools for data processing, the process for creating the geospatial PDFs is simple and efficient using the latest version of Plot Composer. A combined CSAR surface will have been already created from the high resolution bathymetric data during the survey acceptance review process. This surface, along with a survey scale set of soundings, a large scale raster nautical chart, graticule, title block, and when available, acoustic imagery mosaic will make up the layers of the PDF plot. Because the PDF is layered as well as georeferenced, it is possible to measure distances and angles, determine the geographic locations of features of interest and to selectively enable or disable layers of the plot they wish to view directly in the Adobe Acrobat Reader software.

In addition to the plot itself, there are two files attached to the PDF. The first file is an ASCII XYZ file of the survey sounding set, identical to those displayed on the plot ensuring that the customer has a universally accessible format for the survey scale soundings. The second file is a Read Me text file that contains additional metadata about the survey providing the customer with more information.

NOAA is very excited to be able to produce a product for the general public that fits in-between pure hydrographic products, such as BAGs, and pure cartographic products, such as nautical charts, both of which require specialized viewing software that the general public does not necessarily have. Geospatial PDFs simply require Acrobat Reader without any need for special plug-ins or additional tool bars to view and interact with the data. Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

To download NOAA Hydrographic Survey Data visit:

Published 2012-08-03

Join our Mailing List

Subscribe to email announcements

Our Latest Tweets

Follow us on Twitter

Connect With Us