Start a new topic

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.

1 person has this question

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.


Like Richard Allmendinger, I am also a Geologist with over 40 years in the Petroleum and mineral exploration fields. I first encountered Canvas back in 1990 while a contractor at AMOCO (sadly later devoured by BP) Back then we had a very active and productive team of mac users among the professional and technical staff and I found Canvas 3.5 which was a mac application long before it was also ported to windows. I subsequently bought Canvas5, 6, 7, 8 & 10 over the years upgrading to Canvas X GIS+ in 2005 which I used extensively while I was an employee at Shell who supported the WIN version. During the years I have used Canvas and Canvas X GIS+, along with Photoshop to generate enhance aerial photos and satellite imagery, generate geologic interpretations of same, integrate them with other geologic mapping for petroleum and minerals. I've also used Canvas to create and interpret geologic cross sections from digital well log images and other data sources. Beyond that I've used Canvas to create whatever illustrations for presentations be that Powerpoint or as native documents. When I found out Canvas was dropped for the mac I bitched loudlly and long  to no avail except to be given a free copy of Canvas 11 for WIN which I've never used. I'm currently using and supporting three vintage macs with Canvas X GIS+ and other versions to keep doing what I have been doing all these years. I'm still using Canvas X GIS+ verX.0.2 build925 on OS 10.4.9 & 10.5.4 & Canvas 8 on OS 9.1 on an old expanded PowerMac7300 with a G3 card 1gb ram, usb & firewire. I've acquired a newer MacBookPro and have been exploring what I can do to use Canvas on it. Too bad Apple didn't include a legacy  side to use the G3-G5 software like they did transitioning to OS X. I'm going to try out the trial for Canvas Draw and see if it's any use. I would also appreciate any comments or insights. If it is possible to do so via email then I will be happy to include it next time. I've used systems ranging from a dedicated imaging system on a 750K DEC "mini" computer back in the 80's to UNIX, WIN and my system of choice is mac from 1984-to date. Let me hear from you and let's make a case for full Canvas for the Mac .

Do try out Canvas Draw to see if it will do what you wish it to (other than GIS).  It certainly works well for me.  You will benefit from having an updated Mac OS such as Mojave.


Thanks I had already downloaded theatrical version after I wrote this only to find out that the MacPro I had just bought has OS 10.11.6 El Capitan which I've just gotten straightened out with all the new accesses and find I must now upgrade ti OS 10.12 or later to use the trial... My main interests are if my legacy .cvx files will be usable in Canvas Draw. I can live with not having GIS for now but it really would be nice

Yes, your CVX files will open in Canvas Draw, but you cannot save to CVX.

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

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.

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'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.

Login or Signup to post a comment