What is Blue Marble GeoTalks 2020?

In spring of 2019, Blue Marble Geographics® launched its first online conference, GeoTalks, to replace its user conferences, which had been held at locations around the globe. Not only did the virtual format of the day-long GeoTalks expand accessibility to a wider audience, it also opened the door for more geospatial professionals from all over the world to participate and share their expertise as speakers. In its inaugural event in 2019, GeoTalks had more than 800 registrations. Below is a breakdown and sneak peek of what GeoTalks will include in 2020.

Presentations by professionals from a variety of geospatial industries and backgrounds

At the 2020 GeoTalks, speakers from all over the world and from a wide range of backgrounds will be participating. Here is a peek at who will be presenting this year:

Ben Follett, a Principal Engineering Geologist with WSP, Australia

Ben Follett

Ben Follett  will present on a workflow using Global Mapper® to assess the effects of pipeline construction. This GeoTalks presentation will cover attribute calculation, various digitizing tools, contouring, and illustrating slopes as low as fractions of a degree in order to identify structures that may be affected by the dewatering process in construction.

Walter Payne, a Space Intelligence Analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency USSTRATCOM

Walter Payne

Walter Payne will give a presentation on “An Unexpected Discovery”, in which he will share the role he played in a research project that focused on the Pena de Juaica, a mountain 3,209 meters high, located in the Colombian town of Tobio.

The goals of this research project were to identify carved figures and anthropomorphic forms, and to locate caves for exploration. During this expedition, he used Global Mapper and the Lidar Module’s Pixels to Points® tool to process drone-captured images of the base of Pena de Juaica. The resulting photogrammetric data helped Walter, historian Ashley Cowie, and a team of Ancient Origins explorers discover an “outlier platform” used by the indigenous Muisca people for lunar astronomy.

Jeff Howry, a Research Fellow at the Harvard Semitic Museum

Jeff Howry

Jeff Howry will demonstrate how the application of lidar on two continents reveals distinctly different historic landscapes.

In New England, the pattern of agriculture in the 17th and 18th centuries becomes apparent when imagery of stone walls is analyzed. Following the abandonment of farms beginning in the 1850s, much of the landscape which was previously open land has become reforested with dense hardwood species. Lidar readily presents the stone wall boundaries of the field system used by New England farmers in their land-intensive agricultural practices. In the area that was historic Palestine, sites occupied several thousands of years ago, reveal their major landscape structures through lidar.

Akpata Sylvester Balm Mifueah, a Ph.D. candidate in Geoinformatics and Surveying at University of Nigeria

Akpata Sylvester Balm Mifueah

Akpata Sylvester Balm Mifueah, who also serves as a Project Coordinator with Reddfox on NESP Nigeria, will present on the extreme importance of a healthy infrastructure to maintain safe roads and constant power supply to Nigerians.

Akapata will deliver a presentation on using Global Mapper Mobile®, geodetic principles, remote sensing, and GIS techniques to track and identify road and powerline conditions. He used the mobile app for tracking, arable land types, roads and power transmission lines in Nigeria, and processed and validated the data using remotely sensed images in Global Mapper desktop. The results were coordinates of each tracked point, and a database that shows records of roads and power line conditions.

Rudy VanDrie, a Planning Engineer in Hydrology with the Central Coast Council, Wollongong City Council and Balance Research & Development

Rudy VanDrie

Rudy VanDrie has been working in the flood modelling space since 1987. His GeoTalks 2020 presentation will highlight the benefits of using Global Mapper for flood model development and as used in a real world workflow. Flood modeling is becoming more and more detailed, as experts move away from using fixed grid coarse models and toward flexible meshes with very fine detail, requiring better representative terrain data. Global Mapper has become a standout tool for cleaning and merging data, and formulating the best possible terrain for flood modeling.

Kelsi Schwind, a Coastal and Marine System Sciences student at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Kelsi Schwind

Kelsi is the 2019 winner of the Blue Marble Academic Scholarship, and a Coastal and Marine System Sciences (remote sensing emphasis) student at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Kelsi will present on her research, which integrates structure-from-motion (SfM) data, airborne topobathymetric lidar-derived data, and GIS techniques to assess the impacts of Hurricane Michael on Little St. George Barrier Island off the coast of Apalachicola, Florida.

For more information about the 2020 GeoTalks speaker, check out the Speakers page at bluemarblegeo.com.

Lessons and tips on how to use Global Mapper®

In between presentations, the experts at Blue Marble Geographics demonstrate some of  the latest and lesser-known features of the company’s GIS software, Global Mapper. Using real-world scenarios, they will introduce some to the tools that were added in the recent version 21.1 release as well as several of the software’s more powerful hidden gems.

The latest Blue Marble news and product development updates

Blue Marble Geographics is constantly updating its software. GeoTalks audiences get a behind-the-scenes look at what the company is working on for the next version of Global Mapper, Geographic Calculator®, its software developer toolkits, and online geodetic repository – the GeoCalc Geodetic Registry®.

Registering for GeoTalks is easy

As well as being free and full of high-quality content, GeoTalks presentations can be viewed any time and at any place. All registrants, whether they are able to attend the live event or not, will be provided with access to recordings of all of the presentations after the event is over.

Register for GeoTalks 2020 today to save your seat. Stay tuned to the Blue Marble Geographics website and social media for more details about the March 18, 2020 event.

Register for GeoTalks

What’s new in Global Mapper v21.1?

What we at Blue Marble Geographics® call a “dot release” — Global Mapper® v21.1 — is now available and it comes with new features and improvements. In this blog entry, we list the most significant new features in our accessible and easy-to-use GIS software.

Raster Reclassification tool in Global Mapper v21.1Chelsea E | Projections
The new Raster Reclassification tool in Global Mapper v21.1.

The Raster Reclassification tool

The new Raster Reclassification tool is used to reclassify raster data for land cover analyses. Reclassification may be necessary when raster values need simplification or translation in an analysis. The tool also allows users to simplify information by grouping similar data together, for example, grouping all types of high vegetation together as “forest”.

Other reasons for using the Raster Reclassification tool are to set values to a common scale or to set specific values as “no data” to remove them from the analysis completely.

A built-in, premium access to online Blackbeard Tanuki

With a subscription, users can now access Blackbeard Tanuki’s oil and gas data services, which provides pipeline, well, and lease information. This is valuable data for oil, gas, or mineral investors; oil and gas lease owners looking for neighboring ownership; oil and gas E&P companies looking for land to lease, and landmen seeking a point of departure for oil and gas exploration.

Raster Transparency tool in Global Mapper v21.1
The improved Raster Transparency tool in Global Mapper v21.1.

Improved Raster Transparency tool

This tool allows users to render multiple colors as transparent in raster layers. This function is ideal for hiding non-imagery, background pixels or white, cloud areas in satellite imagery. It can also be used to make certain elevation ranges transparent in a terrain data, perhaps to reveal another data layer underneath.

Improved processing time for Batch Conversion/Reproject tool

The Batch Conversion/Reproject tool has been multi-threaded in Global Mapper v21.1. This means that the batch work is divided between the cores of the CPU. In other words, the batch process in v21.1 is faster because it is using multiple brains instead of one! This speed improvement was added for the many Global Mapper users who batch convert image tiles or lidar tiles to change either the format, projection, or both.

Speed improvements and efficiency improvements

The processing time for the Batch Conversion/Reproject tool has been improved significantly, due to the fact that the process is now multi-threaded. Other aspects of the software that have been made more efficient through multi-threading include the rendering of the 2D map view and the Viewshed Analysis tool.

Additional speed improvements include operations such as rendering large ECW files or creating elevation grids with large gaps to fill.

Download or upgrade your Global Mapper today

We pride ourselves on providing multiple updates each year to keep our software fresh and cutting-edge. Download or upgrade your copy of Global Mapper to version 21.1 today to take advantage of the latest new features.

Download Today!

Geo-Challenge — January 2020

View the form at Google Forms >

Where in the World Geo-Challenge — December 2019 Answers

How Well Did You Do?

Name the capital city – Abuja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name the country – Kuwait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name the body of water – Gulf of Taranto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name the Archipelago – Galapagos Islands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name the U.S. State – Kansas

 

Starting 2020 in the giving spirit

2019 has been a year of giving for us at Blue Marble Geographics. For each of our employees, we gave $100 to an organization of their choice throughout the year.

Blue Marble donated to:

Dana Farber Institute

MDA – Muscular Dystrophy Association

Mid Coast Humane Society

Project Sparrow

Aid for Kids

Hardy Girls Healthy Women

Southern Poverty Law Center

Tunnel to Towers Foundation: Building for America’s Bravest 

ACLU Maine

KVCAP

Hope-JG Foundation

ASPCA

Delta Prime Robotics

Equality Maine

The Alzheimer’s Association

Midcoast Lyme Disease Support and Education

Sunlight Foundation

Mutts and Mittens Manor

Preble Street Shelter

OXFAM

Augusta Food Bank

Support the Soupman

Freeport Community Center

Nature Conservancy 

Hubbard Free Library

Riding to The Top

Ronald McDonald House

Waterville Humane Society

Chelsea E | Projections
The central-Maine-based Delta Prime Robotics team

Sponsoring youth who are pursuing science and technology education

To start 2020 in the same spirit, we decided to give our entire $4,000-worth of donation money to our favorite local cause — the Delta Prime Robotics team. We have supported the central-Maine-based team for the past three years, with our Director of Product Management Sam Knight and Chief Technology Officer Victor Minor volunteering as mentors and coaches. Earlier in 2019, we hired a former Delta Prime Robotics team member as our first summer intern, and we have hosted team demonstrations and “robot visits” at our headquarters.

Delta Prime Robotics became the 4473rd team registered under FIRST Robotics — a not-for-profit public charity founded in 1989 that provides accessible, innovative programs for motivating young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. While Delta Prime Robotics was registered in Farmingdale for students in RSU2 — schools in Dresden, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Monmouth, and Richmond — it is also open to Maine students outside of the school district.

Supporting Maine youth who have a passion for science and technology is a cause that is dear to our hearts, especially since we are one of the few software companies in our state. We hope that you choose to donate to a charity or organization you care about this holiday season or consider donating to your local FIRST Robotics team.

Get the most cutting edge and affordable GIS tools by renewing your Global Mapper license

Point cloud gridded into a terrain surface in Global Mapper
A point cloud of a landfill gridded into a terrain surface in Global Mapper.

At Blue Marble Geographics, we pride ourselves on providing cutting edge technology that is ahead of the geospatial-industry curve. We are constantly improving our tools and we release multiple new versions of our GIS software Global Mapper® every year. This means that users who don’t upgrade their Global Mapper license regularly are missing out on the latest features.

Here is what users who haven’t renewed their license since 2017 are missing:

Editing 3D geospatial data

We believe that viewing and editing 3D data should be a standard functionality in today’s GIS software. Since 2017, we have made several enhancements in this area, adding new 3D editing options and tools that don’t require the purchase of a software extension.

Here are some of the improvements introduced in versions 20 and 21 of Global Mapper:

  • Ability to replace the texture of 3D meshes
  • Create textured 3D models from terrain and draped imagery
  • Create point clouds from meshes or 3D models
Point cloud in Global Mapper
A point cloud generated from a 3D mesh of a landfill.

Visualizing 3D and 2D geospatial data

Version 21 also introduced new options that help users view data, such as a tool for creating 3D lines using the fly- and walk-mode paths in the 3D viewer. After recording these paths, users can create fly-through videos of their 3D work more easily.

Recording fly or walk mode in Global Mapper
Global Mapper v21 comes with a tool for creating 3D lines using the fly- and walk-mode paths in the 3D viewer.

Another new tool that aids with the visualization of data is the Animation toolbar, which allows users to display layers in a timed sequence and is designed for visualizing change over time.

Both of these features were highlighted in our recent blog entry “Top 5 new features of Global Mapper v21”.

Faster and smoother performance for 3D data

Version 21 of Global Mapper has significant speed improvements for loading and working with workspaces, Global Mapper Package (GMP) files, and vector data with attributes. Load time and smoothness for displaying large datasets or vector formats, such as shapefiles, has also improved dramatically over the past couple of years. This especially applies to files with large numbers of attributes. In some cases, a hundredfold increase in speed has been observed.

Path Profile tool in Global Mapper
Users have the options to display a legend in the Path Profile tool in version 20.1 of Global Mapper.

Efficiency and organizational improvements in Global Mapper

Both versions 20 and 21 arrived with improvements to managing and organizing data more easily. Label creation and editing, for instance, improved dramatically, allowing for labels to be moved, rotated, formatted, and deleted individually.

Here are some of the improvements that helped with efficiency and organization:

  • Improved feature label creation and management
  • Improved layer management with target layer selection now available in all vector feature creation dialog boxes
  • Improved layer template creation for form-based data collection
  • Show a line legend on the Path Profile

Global Mapper’s data format and feature support

Global Mapper is known for its support of more than 300 formats — a list that grows continually. For example, support was added for OpenFlight, HEC-RAS raster and vector formats in the release of version 20.1.

Caption:Support for S-52 symbology for S-57 charts was introduced in Global Mapper v20.1.

S-52 symbology in Global Mapper v20.1
Support for S-52 symbology for S-57 charts was introduced in Global Mapper v20.1.

Feature support has also been expanded in the past 2 years, ranging from chart symbology to touchscreen support. Here are some new features that are included in the latest version of Global Mapper:

  • Support for S-52 symbology for S-57 charts
  • Support for downloading vector features from Esri RESTful data sources
  • Support for batch converting between 3D model formats (i.e. Blender, Collada DAE, OBJ, Sketchup, etc.)

Expanded options for multi-band imagery

Many users have requested more options for working with multi-band imagery. Here are a couple we have added over the past couple of years:

Touchscreen support:

  • Full touchscreen gesture support, including 2D and 3D map navigation
  • Access right-click context menus from a touchscreen
  • Expanded support for Windows Tablet and touchscreen computers

Get the Global Mapper tech support you need

Every Global Mapper purchase comes with 12 months of Maintenance & Support. By renewing a license or moving to the latest version, users have uninterrupted access to the excellent support provided by Blue Marble Geographics’ applications specialists.

Upgrade or purchase a new Global Mapper license for the newest features and support

Users who renew their Global Mapper licenses annually get the latest and greatest technology, and maintain their access to Blue Marble’s unparalleled support.

Renew your Global Mapper license today to take advantage of all of the latest features.

Renew your license

Where in the World Geo-Challenge — December 2019

View the form at Google Forms >

Top 5 new features of Blue Marble’s advanced point cloud processing, photogrammetry, and drone mapping software the LiDAR Module®

Over the past few years, Blue Marble Geographics®’ advanced point cloud processing tool has developed into a professional photogrammetry and drone-mapping software. The latest version of the Global Mapper LiDAR Module comes with several enhancements, many of which are to the Pixels-to-Points tool for generating point clouds and 3D meshes from drone-captured images.

Here are the top 5 new features of Blue Marble’s Global Mapper LiDAR Module:


With the new point cloud classification for pole-like objects, users can define the characteristics of the poles they would like to see classified. In the above example, the threshold for the pole classification includes the flag on these flag poles.

1. Automatic point cloud classification of pole-like objects

Manually classifying point cloud data can be time-consuming and tedious. This is why the Global Mapper LiDAR Module comes with automatic point cloud classification tools for points representing ground, buildings, vegetation, noise, powerlines, and most recently added poles.

The new pole classification tool identifies and classifies points of pole-like objects, such as signs, lamp-posts, utility poles, basketball hoops, and other cylindrical features.

With this tool, users can define the characteristics of the poles they would like to see classified. For example, they can define the minimum height and number of points per pole. They can also define a “pole-like” threshold, allowing for either rigid or relaxed definitions of a pole. For instance, a simple post would typically have a pole-like threshold of 90 – 100%, whereas some straight trees may have a pole-like threshold of 35 – 40%.


Users can either automatically mask images by selecting by color, or by manually drawing a selection in the Pixels to Points tool of the Global Mapper LiDAR Module v21.

2. Photo masking in the photogrammetric tool Pixels to Points for eliminating unwanted backgrounds or data from images

Not all image-data is ideal or necessary in photogrammetrically generated point clouds. This is why an option for photo masking was introduced to the Pixels to Points tool in version 21 of the Global Mapper LiDAR Module. Masking allows users to cut out unwanted areas from images, such as swaths of data that tend to not reconstruct well in a point cloud, like sky or water. It also allows users to crop their data down to focus on specific interest areas, which also shortens the point cloud generation process.


Ground-coverage area polygons in the Global Mapper LiDAR Module
The latest version of the Global Mapper LiDAR Module’s Pixels-to-Point tool displays the ground extent of each input photo to help users visualize the overlap of adjacent selected images.

3. Ground coverage polygons for showing the approximate ground coverage of drone-captured photos

Photogrammetrically generated point clouds can require hundreds of drone-captured images. To make it easier to manage and visualize the ground-coverage area of each photo, the latest version of the Global Mapper LiDAR Module’s Pixels to Points tool displays the ground extent of each input photo. Displaying these coverage-area polygons can also help users visualize the overlap of adjacent selected images.


Importing external files for high-accuracy positioning of orthoimages and point clouds
The latest version of the LiDAR Module allows users who have high-accuracy positioning in their orthoimages and point clouds to overwrite the initial geotag information that comes with their drone-captured images.

4. Additional support for importing accurate GPS information from external text files

In the latest version of the LiDAR Module, users can update the image-capture location — EXIF information — from a text file. This allows users who have high-accuracy positioning in their orthoimages and point clouds — such as PPK — the ability to overwrite the initial geotag information that comes with their drone-captured images. This is a valuable feature for surveyors who need highly accurate photogrammetric point clouds or meshes.


Displaying drone-captured images that contain common ground control points
When a single image is selected, the Pixels to Points tool automatically suggests and highlights all image file names that may contain common ground control points.

5. Identification of images that contain selected ground control points based on their location

Another improvement to the Pixels to Points tool is the ability to see images that contain the same ground control points. When a single image is selected, the tool automatically suggests and highlights all image file names that may contain common ground control points. This makes selecting images based on location much easier and faster.


Accessible photogrammetry and point cloud processing software

Most of the improvements to the latest release of the Global Mapper LiDAR Module are to the photogrammetric point cloud generation tool Pixels to Points. This functionality allows GIS professionals easier access to point cloud data as drones and cameras become more affordable.

To try the Pixels to Points tool and the other powerful tools that come with the Global Mapper LiDAR Module, request a free two-week trial after downloading Global Mapper® here.