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Tip #153 - How to Georeference a PDF as background image

By Shane Lyons posted 06-07-2021 15:35


Tip #153 - How to Georeference a PDF as background image


Hey TBC’ers! Have you ever wanted to georeference a PDF to use as a background reference in your project? For instance, you’ve located several property corners and you want to reference the survey plat as a background image to see how everything is fitting together. 


Follow the steps below to learn how to import a PDF and utilize the Place Image command to align your field data with the imported PDF background image (Note: you need a minimum of 2 surveyed points in order to Compute the Georeferenced image). 

  • Drag and drop your PDF document into your project or import through the import command under the Home tab of the ribbon. 
  • In the Project Explorer, right click the imported PDF located under the Imported Files and select “Place Image”.
  • In the top of the "Place Image" pane, select the Georeference Image button.
  • Highlight the Pixel field, zoom into the correct location on the PDF that you want to georeference and select the center pixel for that point. 
  • Right click in the location field, select Point, enter the point number of the surveyed point associated with the selected pixel on the PDF and select OK. 
  • Select "Add" in the Georeference Image pane and repeat the above steps to georeference the second surveyed point to the correct pixel location on the PDF. You can continue to add additional points if needed, however a minimum of 2 surveyed points must be used to Compute the Georeferenced Image. Once you’ve referenced the additional point(s), select compute. 

The PDF is now rotated and scaled to match the points that were surveyed in the field. 


I hope this tip comes in handy in one of your upcoming Field to Finish Workflows!

1 comment



06-30-2021 13:05

Great option! I've learned that it is very helpful with boundary surveys and using old survey plats/subdivision maps. Thanks for the share!