In the fall of 2017, Blue Marble took the fashion world by storm, with the release of GIS themed T shirts. To our surprise we were not invited to New York’s Fashion Week … (but to be fair we didn’t know it was Fashion Week until 10 minutes ago). Nonetheless we are offended, in response we are going full buzzfeed by releasing a top five list of our best tee shirts.
1. Hipster Geographer
2. The lesser known Fox series
4. For those days when you can’t even
5. For when you just want to Flatten the world
Obviously the fashion elite are missing out on the wonder that is the Blue Marble Tee shirt line. You don’t have to be like them, because all of these and more are available right now!
Product News, User Stories, Events, and a Chance to Win a Copy of Global Mapper Every Month
As noted just last month, 2018 looks set to be a memorable year at Blue Marble. With the Pixels-to-Point™ tool creating palpable excitement in the UAV industry, our sales team is already hitting the road to show off this groundbreaking addition to the LiDAR Module. This week, we made it to the combined ILMF/ASPRS conference in Denver, kicking off a year of traveling across several continents to showcase this and other Global Mapper developments. Check out the events section below to find out when we will be coming to a city near you.
Also in this month’s newsletter, we conclude the Brief History of Global Mapper: we introduce our business partner in Brazil; we announce our Global Mapper training locations for 2018; and as always, we test your geographic aptitude with another round of the Where in the World Geo-Challenge.
At the time of writing, Blue Marble software developers are finalizing the last few lines of code; the testing staff is preparing to give the product a green light; the documentation team is making sure that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed; and the folks in the sales department are preparing for the usual flurry of activity that comes hot on the heels of a product release. In just under a week, version 19.1 of Global Mapper will be available for download. Look out for a completely redesigned vector querying tool; more window docking options; a new tool for creating a 3D mesh in the Pixels-to-Points tool; and much more.
While credit for Global Mapper’s expanding worldwide popularity is usually attributed to the evangelization efforts of our loyal and eager user community, regional business partners and resellers are becoming an increasingly important asset in Blue Marble’s business development strategy. In the latest Reseller Spotlight, we hear from Laurent Martin from EngeSat in Brazil as he shares some insight on how Global Mapper has helped him grow his business throughout Latin America.
In the third and (for the time being) final chapter of this gripping saga, we outline the developmental highlights of Global Mapper from 2011 to the present. When we left you last month, Global Mapper had just been acquired by Blue Marble Geographics, and thankfully, Mike Childs had been persuaded to come along as well. While there were those who saw this transition as a death knell for Global Mapper, the last seven years have provided emphatic proof that nothing could be further from the truth.
In January of each year, the Blue Marble training team delivers a full three-day Global Mapper and LiDAR Module class to customers from our home state of Maine, along with a few others “from away”, to use a local term. This class gives us an opportunity to fine tune the curriculum before taking the show on the road throughout the rest of the year. Next up will be Adelaide, South Australia in April followed by stop in London in May. We then visit several cities throughout North America, including Seattle, Houston, and Orlando. Full details including registration information are available on the Blue Marble training site.
Last year, we surveyed Global Mapper users to find out how they are using the software and which features or functions they find most useful. Almost without exception, the respondents cited Global Mapper’s ability to convert between an ever-expanding list of supported geospatial file formats as one of the most important facets of the application. Did you know that the process of converting or reprojecting multiple files can be performed quickly and efficiently using Global Mapper’s embedded Batch Convert/Reproject tool? Tucked away in the File menu, this powerful application within an application, does exactly what its name suggests. Simply load up all of the source files, enter the required settings for the output files and sit back while Global Mapper’s conversion engine does all the hard work.
One of the best things about a Blue Marble product release is the fact that it provides us with a forum for speaking directly to our customers throughout the world in a live, interactive webinar. Later this month, we will be hosting an hour-long session introducing some of the highlights of the latest release of Global Mapper. Scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (Eastern US time) on February 27, this webinar will provide an opportunity to see the latest additions to Global Mapper and to ask questions of Blue Marble’s applications specialists. Registration is required and space is limited.
An increasingly vocal minority of Geo-Challenge entrants have expressed the opinion that the monthly challenge is not, well, challenging enough. So once again, we up the ante for this month’s contest. Before that, however, kudos must go to Bob Downie, Consultant Petroleum Geologist at Downie GeoScience for correctly identifying the five locations in January’s challenge. Bob will shortly be receiving a complimentary copy of Global Mapper. Click here to see how well you did.
This month, another copy of Global Mapper 19 is on the line. Click the link below and take a stab at all five of the geographic features. Good luck!
The final chapter in the saga of this venerable software’s two-decade long adventure, picks up where we left off in the second installment. The year was 2011 and if you recall, our hero — the dashing and indefatigable Global Mapper — had seemingly been kidnapped by the ruthless and malevolent Blue Marble Geographics. At least that was the impression of many of the software’s most loyal disciples at the time.
“Global Mapper has been swallowed by some faceless, uncaring corporate behemoth. Gone are the days of the freewheeling, interactive development philosophy of the early years.” Or so they feared. In reality, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Global Mapper Becomes a Team Effort
While many of our detractors at the time assumed that Blue Mable looked loftily down on its customers from its executive offices atop some gleaming glass and steel skyscraper, the reality was that the company’s entire staff could have fit comfortably into one of the aforementioned building’s elevators. Spurred by the addition of Global Mapper to the company’s software offerings, Blue Marble would eventually see an expansion of its workforce but at the time it numbered no more than 20.
For you as a Global Mapper user, the most significant consequence of this transitional period and the years that followed was a rapid acceleration in the software’s development. Reaping the benefits of a supporting cast, Mike Childs was able to singularly apply his talents to the development of Global Mapper. Routine and mundane tasks, such as selling the fruits of his labor to customers, were left to a group of dedicated specialists. If the truth be told, one of the most difficult aspects of this transition was convincing Mike that he no longer needed to respond to each and every inquiry.
Needless to say, relinquishing control over something that you have caringly nurtured for many years is not always easy, but Global Mapper was becoming a team effort with each developer significantly contributing to the software’s functionality. If it were possible to quantify and graph Global Mapper’s evolution, 2011 was the year that the slope of the line began to steepen and the release of version 14 the following year proved this and served to silence the cynics.
Global Mapper Development from 2012 to Present
The bulleted list of new functionality, updated tools, performance improvements, and various bug fixes for version 14 alone was 10 pages long, a trend that has continued with successive releases. Condensing this into a manageable size for this Brief History does a disservice to the software. If you have a couple of hours to spare and you want the unabridged version, read the What’s New section in the software’s Help files. I guarantee you will be introduced to features and functions that you did not even know were included.
In late 2016, Global Mapper would undergo what was arguably the most significant update in its release history, at least from a superficial perspective. Out went the old “disco” logo, and its idiosyncratic interface design and in came a fresh new look with updated graphics, a more intuitive layout, and a bold new logo. What didn’t change was the powerful capability of the software and the continued improvements that were being made to its functionality.
While it’s fun and sometime enlightening to look over your shoulder and marvel at how far you have come, Blue Marble’s philosophy is very much focused on looking forward. Plans are already in the pipeline for Global Mapper version 20 and beyond. Thanks to the continued support of our growing customer base and their eagerness to participate in the collaborative development process that is unique to this remarkable application, we have a long list of new functionality that will be added over the coming years. Global Mapper is a project that will never be complete.
David McKittrick is a Senior Application Specialist at Blue Marble Geographics in Hallowell, Maine. A graduate of the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, McKittrick has spent over 25 years in the field of GIS and mapping, focusing on the application and implementation spatial technology. McKittrick has designed and delivered hundreds of GIS training classes, seminars, and presentations and has authored dozens of articles and papers for a variety industry and trade publications.
Blue Marble’s worldwide customer footprint could not have been achieved if it weren’t for the hard work of our network of business partners and software resellers. These dedicated individuals and companies provide a local presence in areas of the world that would otherwise have been out of reach. For their part, these partners have been able to establish successful businesses, both reselling and providing services on behalf of Blue Marble. This is certainly the case for EngeSat, a Blue Marble partner based in Brazil. For the latest in our Reseller Spotlight series, we recently chatted with EngeSat’s Director, Laurent Martin.
Tell us a little bit about EngeSat.
EngeSat was established in Curitiba, capital of the state of Paraná, southern Brazil. We began our business as a satellite image reseller in July 1997, nearly 21 years ago. At that time, the best commercially available imagery had a spatial resolution of 10 meters. That is still our core activity, but we now also sell software, develop some thematic applications, and offer data processing according to client specifications.
What are your target markets?
Our goal is to serve any potential user from all economic sectors: private, public, academic, and non-profit, whether they be in the geoprocessing industry or not. The common thread is their need to manipulate geographic information and to have direct access to data (satellite imagery, DEMs, etc.), tools (software, training), and to be able to apply this technology in their day-to-day activities. Of course, we have many long time well-established geoprocessing, consultancy, and engineering companies among our clients. Every day, new clients discover how easy it is to use Global Mapper for their projects and do geoprocessing on their own instead of depending on an external labor force.
What geographic area does EngeSat cover?
We basically serve Latin America — Mexico to Argentina, and some other Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries around the world.
I understand that you are a native French speaker. How challenging is it to work in Spanish and Portuguese?
I am a dual French and Brazilian citizen so Portuguese is not a problem. I began speaking Spanish in 1986 on a trip to Mexico, and my Spanish is getting better every day because I use it constantly and I love this language. However, I will confess that I rely also on a partner in Mexico, Ignacio, to proof read and edit text I write in Spanish for marketing, technical circulars, and publications. For everyday activities, I work in Portuguese, Spanish, English, and French.
Why were you originally interested in reselling Global Mapper?
My first contact with Global Mapper was in 2007, through a Brazilian business partner. We began using Global Mapper to help in preparing technical and commercial proposals for satellite imagery for our clients. We started offering Global Mapper to our clients as well but just as a data delivery tool. By 2010, the sales volume had increased and we needed a strategy to meet the demand. At that time, we placed orders for Global Mapper directly through the online electronic commerce system. Now we work directly with Blue Marble to manage the ordering process. In recent years, because of my personal interest in developing efficient solutions, we realized we could do much more than what we were doing with Global Mapper and also with the LiDAR Module when it was added, so it has become an increasingly important part of our business.
What is your favorite feature of Global Mapper?
I love it all. It is intuitive, straight forward, powerful, and solid. I love Global Mapper because I am able to do everything I want to do in terms of data processing in our projects. I often say to my clients, “Global Mapper will do everything you need, except serving you a cup of coffee”. But who knows, maybe Mike Childs is already working on that feature. Among so much functionality, the challenge is sometimes finding the right tool in the extensive menus and remembering how to find it again when needed. But as I use Global Mapper every day and I attended an official Global Mapper training class, it seems very straightforward.
You have translated Global Mapper into both Spanish and Portuguese versions. What effect has this had on your business?
The translation to Spanish has been available since version 17. Thanks to my partner Ignacio in Mexico who keeps updating new versions. The Portuguese version is a work in progress since I began working on it last year. It is about half way done and I want to complete the Portuguese version in the next few months.
The Spanish version is very much appreciated among Spanish speaking countries and it is definitely an excellent marketing asset, as it helps Spanish speaking users to fully explore the technical potential of the software. Thanks to the Global Mapper Sales Team who redirect inquiries from Latin America, sales have increased significantly and many clients even ask to migrate from a recently purchased English version to the Spanish version.
I would recommend to other Blue Marble partners around the world that they develop a version in their native language in order to get full access to their local market and create additional value for their business. Initially, it represents a significant quantity of work and time but it will provide immediate and permanent benefits.
Other than reselling Blue Marble software, what other services do you provide?
We provide training in Portuguese and Spanish. We offer application development and turnkey projects as well using satellite imagery, drone data, data processing and interpretation. We maintain a Portuguese language web page focusing on Global Mapper and a YouTube channel called Global Mapper Class South America, which helps keep the user community and customers informed of the last developments.
To complement Global Mapper, we offer satellite imagery from major satellite imagery providers worldwide. Selling software is a profitable and fast growing part of our business and we will keep investing in that direction as it still offers great potential.
How has your partnership with Blue Marble benefited your business?
Blue Marble is the best company I have worked with for supporting partners in a commercial network. We talk every month about commercial and technical issues, not to mention the day to day support from the sales team. My questions are usually answered in just a few hours, sometime in minutes. In this context, business is made very easy because the communication is ongoing, information reaches me quickly, and orders are fulfilled on the same day or the day after. Being responsive is undoubtedly a great advantage and it helps us win the full satisfaction of our clients. Blue Marble provides many commercial leads within our region, and I am able to take care of those immediately. To say it in a few words, the level of commercial confidence and technical collaboration is very high, which has a direct benefit for sales.
How do you see your business growing with Global Mapper? New markets?
As new versions of Global Mapper are being released with new functionality, such as the recently launched Pixels-to-Points tool in the v.19 Lidar Module, the market expands to new areas. Many of our clients in the energy and urban planning fields are now using Global Mapper, and agriculture and environmental management are strong business sectors.
We offer Global Mapper and the LiDAR Module as an affordable and complete solution to a large variety of users, from independent consultants to large corporations. As geoprocessing is becoming more and more widespread and used in many different sectors, Global Mapper will continue to be a must have tool.