MapInfo Professional v8.0 Takes a Nuts-and-Bolts Approach to Bringing Geospatial to the Enterprise
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MapInfo Professional v8.0 Takes a Nuts-and-Bolts Approach to Bringing Geospatial to the Enterprise

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! Taking GIS data and making it useful to government agency users who don't know GIS is one of the things that MapInfo is really good at. The latest release of MapInfo Professional, MapInfo Professional v8.0, is now available with a focus on four major enhancement areas, according to Moshe Binyamin, global product manager for MapInfo Professional Desktop Products. Binyamin's background is in both engineering and business, and he has been with the company for nine years. Read what he has to say about v8.0 in this week's Industry News.

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Industry News

MapInfo Professional v8.0 Takes a Nuts-and-Bolts Approach to Bringing Geospatial to the Enterprise
By Susan Smith

Taking GIS data and making it useful to government agency users who don't know GIS is one of the things that MapInfo is really good at. The latest release of MapInfo Professional, MapInfo Professional v8.0, is now available with a focus on four major enhancement areas, according to Moshe Binyamin, global product manager for MapInfo Professional Desktop Products. Binyamin's background is in both engineering and business, and he has been with the company for nine years.

The new release has been enhanced in four major areas:
1) As IT takes a more active role in trying to manage how the product is being deployed on the desktop in most major installations, the use of Terminal Services in CITRIX has become more popular.. As a result, “we needed to enable our software to allow this deployment and usability,” explained Binyamin. MapInfo enrolled as a technology partner with CITRIX and through that relationship managed to get their software within the CITRIX environment. “The capability we work with them on is their ability to run on a terminal service environment and allow large organizations to install the software once on a CITRIX server and it eliminates the need for individual users to install the software on their desktops. If you had 50 users who need MapInfo Professional, but you don't want to run through those desktops and configure them up 50 times, this allows you to install it once on a single machine like a CITRIX machine and all 50 users can use the software from their network connection. It will appear as though they're running it on their regular desktops.”

2) MapInfo customers are also focused on: how do you get data into the product itself? The geospatial field is very unique in that there are different types of data that need to be brought into the environment itself, such as architectural data coming from CAD environment, maps, business data coming directly from a database, aerial imagery and photography, read in elevation data, etc. It all needs to be combined in a way that's meaningful to the customer so that you can then actually start doing the analysis on all these different data sets in a comprehensive way. The introduction of the OGC and the services that they provide such as WFS, WMS and GML further increases the ways customers can bring the data into the product and make it possible to analyze your data in respect or in relation to other data that may exist in the marketplace which may be counties, zip codes, boundaries, etc.

3) Allow the increased ways by which you can edit, analyze and create your data, this is where the power of geospatial products like MapInfo Professional comes into play -once you are able to see your data in combination with geospatial data and others, in a combined view, what can you do with it? How can you take advantage of that combination in a geospatial context? And what kind of analysis can you do out of the box, and so that lends itself to opportunities to add capabilities such as data creation, simplified data creation if the data is outdated or new features need to be added or data needs to be modified. Also analytically, you can look at your data in more creative ways and understand the relationships.

4) Those tasks that have been difficult to do in the context of GIS and answering geospatial questions should be made easy for the user. You don't want to put pressure on the user to become a GIS expert when all they're really looking for is the answers to simple questions such as, how far are my customers from a given fiber line or shoreline? “We've focused on - how can we simplify and streamline the product to provide these capabilities?,” said Binyamin.
Ways in which MapInfo v8.0 addresses this challenge:
- enterprise installation and support, in addition to interoperability and data access, and Oracle Workspace and Data Versioning.

- OGC Web Services built into the product for the third release in a row, with new enhancements.

- Support for new data formats.

- Map creation and editing.

- Free online training.
Because the robustness of the release prevents an indepth description of each new feature, the rest of this article will focus on one of the more important areas: enterprise installation and support, which includes interoperability and data versioning, with Oracle and data access, followed by a listing of other new enhancements and features.

Enterprise Installation and Support

MapInfo has re-architected several pieces of the software including the installer as well as the operation of the product itself. “When you're installing in the Terminal Services environment, the installer automatically detects that environment and performs the proper steps to provide that type of capability,” Binyamin explained. “The product itself is aware of how Terminal Services manages different users and user profiles and therefore adapts all the per user configurable files that MapInfo comes with such as your preferred tools that you'd like to load or your preferred linestyles and abbreviations. It does the right thing in terms of how those files are being copied over and manages it to make sure the operation of the software is consistent.

“We also continued to re-acquire and re-certify the product for the Microsoft XP logo certification. We have found this process has helped us, as well as our customers, in more ways than one. What the logo assures us and our customers is that the product will install successfully without adversely affecting any other product on that system and that level of approvals actually provided by Microsoft. There are many things that a product like MapInfo Pro needs to do in order to install successfully, such as connect to RDBMS systems such as Oracle, IBM, etc. as well as install OpenGL for 3D manipulation, install some fonts in system files, and some reporting capabilities that we include with the product. We want those changes to occur seamlessly so that any other application works directly out of the box and is not adversely affected.

“The other important aspect of the XP certification is the whole recovery that Installer now mandates, meaning if you deleted by mistake several files from your MapInfo directory or those files have been corrupted for some reason, the product has an “auto” repair that the certification insures that the product can do,” noted Binyamin. Lastly, the user interface of the product has guidelines in terms of how dialogs need to be designed and the consistency of dialogs are also part of the logo certification process. That also includes the ability to work in visually impaired mode that Microsoft XP and the Windows 2000 operating system provides. This makes the product compliant with the section 508 software requirement for government agencies for the visually impaired.

What Oracle provides is the ability to have multiple versions of the same file on the server itself. This is important to MapInfo customers for both process and analysis. “One of the exciting features that we implement in this release that has a fair amount of new user interface changes is our Oracle Workspace or the server side data versioning product,” Binyamin remarked, adding: “For example, parcel mapping agencies that manage the parcel maps and taxation are looking at different maps of the city, and at any given time they have an “official” map that represents the current state of the parcels they're managing. They would also like to have maps that are being updated by multiple engineers and derive the data from the base map, then start adding additional parcels and maybe plans that developers are submitting or new changes they're proposing to some of the infrastructure changes they would like to make. Sometimes there is another layer of approval that needs to be obtained, and those suggestions must be reviewed before those changes become the official map for that agency. In the past, often engineers or drafters were required to send those data files independently to the reviewers or the reviewers had to come and get them. There was no effective way of doing that in a centralized environment.”

“By leveraging Oracle Workspace technology we can reduce the data redundancy that those types of multiple versions create and create that link and relationship between the original or the official data as well as the data that is being changed,” said Binyamin. “Telecommunications companies have existing infrastructures, whether it's cell towers or fibre network, and they also have planned or anticipated “what if” scenarios showing where they would like to expand. They want to run some scenarios to determine what kind of marketshare will they catch, how much will it cost, etc. They want to do that with respect to the live data that is now the official data they have, so by using the Oracle Workspace technology they have that capability.”

“From a temporal perspective, Oracle Workspace technology allows you to keep the data for Q1, Q2, Q3 on a per quarter basis and you can analyze your business that way or you can do it in a larger period of time, for years,” Binyamin noted. “You can actually compare the same map in terms of different values and how that data has changed.”

Oracle provides a command line interface or API to interact and interface with their versioning technology. In MapInfo they have implemented an extensive user interface to make that user interface easy and meaningful for desktop users who are not database experts.

With the versioning technology, users can version enable tables. When you open a table and request to see all the selected workspaces, you will see on the right is a list of all the tables that are version enabled. If you see a plus sign next to them, you will see that they have more than one file, meaning more than one version of that table.

If you make edits to the table, then you have the ability to refresh or merge each child to the parent. You can refresh and update the records from the parent to the child, or child to the parent. Sometimes you want to refresh the data you've received from the parent and sometimes you want to merge the child to the parent once the approval process is gone through.

This capability provides conflict resolution when merging data. If you get data from the parent table, work on it and update it, then as it's a server table. If the data gets updated by another user, you have a dialog that tells you the data has been updated or changed.

In summary, below are listed the main features of the new v8.0 as described in the Power Point demonstration:

Vector and Raster Formats

-MapInfo Universal Translator updated to include DGN 8.0 and the latest DWG and DXF formats.
-Direct open of CSV files.
-Direct open of ARC Grid format.
-Import OGC GML version 2.1 format.
-Updated GPS tracking utility w/support for Garmin protocol including USB connection.
-Support for ASRP version 1.2 raster format.
-Save Window As supports new formats: GIF And LZW TIF.

Map creation & editing

-Ability to draw orthogonal polygons.
-Support for stream digitising. (Draw polylines and polygons without clicking).
      -Node limit per object increased to 134 million nodes.
-It is now possible to set the default editing style individually for different layers.
-A number of new thematic templates have been added.

-New options in the Distance Calculator
      -Calculate distances to nearest line or region border

-In the File Open dialog boxes, The default file type is changed to Workspace when the Workspace shortcut button is chosen.
-When opening .TXT, CSV, WKS and XLS files it is possible to automatically save a copy of the file while opening it.
-Layer Control dialog box has been made larger
      -Display longer layer names and more layers without scrolling.
      -Tool tip option for display of full path and file name.
-SQL Select dialog box is larger and each box can hold 1024 characters (previously it was 256).
-Support for the mouse wheel in Browser windows

-New Belgian Coordinate System
-Additional British National Grid Coordinate System
-Guernsey Grid Coordinate System
-Hellenic Geodetic Reference System
-Baltic Projections (Lithuanian and Latvian)
-New Zealand Geodetic Datum 2000
-Chinese Coordinate Systems

-New ConnectObjects() function
-New Nearest and Farthest statements
-Register CSV files
-Customer sort order for Ind Value thematic legend
-Support for new swatch sizes in thematic legends
-Orthogonal polygon creation
-Multi-column legend alignment
-Transparent patterns on same layer
-Export windows to additional formats
-Uploading and converting MapInfo custom geometries into valid geometries for remote databases.
-Creating legends on a live table.
-MapBasic support for the increase in nodes

-Supported Operating Systems
      -Windows 98 SE
      -Windows 2000 SP4
      -Windows NT 4.0 SP6a
      -Windows XP Professional SP2 (certified)
      -Windows XP Home SP2 (certified
      -Installation support for Windows 2003 Server, Terminal Services and Citrix
-Remote Database Access (Spatial)
      -SQL Server 2000 (SpatialWare 4.8.1)
      -Informix 9.4 (SpatialWare 4.5.2)
      -Oracle Spatial 10G, 10G Locator and 9iR2
-Remote Database Access (tabular and X,Y data)
      -Oracle 9iR2, Oracle 10G
      -MS Access XP
      -MS SQL Server 2000
      -Informix 9.4

-With the launch of MapInfo Pro v8.0, MapInfo Training will be providing 5 free Web Based Training lessons to each user in the Americas.


North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) has selected Infotech Enterprises Limited, a leading geospatial services company, to implement GE Smallworld GIS technology within NDPL for GIS mapping of the entire distribution network and provide GIS based solutions for operations resource management. NDPL has selected Infotech Enterprises after an in-depth study of the leading GIS technologies available in the market.

RSI, a wholly owned subsidiary of ITT Industries, announced that effective April 6, 2005 it has entered into an agreement with Sensor Systems Inc., of Sterling, Virginia, to become a distributor for Sensor Systems' RemoteView products in the UK, France and Italy. RemoteView is the premier software application for importing, viewing, reporting and analyzing both government and commercial remote sensing data in demanding operational environments.

MIRS, one of Israel's cellular operators officially announced that they have signed an agreement with Telmap, a technology provider of mobile mapping applications, to provide a mobile navigation solution for the MIRS GPS-enabled phones (iDEN-based technology).

POWER Engineers, Inc (POWER) and Orion Technology are pleased to announce a strategic partnership combining POWER's state-of-the-art GIS consulting solutions with Orion's award winning web-GIS Product suite.

NAVTEQ, global provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, has been selected by Global Navigation, Inc., a leading mobile GPS device sales company committed to bringing GPS products to North America, to provide NAVTEQ(TM) maps of the United States and Canada for integration into its newest integrated portable DVD navigation device. Global Navigation, Inc. began shipping this new device, the GPS/DVD GD-70, under the INITIAL brand name to both brick and mortar and online retailers in mid-May 2005.

Pictometry International Corp., digital, aerial oblique imagery provider and Positron Public Safety Systems, provider of fully integrated, end-to-end public safety solutions for call handling and dispatching, announced that Pictometry's measuring software and digital aerial photo databases will be embedded as a built-in component of the Positron Power MAP product. Under the terms of the joint business partnership agreement, the combined product offering will be available via both companies to new and existing Positron customers who want to add it to their Power MAP system.


A collection of USGS before-and-after satellite image pairs for 80 sites around the world is featured in a new atlas documenting global environmental changes released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The 332 page large-format atlas, One Planet, Many People: Atlas of Our Changing Environment was produced by UNEP in cooperation with USGS, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the University of Maryland. The atlas also highlights more than 30 environmental case studies supported by narratives, images, and ground photographs, and a compilation of recently released environmental maps.

Intergraph announced that Dallas County, Iowa, one of the top 10 fastest growing counties in the United States, is using Intergraph Web mapping solutions to speed delivery of customer requests for geospatial data. The county created a new, easily navigable Web site,, enabling users to create maps and visualize other location-specific information from home or office computers, thus eliminating trips to the county courthouse. Not only does the new site save time and money for citizens and businesses, but it also allows county personnel to focus on other functions to support the area's tremendous growth.

NavCom Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deere & Company (NYSE:DE), announced that 12 of the 40 semifinalist teams competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) 2005 Grand Challenge for autonomous robotic ground vehicles, are using NavCom's SF-2050 GPS receivers and relying on the superior positioning of the StarFire™ Network. NavCom's StarFire Network is a global satellite based augmentation system (SBAS) that provides precise positioning accuracies within a few centimeters of truth. The StarFire Network is used in land, marine and aeronautical applications in fields ranging from surveying and machine control to offshore and defense.

KeySpan Communications, owner, operator, and developer of a 75,000-mile optical communications network, has won a 2005 BE Award for the management of its fiber network in the New York metropolitan area. The award category was "Geospatial: Communications."

The BE Awards of Excellence, which are presented at the annual BE Conference, honor the extraordinary work of Bentley users improving the world's infrastructure.

MapInfo Corporation, global provider of location intelligence solutions, announced that OnBoard, LLC, a national provider of community, school, neighborhood, home sales and other data to leading real estate brokerages, has built its Neighborhood Navigator(TM) product suite on MapInfo's Envinsa(TM) Location Intelligence platform.

NowAuto, Inc. announced that wholly owned subsidiary Navicom will launch the q network with the state-of-the-art gedas mapping in Mexico. The mapping system is superior to what is in the marketplace today. The new gedas system will have the ability to change the look and feel of the mapping application. It will also provide enhanced quality and quantity of street level mapping in Mexico. "It is important for us to have a premium mapping application in Mexico because of our focus and ability to deliver EGPRS services in Mexico.

What Is GIS: A profession, niche or tool? White paper prepared in June 2005 by GITA. The Power Panel on this topic was covered in a March issue of GISWeekly.


Timmons Group, an award-winning engineering and geospatial consultant headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, recently hired Kirk McClurkin as a Senior Project Manager. McClurkin will spearhead the opening of a new Timmons Group office for the Technology Services sector in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton named Dr. P. Patrick Leahy as acting director of the U.S. Geological Survey. Leahy will take over from Dr. Charles G. Groat, who has announced his resignation, effective on June 17, 2005, to accept an appointment at the University of Texas at Austin. A permanent replacement for USGS director must be nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and GSA's Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM) have selected Avineon, Inc. to provide full life cycle software development and maintenance services for HUD's Public and Indian Housing (PIH) Physical Assessment Sub-System (PASS).

New Products

TNTmips is a professional geospatial analysis system providing a complete self-contained integration of a fully featured GIS, RDBMS, and automated image processing system with CAD, TIN, surface modeling, map layout and innovative data publishing tools. All this capability is available in a single integrated system at one price with an identical interface, functionality, and geodata structure for use on Mac OS X, Windows, Sun Solaris, and popular Linux platforms. The interface, database text content, messages, map production, and all other internal aspects of TNTmips have been localized for use in 27 languages including Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Turkish, Thai, Bengali along with all of the romance languages. The professional version of TNTmips is in use in over 120 nations while the FREE TNTlite version (restricted in project size) is used in almost every nation for educational, self-learning, and small projects (e.g., archaeological sites, neighborhood planning, and precision farming).

The revised and updated second edition of Dr. Roger Tomlinson's Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers, which provides planning wisdom for implementing a geographic information system (GIS), is now available from ESRI Press.

This paperback edition adds 2004-2005 computer performance numbers, cost-benefit analysis, data handling loads, and more. An expanded index for easier reference and a rewritten chapter 10 make this groundbreaking book even more relevant to real-world situations. Tomlinson leads readers through an implementation method that has been proven successful over many years of use in public- and private-sector organizations.

NAVTEQ, global provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, has signed a license agreement with TomTom, a leading navigation solution provider, to feature NAVTEQ(TM) maps in TomTom's new RIDER product, which is TomTom's first navigation product made specifically for motorcycles worldwide. The RIDER product will be launched later this year.

NAC Geographic Products Inc. has announced that the GPS and NAC enhanced wireless location based services application - Locamagic has been released to Telus Mobility of Canada. This application is designed for all GPS cellphones to provide address management, locating, navigating, local business searching, cellphone tracking and friends' location monitoring services for more than 30 countries in North America, Europe, South America and Asia-Pacific region (the geographic data are provided by Microsoft MapPoint Web Service).

ESRI is currently shipping ArcGIS 9.1 Schematics. This extension to ArcGIS allows users to generate, visualize, and manipulate diagrams from their data.

ArcGIS Schematics provides the tools to work with data from almost any geometric network or tabular format with “from” and “to” connectivity in a wide variety of geographic and schematic representations. It also automates the generation of schematic diagrams from spatial and nonspatial data, and changes to the data are reflected in the schematic diagrams.

Customers who purchase a Magellan RoadMate 300 and register it through September 30, 2005 at will receive a free 256 MB Secure Digital memory card containing detailed street maps of their region (a U.S. $50 value).

Tadpole Technology Group's Geospatial Solutions Division announced that GO! Sync (ArcPad) has met the criteria for certification by the National Association of GIS-Centric Software (NAGCS). This GO! Sync product automates and streamlines the use of ESRI's ArcPad software for data collection, GPS, and inspections.

DAT/EM Systems International, a developer of digital mapping software, has released SUMMIT EVOLUTION software, Version 3.5.

SUMMIT EVOLUTION V3.5 has many upgrades and enhancements. Some of these enhancements include, but are not limited to:
- ADS40 orientation has been updated to provide smoother panning at sub-pixel levels.

- New Blue Marble support for vertical datum's

- Semi-automated depression marking tool for AutoCAD

- Easy line editing using new Eline tool.

- STEREO CAPTURE drawing and editing tools have been updated to reflect SNAP state in SUPER/IMPOSITION
GE Energy has announced the latest release of its Smallworld Field Information System product. This latest addition to the Smallworld 4 product suite provides increased access to spatial data across the organization, and introduces integration with GPS technology.

Blue Marble Geographics is pleased to announce the release of TIGER/Line® 2004 Data package with updated TIGER® Translation software. This package contains important updates to the TIGER® data set, featuring realigned street feature coordinates for much of the country and a new record type providing spatial metadata for each feature in a TIGER/Line® file. Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping, LLC announced the release of Leica Photogrammetry Suite (LPS) V8.7 Service Pack 2 (SP2) - ADS40 Update. The update provides users the ability to process images captured with the Leica ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensor. Concurrently released are updates for Leica GPro and ORIMA Orientation Management Software. These releases work together to facilitate a complete digital workflow in LPS using ADS40 data.

ESRI currently shipping its new PLTS for ArcGIS 9.1-Aeronautical Solution. The application streamlines high-quality, high-quantity aeronautical chart production by combining cartographic editing tools, database models, aeronautical symbols, and styles.

ESRI announced that its 2005/2010 data is now available in demographic reports and maps on Business Analyst Online at These data updates reveal changes and trends in regional growth, household wealth, and employment and include
- 2005/2010 demographic data updates and forecasts from ESRI

- 2005 consumer expenditure data from ESRI

- 2005 data from ESRI's segmentation system, Community Tapestry

- 2005 Market Potential data from Mediamark Research Inc. and ESRI

- January 2005 business data from infoUSA

- 2005 TrafficMetrix data, version 4.1, from MPSI Systems Inc.

Around the Web

What is Google, Anyway? By Dan Mitchell, The New York Times, June 18, 2005 --IS Google a media company? Jon Friedman, the media columnist for MarketWatch (, bristles at the notion.

The question came up last week when the company's stock market value surpassed that of Time Warner. One answer is: Sure, Google is a media company, except when it isn't. The other answer is: It doesn't really matter anyway.

Project examines possibilities for GIS - by Carl Lindquist, The York Dispatch, June 21, 2005 --Log onto the popular Mapquest Web site, and you can find driving directions to virtually any address in the United States.

The same type of mapping technology is used by the county assessment office, 911, the county planning commission and municipalities to plot information.

Upcoming Events

The Where 2.0 Conference
Date: June 29 - 30, 2005
Place: Westin St. Francis San Francisco, CA USA
Location-aware technologies and services--GPS, RFID, WLAN, cellular networks, and networked sensors--are driving a renaissance in business strategy and opportunity, paving the way for a growing array of capabilities around local search, mapping, mobile social applications, business analytics, asset tracking, and e-commerce. O'Neill Media, Inc. has launched Where 2.0, a forum for surveying the technological landscape surrounding location-determining technologies. Join us at Where 2.0 and learn how vendors, application developers, and consumer web companies are connecting customers, products, and enterprises in real time. Whether you're incorporating location into your business or blazing a new geospatial trail, Where 2.0 pinpoints the people and projects opening this new frontier.