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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Location Intelligence Upgrades with MapInfo Professional 10.0
By Susan Smith
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PBBI global product manager, Moshe Binyamin talked about how MapInfo Professional 10.0 now includes a redesigned intuitive user interface, a built-in support for Layered PDF generation, and access to PostGIS, an open source database,.
MapInfo’s goal is to become the “industry leader” for business analysts and GIS professionals who are using location intelligence. “We believe we can achieve that by focusing on three major objectives, the first is improving the overall user experience, the second is interoperability and finally customization,” Binyamin said.
Improving the user experience means improving productivity, which in this release translates to the design of a new intuitive user interface that anticipates users’ next steps, and the ability to create cartographically pleasing maps that also convey the story the users want to convey. According to Binyamin, IT is taking a more active role in deploying and managing software and updates, so more efficient tools are needed.
Interoperability is an ongoing focus for MapInfo, with two aspects: first is accessing data where it lives which then means if data resides in a database, residing in a non marketable format, the user wants to be able to read that data directly without having to copy the data, and work with the data in its original form. “If you copy the data then you start to have multiple copies of it and you don’t know which one is the most current one, most likely you’re going to be working with the stale data because the original form is not the one you’re analyzing,” said Binyamin, adding that there are other challenges to copying data such as wasted space.
The second aspect is interoperability or functionality with other systems through the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) which is WMS, WFS as well as other PBBI products. MapInfo Professional 10.0 wants to be able to interoperate directly with PBBI products such as geocoding and DriveTime and leverage that functionality and bring it to the user.
MapInfo is also continuing to develop in the area of customization, with Basic and .net programming, as the most usable products are the ones that are customized for specific use.
“In the area of productivity you will see we’ve actually taken two major areas of the product, specifically the layer control and the toolbars and menus, which are basically the major mechanisms by which the customer is interacting with the software - and we redesigned them for efficiency and usability,” explained Binyamin. Customers reported that between 50 and 70 percent of an average project lifecycle is spent in the map window and there’s very little that can be done to the map window without using layer control. “That’s where we wanted to start in addressing the area of productivity.”
In the area of “accessing data where it lives, we are now offering an exclusive port for SQL Server 2008 Spatial,” said Binyamin. “Last year Microsoft announced the ability to store spatial data inside their database and with 9.5 we were offering the ability to read the data and display it in MapInfo Pro with no middleware required. With 10.0 we now offer the ability to read and write that data that you may choose to store in SQL Server 2008. We also extended support to Microsoft Office 2007, specifically two formats have changed from older versions. The Excel has a different format -- Excel XX. Microsoft Office has a new format, we support both formats, so now were supporting both the old and the new formats.”
PostGIS is the open source spatial database that allows users to store spatial data. Using MapInfo Pro they can read and write that spatial data directly.
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“If they want to change the map we introduced this concept of dynamic elements and dynamic scalebars that automatically change as you manipulate the map. We also have other capabilities such as the proportion overlap tool which is a powerful tool where you if you have a non standard geography that you would like to populate with populate layers and if you have another geography, say a county layer that has that population that you would like to aggregate, the proportion overlap tool will do it for you more quickly than in previous releases.”
The MapCAD toolset introduced in MapInfo Pro 9.5 has 40 new tools for CAD editing. In this release additional and improved existing tools have been added.
MapInfo 10.0 has icons that have been redesigned for clarity and to take into account users who may have color blindness in the red and green spectrum. Another feature is that users can now dock toolbars and menus around the application.
Enhanced layer control includes 30 separate enhancements. The primary enhancement is that layer control has become a dialog, that can be stretched and sized to accommodate layers, plus it doesn’t need to be closed. “As soon as you change something it immediately is reflected in the maps,” Binyamin pointed out. Users can size, float or dock the layer control wherever they want. They can also choose multiple layers within the same map or multiple layer in different maps.
Operations that took three or more clicks to execute were changed to one or two click operations.
MapInfo Pro 9.5 had read only support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 including spatial data, but the 10.0 release provides direct native support for 2008 including spatial which means it can store, upload and download both geography and geometry of different spatial types that SQL Server Spatial supports.
Also included is a tool called Easy Loader that allows a user to take MapInfo tab files and populate the database without middleware technology required. “All you need in MapInfo Pro and SQL Server Spatial to start working,” said Binyamin.
PostGIS was also added to the release. PostGIS is an extension to PostGresSQL, which is an open source database that stores spatial data. PostGIS sits on top of that and allows users to not only store numbers and values but also spatial data and offers both read and write capabilities. Customers can download PostGIS, upload data to it and work with MapInfo Pro 10.0 to read and write spatial data into the database.
From the press release: "Location-based information offers a springboard to a wealth of important geographic analytics such as customer buying patterns, demographic and lifestyle information, routing directions, traffic patterns and more," said Mark Smith, CEO & executive vice president of research, Ventana Research. "The advancements in usability in MapInfo Professional 10.0 reduces the time it takes to perform simple to complex location related tasks and projects. This significant improvement benefits organizations when they are evaluating their competition, examining potential customer opportunities, aligning resources across geographies to maximize and predict market potential for improving operational and financial performance."
Top News of the Week
See what’s new at GISCafe Today, a blog written by GISCafe and GISWeekly Editor, Susan Smith.
NASA and Japan released a new digital topographic map of Earth Monday that covers more of our planet than ever before. The map was produced with detailed measurements from NASA's Terra spacecraft.
The new global digital elevation model of Earth was created from nearly 1.3 million individual stereo-pair images collected by the Japanese Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or ASTER, instrument aboard Terra. NASA and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, known as METI, developed the data set. It is available online to users everywhere at no cost.
For visualizations of the new ASTER topographic data, visit: NASA website Data users can download the ASTER global digital elevation model
First American Spatial Solutions (FASS), a member of The First American Corporation family of companies and a leader in spatial and natural hazard risk solutions, announced that it has digitally mapped more than 120 million of America's property parcels - something no other public or private entity has been able to accomplish previously. See last week’s GISWeekly feature story
Trimble announced that it has launched Trimble VRS-iScope service in the U.S. The add-on service offers Trimble VRS Now subscribers in Florida, Iowa, Illinois and Colorado the ability to track and manage their assets in real time, as well as view their session history and rover information.
Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances
Intermap Technologies announced a new data distribution agreement with Digital Data Services, a provider of mapping products and GIS services, to offer Intermap’s uniformly accurate 3D digital elevation models, orthorectified radar images, contour line maps, and optimized triangulated irregular network (TIN) models worldwide.
The addition of Intermap’s NEXTMap countrywide datasets to Digital Data Services’ suite of products and services give geospatial professionals immediate access to consistently reliable map data, thereby allowing them to perform wide-area spatial analysis in a more timely and cost efficient manner.
DigitalGlobe, a global content provider of high-resolution world imagery solutions, announced that it has signed a contract to extend DigitalGlobe’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) with NGA for $12.5 million per month. The SLA extension provides NGA with continued access to the WorldView-1 satellite. NGA has agreed to extend the SLA through March 31, 2010 for a total of $100 million during the extension period, with an option for NGA to extend the contract for an additional nine months on the same terms, from April 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010.
ESRI and First American Spatial Solutions announced the release of the Risk Analysis Solution for ArcGIS, a complete location-based risk analysis solution for the insurance industry. Risk Analysis Solution for ArcGIS can be used by insurance companies to view and analyze data at the policy and portfolio level, allowing insurers to assess concentration of risk and increase and improve underwriting decisions.
ImageTree Corporation has signed agreements with GeoEye, Inc., and MJ Harden Associates, Inc., enabling the three companies to cooperatively create, market, sell and deliver commercially viable, management inventory solutions to the forestry industry.
GeoEye and its wholly owned subsidiary MJ Harden are premier, complementary providers of timely, accurate and accessible location intelligence, products and services.
GeoEye, Inc. announced new government awards totaling more than $25 million to supply geospatial products and services. Under awards during the first and second quarters of 2009, GeoEye will provide the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) a significant amount of value-added, imagery-based geospatial-intelligence products. Imagery processing and production will be performed at GeoEye's advanced imagery processing centers located in St. Louis, MO, Thornton, CO, and Dulles, VA. These awards are in addition to the Service Level Agreement (SLA) modification to the company's existing NextView contract with the NGA announced Dec. 10, 2008.
Trimble announced the release of Trimble Construction Manager version 2.4, a remote construction asset management solution. The new version offers fast and user-friendly maps provided by Google Maps API Premier and a rugged new GPS locator unit designed for the harshest construction site environments.
Trimble announced that its Trimble Outdoors family of lifestyle applications are now available for customers of T-Mobile USA, Inc. on their selection of GPS-enabled phones. With the AllSport GPS(TM), Geocache Navigator and Trimble Outdoors applications, T-Mobile USA customers have an easy-to-use and affordable way to harness the power of GPS, directly on their cell phone as they participate in outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking, fishing, biking, running, walking or even geocaching.
Getmapping has released details of its new ‘AZICAM’ oblique camera system. The system is used to capture sharp full color oblique digital images of towns and cities. When combined with traditional vertical imagery and desktop software users have a rich multidimensional viewing environment, that can be explored, measured and even exported for use in presentations or as building blocks for full 3D modeling.
The Sidwell Company, the provider of integrated land records management solutions and comprehensive GIS, photogrammetric, and software development services, is pleased to announce the planned release of Parcel Builder Version 3.4 at the upcoming ESRI International User Conference, July 13-17, 2009, in San Diego. Parcel Builder was first introduced in the GIS marketplace in 2002, and is currently deployed to more than 700 users across the country.
ALK Technologies, Inc. announced the release of PC*MILER 23, the North American transportation industry's first routing and mileage solution to include carbon emissions and intermodal analysis functionality. PC*MILER's twenty-third annual edition also includes critical map data updates such as truck restrictions and truck-specific toll costs.
The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announced the publication of the 2009 Geospatial Technology Report. This 144-page report contains detailed information on the complexity, direction, and completeness of geographic information system (GIS) projects being implemented at 515 organizations—a 9% increase in participation from the 2008 edition. Copies of the report may be ordered online at GITA's Website, or by contacting GITA headquarters at 303-337-0513 or Email Contact. For information on participating in the surveys for the 2009 report, contact Kathryn Hail at 303-337-0513 or Email Contact.
Lowrance, a brand by Navico, a leading global manufacturer of leisure navigation electronics, has announced the launch of the Endura series - its all-new range of next generation handheld GPS devices.
The new units bring a whole new navigation experience to the outdoor enthusiast, combining touch-screen functionality and quick access buttons for unprecedented ease of use, while also offering unrivalled flexibility and access to the widest possible range of third party and community content.
Around the Web
Dashboard for Visualization in Geospatial Intelligence Magazine (blog), June 30, 2009
http://gisdk.blogspot.com/2009/06/geo-spatial-solutions-in-challenging.html,GIScovery Channel (blog), June 29, 2009
Google Makes a Case That It Isn’t So Big , June 28, 2008, by Miguel Helft, The New York Times (registration required) -- “Competition is a click away,” says Dana Wagner of Google, who has been on a public relations mission for the company.
|The Geoinformatics Forum Salzburg 2009|
|Date:||July 7 - 10, 2009|
The Geoinformatics Forum Salzburg 2009 focuses on an international GIScience audience, communicating in English and sharing an interest in translating new methods and techniques into a broad range ofin geoinformatics.
|BIM, GIS, and Carlson Software Webinar|
|Date:||July 9, 2009|
We're all hearing about BIM, the architectural term for Building Information Management. In this webinar, guest presenter Felicia Provencal of Hawaii Design Modeling will explain how BIM applies to civil engineering, is related to GIS, and how Carlson Software tackles both.
|2009 ESRI Survey & Engineering GIS Summit|
|Date:||July 11 - 14, 2009|
|Place:||San Diego , CA USA|
Discover how to enhance your business practices and expand your capabilities with the technology that is shaping the future of geospatial data management and analysis.
|2009 ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit|
|Date:||July 11 - 14, 2009|
|Place:||San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA USA
Attend the only geospatial conference dedicated to homeland security, now a convenient concurrent event with the 2009 ESRI International User Conference.
|2009 ESRI Education User Conference|
|Date:||July 11 - 14, 2009|
|Place:||San Diego, CA USA|
The EdUC is your best opportunity to explore how GIS promotes critical thinking, computer literacy, and time- and money-saving best practices for institutions.
|2009 ESRI Business GIS Summit|
|Date:||July 12 - 15, 2009|
|Place:||San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA USA
Explore the value of GIS for your organization. Whether you’re new to geographic information system (GIS) technology or looking for innovative ways to develop your current projects, be part of this collaborative forum that brings business professionals and industry leaders together. See how business GIS solutions provide a more competitive edge, drive business innovation, and increase ROI; learn more about the critical advantages of GIS at this premier event.
|2009 ESRI International User Conference|
|Date:||July 13 - 17, 2009|
|Place:||San Diego, CA USA|
This conference is your ultimate GIS resource, a place to extend your GIS skills, connect with your GIS community, and reenergize yourself and your work.
|Applied Geoinformatics for Society and Environment (AGSE)|
|Date:||July 13 - 18, 2009|
|Place:||Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences
Schellingstraße 24, Stuttgart, Germany
We would like to draw your attention to our “Summer School and Conference for Applied Geoinformatics for Society and Environment” which will take place from 13- 17 July at the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences, Germany.
|Date:||July 13 - 17, 2009|
|Place:||Cape Town, South Africa|
The venue for IGARSS 09 has been chosen as the University of Cape Town on the slopes of Table Mountain. The choice of Cape Town, the first time that IGARSS will be held on the African continent, represents a milestone in the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society’s strategic objective to broaden international participation, particularly in the developing countries.
|GEOBrasil Summit 2009|
|Date:||July 14 - 16, 2009|
São Paulo , Brazil
GEOBrasil Summit presents new trends, products and services earmarked for integrated solutions connected with mapping, localisation, navigation, geographic localisation and analysis for management of public and private companies. Integrated events: GEOBrasil, GNSS Navis, GEO Oil & Gas and GEOCities.
|2009 Society for Conservation GIS (SCGIS)|
|Date:||July 18 - 21, 2009|
|Place:||Northwoods Resort and Conference Center
Big Bear Lake, CA USA
ESRI encourages you to be part of this compelling conference and take this opportunity to address the challenges of connecting across boundaries for conservation.
|Date:||July 27 - 31, 2009|
|Place:||Downtown Vancouver, BC, Canada|
GeoWeb conferences focus exclusively on geographic information systems, the Internet, and the economic potential associated with their convergence. GeoWeb 2009 will continue the tradition of focusing on the reciprocal impact of the Web and Geographic Information as well as the ever-increasing need for collaboration in light of global economic and environmental concerns. GeoWeb 2009 is for everyone!
|2009 URISA/NENA Addressing Conference|
|Date:||August 4 - 6, 2009|
|Place:||Providence, RI USA|
This conference has evolved from URISA's Street Smart and Address Savvy Conference (held from 1999 to 2005). In 2006 (Nashville), the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) joined URISA as a full partner in this educational program and the conference was re-named to the Geospatial Integration for Public Safety Conference.
|Date:||August 4 - 7, 2009|
|Place:||Bali International Convention Center
Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Indonesia
SEASC is a biennale event of ASEAN FLAG (ASEAN Federation of Land Surveying and Geomatics), supported by FIG (International Federation of Surveyors), and as well by some other international affiliated organizations