by Madeleine Parker. GIS is incredibly powerful: you can transform, overlay, and analyze data with a few clicks. But sometimes the challenge is getting your data into a form to be able to use with GIS. Have you ever found a PDF or even paper map of what you needed? Or googled your topic with “shapefile” after it to no avail? The process of transforming a PDF, paper, or even hand-drawn map with boundaries into a shapefile for analysis is straightforward but involves a few steps. I walk through the stages of digitization, georeferencing, and drawing, from an image to a vector shapefile ready to be used for visualization and spatial analysis.