Adobe Geospatial PDF Reader/Writer

Licensing options for this format begin with FME Professional Edition.

The PDF2D Reader/Writer allows FME to read and write Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF) with vector drawings and geospatial information.


FME provides read and write access to PDF, a document exchange format created by Adobe Systems.

FME treats each layer within the PDF document as a feature type, and each content object as a feature. Content objects include 2D vector drawings, raster images, and blocks of text.

Feature attributes can be queried using the analysis tools of the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. If features have a coordinate system defined, then geospatial coordinates of the cursor location can also be displayed.

Reader Overview

The reader has a variety of modes, and (depending on the reader settings) it can produce:

  • one feature per content object
  • one raster feature per page
  • one text feature per page
  • one non-spatial feature per tagged table row

Measurements on the page use the unit of a typographical point (also known as a PostScript point). It is defined as 1/72 of an inch on the output page. If the PDF document contains geospatial map frames, then geometry may be produced with geospatial units.

Additionally, the reader can produce features to describe document properties, such as the size of each page, the location of map frames, or the document creator.

Note: Reading 3D content objects and other multimedia objects such as audio or video is not yet supported.

Writer Overview

The writer outputs PDF version 1.7 files. The document will have one page and features will be drawn in a rectangular region of the page called the viewport. Measurements on the page use the unit of a typographical point (also known as a PostScript point). It is defined as 1/72 of an inch on the output page.

The PDF2D writer will write features with 2D geometry as vector drawings, or raster features as images on a page of a PDF document. The output PDF file can be viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader or any other PDF viewer application.

If attribution is written, then each feature and feature type will be represented by a logical structure element. In Adobe Acrobat Reader, features can be visually picked using the Object Data tool.

Features with unsupported geometry types will not be drawn, but their attribution data will still be written.

Features will be grouped into layers according to their feature types. In Adobe Acrobat Reader, the visibility of layers can be toggled.

PDF files can be opened through a command or an URL that specifies what and how the contents are displayed.

For more details about this feature, see this Adobe documentation:

FME Raster Features

FME raster features represent raster data and use several concepts that are unlike those used in the handling of vector data. The topics below describe how FME processes raster data.

About FME Rasters Tiling and Mosaicking
Raster Properties Band Combining and Separating
Band Properties Band and Palette Selection
Palette Properties Raster Processing
Compression Raster versus Vector Features
Pyramiding Raster File Naming
Interleaving World Files
Interpretation and Data Type TAB Files
Palette Resolution  

PDF files can be written with non-square pixel dimensions.

PDF supports rasters with an arbitrary number of bands, provided all bands are the same data type and no band has a palette. PDF also supports rasters with a single band that has a palette.