Lesson 8a: US Topos Created after June 2017

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Detailed Description

In this lesson we will demonstrate how to open and manipulate data layers using Adobe Reader DC and Adobe Acrobat Pro. We will also learn how to use basic tools like panning, zooming and making measurements.


Date Taken:

Length: 00:08:31

Location Taken: US


In this lesson we will demonstrate how to open and manipulate data layers using Adobe Reader DC and Adobe Acrobat Pro.

We will also learn how to use basic tools like panning, zooming and making measurements

Lessons 4a, 4b, 4c and 4d of The National Map Training provide instructions for using The National Map download client to download data and maps, including US Topo maps.

This lesson will focus on using US Topo maps in the new geospatial PDF format using Acrobat Reader DC and Adobe Acrobat Pro.  The instructions apply to both.  The US Topo maps in geospatial PDF format were produced by the USGS beginning in June 2017.  The geospatial PDFs are ISO 32000-compliant. The TerraGo toolbar used with older US Topos does not work with these products. However, this video will demonstrate several alternative tools native to Adobe.

Find the file you downloaded and double click on the file name. The file will open in either Reader or Pro depending on what you have installed.  

Click on Enable All Features, if necessary. Expand the map by clicking on the arrow to collapse the right hand pane.

Click on the ‘layers icon’ to open the layers. Expand the layers by clicking on the plus signs.

You can turn layers on and off by clicking on the eyeballs to the left of the layer names.

There are several options to zoom and pan the map.

Click on the ‘+’ and ‘-‘icons in the Adobe Reader toolbar to zoom in and out.

If you have used Adobe Reader before and have already turned on the Adobe ‘Zoom/select’ tools, the ‘+’ and ‘-‘icons will not be visible.  To reset the toolbar, go to View / Show-Hide / Toolbar Items / Show Select & Zoom Tools and click on ‘Reset Select and Zoom’

You can also enter or choose a percent of actual size in the window to the right of the ‘+’ icon in the Adobe toolbar.

To turn on other Adobe tools, go to

View / Show-Hide / Toolbar Items / Show Select & Zoom Tools

Select the tool you want such as Marquee Zoom or Loupe Tool or turn them all on by clicking on ‘Show all Select and Zoom Tools’.

The Marquee Zoom tool allows you to zoom into an area of interest by drawing rectangle over the area.  Hold down the left mouse button and drag the cursor over the map. 

Select the ‘Continuous Zoom’ tool to zoom in and out.  Click on an area on the map while holding down the left mouse button and moving the cursor up/down.  You can also use the scroll wheel on mouse.

Use the ’Loupe tool’ to see an area on the map in more detail.  Click on the ‘Loupe’ icon and click the map.  Use the slider bar or + and – buttons to zoom in and out.

You can also zoom by holding the Ctrl key and using the plus or minus sign keys. 

The page resize tools displays the map at its actual size, to fit the map to the screen, or fits the width of the map on the screen.

Use the Hand tool to pan around the map. 

The up/down/left/right arrow keys may also be used to pan. You may not pan if the map display shows the entire map page. 

The Pan & Zoom Window tool allows you to change the magnification and drag the box to pan across the image. 

Right-clicking on the map image is another way to select some tools. 

To display coordinates on the map click on the ’Tools’ and then the ‘Measure’ tool.  Click on the ‘Geospatial Location Tool’.  A window appears in the lower right of the map display, showing latitude and longitude in signed decimal degrees. 

Coordinate readouts for US Topo geospatial PDF maps are always latitude-longitude on NAD83/WGS84.

To measure distances and areas, click on the ‘Measuring Tool’. Two windows appear on the map display, one with options for snapping types and measurement types, one for results.

There are three types of measurements:

distance between two points Click…

Perimeters... Double click to stop drawing...  

and areas.  Single click to close polygon and stop drawing.

Click on the selection tool and hover on a drawn line, perimeter and polygon to see the results of your measurements.  A right mouse allows you to delete the graphic. 

The measuring tools also function as a simple type of markup. Lines drawn with the measuring tools can be ‘burned in’ to the PDF.  Use File / Save As to save a version of the US Topo map that includes the

user-drawn lines. These lines are not part of any US Topo layer, and once saved cannot be turned off, but can be selected and deleted.

To change the map display units, click on ‘Edit’ then ‘Preferences’.  Click on ‘Measuring (Geo)’ to see the options.

The relatively limited number of geospatial functions is not a characteristic of the US Topo product, but rather of the software currently available to view this new version of geospatial PDF. USGS expects more software for viewing and manipulating these data will become available over time.

Each US Topo file has an attached file of metadata that describes data sources and production processes. This file complies with the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata. The physical format is XML.  To access the metadata file from Acrobat Reader, click on the paperclip icon, then select the file from the list that appears.

You can also download the metadata when you download the geospatial PDF.