Georeferencing PDFs in ArcGIS Pro

10-16-2019 11:00 AM
Status: Open
Labels (1)
New Contributor II


In my line of work, I need to be able to georeference PDFs in ArcGIS Pro. We already have significant library of all the PDFs that we need (more that 100,000). For us it is a waste of space and money to convert all of these (and future) PDFs in TIFF or JPEG files.We will need additional space to store them. We have other programs that are using the same PDFs and will not work with other format of raster files. In other words, we need to be able to georeference PDF.




I too have been converting many PDFs to TIFs lately. It would be nice if we could save the storage space.


I have to deal with PDFs generated from CAD drawings regularly, being able to quickly georeference those PDFs (most of them already have some georeference info in them) and display them as a reference layer under the GIS data would be a fantastic feature for Pro.


I've encountered similar issues over the last few years. Being able to import and utilise PDFs is a great idea. 

Especially since MXD and APRX files can be exported as PDFs with some degree of georeferencing, so it makes sense to be able to bring them back into the software as spatially enabled files.


This comes up a lot in parcel mapping. It is extremely useful to geo-reference a survey plan (or plat) to use for COGO entry or attribution. It can also serve as a proxy before a new development in advance of an actual update to a parcel fabric. It is very compelling to see a plan in geographic context.

In the past most plans were scanned as TIFFs, however more an more plans are scanned and saved as PDF's, mainly to prevent inadvertent modification (and simple viewing). It is not straightforward to convert a PDF into a JPEG or PNG which are the most suitable formats for geo-referencing. Either a paid version of Acrobat or a third party image editing software is required.

It would be very useful to simply add the PDF to the map and geo-reference it like any other "image". Alternatively, a simple conversion from PDF to image (TIFF/JPEG/PNG) would be sufficient. Generally around 125 DPI is sufficient for screen display (if gray scale or full color).


The current status of this feature request is 'Reviewed'...any updates? We too have to deal with gazillions of PDFs generated from CAD drawings...being able to georeference those would be so, so good.


I don't even see PDF to TIFF tool in ArcGIS Pro. Am I'm missing something?


Hi! The PDF To TIFF tool is currently marked as In Product Plan. You can follow the idea here:



Thank you Aubri for a quick response. I thought Desktop and Pro were on par now, I guess not quite.

Geospatial PDF drivers are freely available in GDAL.  Why is ESRI so far behind adding full support for Geospatial PDF?  QGIS has supported this format for years.


Would like to see this feature, too.

We often get sketches as PDF-Files from clients and need to georeference them to display their correct location on a map for authorities etc.

As others allready mentioned this feature is common with QGIS.

Please add it to ArcGIS Pro ASAP.