TerraGo Chosen for Inclusion in Library of Congress Web Archives

TerraGo Chosen for Inclusion in Library of Congress Web Archives

The United States Library of Congress has selected your website for inclusion in the Geospatial Software and File Formats Web Archive, which is part of a larger collection of historically and culturally significant websites that have been designated for preservation. The following URL has been selected:

Library of Congress Web Archiving Team

For us at TerraGo, we appreciate this recognition. We have had a long relationship with LOC, helping them to document some of the details of GeoPDF internals to formal document preservation descriptions that they publish, including the georegistration encoding which “registers” the PDF map coordinate system with the projected coordinate system used to model the real world.

Sometime in the early 2000s, we began talking with the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) about some initiatives they were undertaking to reduce the ubiquitous, early reliance on paper for communicating maps, imagery, and imagery-derived intelligence products. We had experience developing map-derived applications for some years, delivering them using PDF as a foundational technology. These discussions led to the development of the first general PDF georegistration specification in 2004 which would later be published as an OGC best practice.

An early mass deployment of GeoPDF maps was in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, less than one year after the promulgation of the specification in 2004; we still had to write the software! We published a very large number — thousands — of maps derived from GeoTIFF and other sources, including manual georegistration transforming a non-interactive scan into an interactive geospatial product. Since then, it’s been deployed in service to a wide variety of people — first responders, warfighters, geologists, archaeologists, you name it — in as many or more different applications. It’s a proven platform to share your geospatial information and intelligence with anyone, anywhere.

As a geospatial information delivery platform, GeoPDF has been durable; it will turn twenty next year in 2024, and is still going strong. For comparison, the most popular cell phone in 2004 was the Motorola RAZR V3 (according to Wikipedia). Part of the GeoPDF durability comes from its role as being an informal bridge between systems and levels of trust (e.g., people who need the information, but are not allowed access to systems and applications). It’s not a GIS, but it can interoperate with one. It’s not a document management system, but it can interoperate with one. Based on PDF, it can interoperate with anything that understands PDF — geospatial or not — which these days seems like pretty much anything. You can look at a handmade prototype GeoPDF file made in 2004 in any browser today, and you can display coordinates, zoom to locations, etc., in GeoPDF Toolbar now as you could in 2005 (or in prototypes in 2004). You can view them as layers in ArcGIS using GeoPDF Publisher for ArcGIS Pro. Use GeoPDF in any browser, Adobe Acrobat, GeoPDF Toolbar or Publisher hosted in their respective applications, or anything else that understands PDF; that means anyone, anywhere.

– George Demmy, CTO at TerraGo Technologies