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GIS Module to Canvas Draw

In a separate post, it was suggested that a poll ought to be taken to see if there was sufficient interest in bringing the GIS module to Canvas draw so I thought I would start a new thread with that in mind.

As a geologist, I've used Canvas for 30 years and, even though a Mac user, I still use the windows version with GIS to make maps of geospatial information (an essential activity for any geologist). I've even written software for formatting tables of strike and dip symbols to plot on maps. The work flow with dedicated GIS systems is make the map in ArcGIS or what ever and then port the result to a vector drawing program to "pretty it up" for publication. With Canvas GIS, I can do all of that in one program. Especially useful is Canvas' seamless combination of vector and raster capabilities. I can warp a raster (e.g., satellite image, hill shade topo) and plot my vector data right on top. In my most recent project, using the Windows version of Canvas GIS I imported a Chilean geological map of a mine which used the PSAD56 datum and warped it to UTM/WGS84 coordinates.

Although I could continue to use the Windows version in VMWare Fusion as I do now, I would absolutely love, and pay extra for, the GIS module in Canvas Draw on the Mac.

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One thing to note: If your Canvas GIS map is in UTM, then when you open the map in Canvas Draw, the X and Y coordinates will be Eastings and Northings. It is nice to be able to "pretty up" a map in Canvas Draw once the heavy lifting is done in Canvas GIS (which I use in VMware Fusion).

The last couple of versions of Canvas GIS for Windows have supported reading and writing of both .kml/kmx files and writing of GeoPDFs. They may also support reading of GeoPDF's, I just haven't tried it. Given the prevalence and utility of Google Earth, it is fantastic to be able to read .kmx and one can even use Canvas GIS to convert .kmx to other formats (I know that there are online sites which will also do this).

The GeoPDF format is a good idea gone bad. Even the full Acrobat version (at least on the Mac) takes a long time to open them. It turns out that computers are much faster at rendering large raster images than they are reading vector files with a zillion vectors each with a bazillion vertices. And, being Adobe, they had to make it way more complicated than need be.

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I'm another geologist chiming in again with continued push for GIS capabilities in Draw.  Also wanted to mention a work-around for the MrSid files you run across.  Thorsten Lemke's Graphic Converter app  can open them and convert to more usable images.

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Well that's a negative for Draw. I'm also interested in a GIS module since myCanvasX GIS+ doesn't recognize geoPDFs So far I've used individual layers by opening the file in My Acrobat Pro. There's also the old MrSid thing which I've been able to get by with using ExpressView-which you can't find anywhere now. So unless GanvasGFX ponies up with a full Canvas for Mac-even without GIS, my alternative is buying the WIN version and a machine to run it on. I've never done the WIN emulators so I don't know if that's even an option. I'm assuming you all have communicated your thoughts and hopes to the folks at Canvas GFX. Who will listen?

I don't use GIS, my info is just general. I think Canvas GFX is planning to bring all versions of Canvas to CVN format, how long that will take, I'm not sure. I know that each time they upgrade Draw, they add back features. I used to be one of the more vociferous voices complaining about Canvas at ACD, now that they have separated and improving Canvas continuously, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt.

I used Parallels to provide Windows emulation for a number of years in order to have up-to-date versions of Canvas.  As Canvas Draw improved, I gave up on the Windows versions.  None of those that I used would open geoPDFs within the GIS environment.  I still think that is/was unfortunate because the USGS digital quadrangle maps are GeoPDFs.  They can be opened by Canvas Draw, but the registration as a map projection is lost.


Thanks for the info. I too was very vocal about Canvas on the Mac to ACD. One thing I'd like to see is being able to save as .cvx for Draw until an evolution to full Canvas and .cvn files, with maybe some legacy Canvas file importability like Canvas X.0.2

I'm sure Canvas GFX will eventually bring in GIS, judging by the included Symbols Libraries, so many seem to be GIS symbols.

I even run OsX leopard on three machines just so I can still run the GIS version of Canvas for Macs - though it is getting long in the tooth. We  used to purchase 20 lab copies and 5 faculty copies of the GIS version for Macs. If this was available again I know we would at least purchase 3 faculty copies and 10 to 15 lab copies. 

I have also written many an email asking for Mac GIS support over the years with either no response or cloudy response. There is nothing quite like Canvas on GIS steroids and we would love to be able to use it again on modern hardware.  

Anyone who wants to do some sophisticated multi band image processing should get the free MultiSpec from Purdue. Free and incredible software that even has some pretty neat experimental classification and analytical techniques. It can handle hyper spectral data and work with very large data sets.

Perhaps getting a WIN Canvas GIS as an upgrade from my Canvas 11 may ge worthwhile. I haven't used any WIN emulation. What about VMware Fusion? I've got Acrobat 8 Pro and plan to get a newer version for my MacBook Pro. Opening the geoPDF's in it is a royal pain, and more complicated than it ought to be. I've also tried converting a Canvas .cvx file to Illustrator .ai and saw a 15mb file turn into a 365mb raster/vector unusable mess, which is how I feel about Illustrator in general. I definitely agree about the geoPDF being  good idea gone bad. Since you've used imagery for exploration, have you found any way in either Canvas or Adobe to produce a ratio  (divide) image? I'm working on a gold project in Oregon where using the classic ratio composite Landsat type image could be helpful.

As I mentioned before, I used Parallels for my Windows emulation.  It worked well.

I don't know of any way to produce a ratio image.  By overlaying (using separate layers) registered Landsat-type spectral-band images you might be able to produce something useful by selecting the various options in Transfer (such as Multiply, Screen, Overlay) and then adjusting the opacity.  Unfortunately, it would really be trial and error.


I, too, would love to have a GIS module available for Canvas Draw.  Like Richard, I am a geologist and long used the Windows version of Canvas in emulation mode on my Mac partly because of the GIS capability.  I admit to have given that up, but would like to have the GIS module added to Canvas Draw.  Although is does not require any GIS data, that module includes (or included) a useful image warp tool.  Perhaps there would be enough commercial interest to add GIS to Canvas Draw because of the increased market penetration of the Mac.


I've asked both Adobe and Canvas Folks if they could do it, either had a definite answer for me. In fact one tech didn't even know what a ratio was and when I explained that it was one image divided by another -or even a number it still got no flash of comprehension. From there I experimented and tried equating a division as 1/image values (inverse) equalling an inverted image and multiplying the results. It produced some interesting-and even pretty results but they didn't resemble the ratio images Ihad created back when I had the use of an image processing DEC mini computer back in the '80's ( LogE-ISI system @$750,000 one iteration from service with the DIA, CIA etc).  At onetime there were a couple of software products even for the Mac that were supposed to be able to do the classic remote sensing operations. I haven't done recent searches until I got a more up to date mac so I can once again search the net.

Just chiming in here ...  I'm pretty sure it's impossible to ratio bands in the multispectral images in Canvas. I'd suggest using the freeware ImageJ which was originally produced by the NIH. This program as many add on modules that do a huge number of scientific computing on images:

I use Canvas GIS version 19 in Windows 10 running in VMWare Fusion. It works reasonably well but it will do best if you have a computer with at least 16 GB of RAM. My map files tend to be between 200 and 400 MB each, depending on the resolution of the digital topo hillshade that I'm using (produced with Natural Scene Designer or SimpleDEM Viewer, both on the Mac side). In Windows, I can see and open the contents of my desktop and documents folders on the Mac, and you can use copy and paste from one side to the other.

Richard A, thanks for the link to ImageJ.   Surely the best solution for ratioing.

Out of curiosity, I just tried using Transfer->Difference in Canvas Draw for overlaid Landsat imagery which had little topography (therefore without the illumination problems that  ratioing is supposed to eliminate).  Definitely highlighted the differences between bands and between various band combinations.  Interpretable?  Well, that's another question!


CanVas X Has the abi;its to perform arithmetic functions in the Scientific imaging module including division. So the question becomes a matter of finding the legacy scientific image module as well as seeing if it is present in the newer versions of Canvas. is it possible to get a legacy version scientific image module for Mac Canvas X to use until it upgrades for the Mac?

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