GeoTalks Express – Session 5 Questions & Answers

The fifth of Blue Marble’s GeoTalks Express online webinar series, entitled Get Outside with Global Mapper, was conducted on May 13th, 2020. During the live session, numerous questions were submitted to the presenters. The following is a list of these questions and the answers provided by Blue Marble’s technical support team.

The Global Mapper Mobile knowledge base links below are to the Android version of the help pages. Although the two versions of the app contain the same functions, an iOS-specific version of the knowledge base is available here.

 

I want to know if with my license desktop, I can register a Global Mapper Mobile Pro?

​Is it the same to register the desktop version and mobile version?​ I mean if I register in desktop, can I use the Pro version in Global Mapper Mobile?

The Global Mapper Mobile app is free to download and use, but to register the Pro Module for the app you need to purchase a license. The Global Mapper Mobile Pro license is separate from the Global Mapper desktop license. You can purchase a license here on the Blue Marble website, or by contacting the sales team at orders@bluemarblegeo.com.

 

When adding a point, is there an option that allows you to take and attach a picture right there in the same window?

After tapping to add a point feature, at the bottom of the New Feature screen use the small picture icon option in the bottom right corner to add a picture to the digitized point feature. 

 

Can you cover adding photos and if those photos can later be sent to a kmz file?

In Global Mapper Mobile you can add photos to a map. You can link a photo to a digitized or existing vector feature from the Feature Edit screen, or you can add a photo directly to the map and it will be added as a picture point at the geotagged location of the photo. Since the photos taken with a mobile device do not have full georeference information they are all added as file links. 

After exporting your map from Global Mapper Mobile and sharing it to your computer, bring the Global Mapper Mobile Package file (*.gmmp) into Global Mapper desktop. From here you will be able to export layers of vector features to KML/KMZ format in such a way that the photos linked to the features will be displayed in the feature info popups seen in Google Earth. 

 

It is hard to see the measure tool against the aerial background. Can the color of the tool be changed?

The line added when measuring is a black line highlighted in yellow. Is this the part of the tool you are having trouble seeing?

The crosshair symbol used by the measure tool is grey by default, but the color of this symbol can be changed in the App Configuration

 

Will GMM be suitable for Android, iOS and Surface?

Global Mapper Mobile is available in the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store making it suitable for Android and iOS devices. The Global Mapper Mobile application cannot be run on a Microsoft Surface computer as that device is a Windows-based laptop, not a mobile device like a tablet or phone. You can run the Global Mapper desktop program on a Microsoft Surface laptop. 

 

Can we see real time field data collection activities via Global Mapper Desktop?

Data collected in Global Mapper Mobile is stored in the map in Global Mapper Mobile and cannot be streamed to Global Mapper desktop. To transfer collected data you would need to export the map and share it to your computer to then open the file in Global Mapper desktop.

In Global Mapper desktop you can set up a direct connection to an external GPS device in order to collect field data tracks in Global Mapper desktop.

 

Can we use a tiff file in the Global Mapper Mobile app?

Global Mapper Mobile does not support the import or export of TIFF files. Without the Pro Module the app will load and export Global Mapper Mobile Package format (*.gmmp) files. With the Pro Module the app will also import GeoPDF files and GeoPackage files. 

You can load TIFF files into Global Mapper desktop, and from that program export the layer to Global Mapper Mobile Package format to share and load into Global Mapper Mobile. 

 

How well does the mobile app work on an iphone or will I need an ipad?

Global Mapper Mobile works on Android and iOS phones and tablets. The only difference using a tablet versus a phone would be the screen size on the device, the app will function the same on both devices. 

 

We will get to this later but what about rest services? 

With the Pro Module in Global Mapper Mobile you can add custom online sources. Esri RESTful/Google Maps Tiles, OSM, WMS, and WMTS types are all supported. There is currently no support for feature services in Global Mapper Mobile. You can access feature services in Global Mapper desktop and export the needed features to Global Mapper Mobile Package format (*.gmmp) to then work with in Global Mapper Mobile. 

 

Is it possible to add data on the Pro version of Global Mapper Mobile through a script?

Global Mapper Mobile does not support Global Mapper script like Global Mapper desktop. You can use Global Mapper script in Global Mapper desktop to add data to a workspace, and export data to Global Mapper Mobile Package format (*.gmmp). This file can then be transferred to your mobile device and loaded in Global Mapper Mobile. 

 

Can Global Mapper Mobile support Garmin GPS Devices?

If the Garmin GPS device can be paired to the mobile device with bluetooth, and Garmin supports the device in a Garmin GPS companion app, you should be able to use the external GPS for data collection with the Global Mapper Mobile app. 

General Information on using an External GPS with Global Mapper Mobile:

Using an external GPS device with Global Mapper Mobile would be using the GPS to replace the location services information for your phone/device. To use an external GPS device you will need a companion app for the GPS to receive the data stream and push the location information into Global Mapper Mobile. 

To set this up, first turn on and connect your GPS device using bluetooth and the companion app that will read the information from the GPS device. This companion app, typically made by the makers of the GPS device, should allow you to see when the external GPS is connected as this is not yet indicated in Global Mapper Mobile, but we are working on an interface to see this information right in the app. With the GPS device connected in this way, the external location data should replace the internal location data and be read into Global Mapper Mobile. 

 

How big are the files you send as Global Mapper Mobile Package (*.gmmp) files?

The file size of Global Mapper Mobile Package (*.gmmp) files depends on the data you are sending in this format. More layers, larger datasets, and higher resolution data will result in larger files. 

 

Is there any 3D functionality in Global Mapper Mobile as there is in Global Mapper desktop?

With Global Mapper Mobile being designed to work on smaller and less powerful mobile devices, there is no 3D view functionality. You can have 3D data, like elevation grid layers, loaded into the app via a Global Mapper Mobile Package (*.gmmp) file, but you will only be able to view the data in 2D. 

 

Can you navigate to a point like a forest inventory plot with this app?

With the Pro Module of Global Mapper Mobile the app can display the distance and bearing from the GPS location to a selected point feature. You can select a point feature with the digitizer tool, and enable the distance and bearing in the GPS section of the app configuration

 

Can you get data off of your MangoMap account into the Global Mapper Mobile app?

MangoMap does not yet support streaming data from a map as an online source so you are unable to stream data from a MangoMap to Global Mapper desktop or Global Mapper Mobile.

If you have the source data you used to create your MangoMap, or you are able to download data layers from your MangoMap account, you can open those layers in Global Mapper desktop and export them to a Global Mapper Mobile Package (*.gmmp) for use in Global Mapper Mobile. 

 

Can one edit a point or vertex position once clicked?

Yes, you can edit the location of a point feature or a feature vertex one the feature has been created. To do this, select the digitizer tool and tap on the feature you would like to edit, tap again on the feature to open the Edit Feature screen. Tap Vertices to see the coordinates of the vertices or the location of the point feature. Select a vertex entry by tapping on it, and tap on the digitizer tool in the bottom right corner to edit the coordinates of the selected vertex. 

 

Is the elevation value displayed at the crosshair derived from the DEM layers? Or perhaps from the street map?

The elevation value shown for the crosshair location when an elevation layer is displayed comes from the loaded elevation layer on the map. 

 

I just installed Global Mapper Mobile on my phone. I logged in and now it needs a registration code. Is that emailed?

The Global Mapper Mobile app is free to download and use, but to register the Pro Module for the app you need to purchase a license. The Global Mapper Mobile Pro license is separate from the Global Mapper desktop license. You can purchase a license here on the Blue Marble website, or by contacting the sales team at orders@bluemarblegeo.com.

To register the Pro Module on your device, you will need to login with your Blue Marble account and then enter the order number for your purchased Pro Module license. 

 

Does the Global Mapper desktop version matter when working with the Global Mapper Mobile? We are still on version 18.

While you can use the Global Mapper Mobile app with an older version of Global Mapper desktop, we highly recommend upgrading to the current release for both programs. Many updates in Global Mapper Mobile depend on how Global Mapper Mobile Package (*.gmmp) files are produced from Global Mapper desktop. Newer versions of the desktop program include updates related to the writing and loading of Global Mapper Mobile Package files, and using an older version of the program will limit the functionality of your GMMP files and the Global Mapper Mobile app.

 

Can I use feature templates without the Pro Module?

Yes, you can use feature templates as part of a Global Mapper Mobile Package (*.gmmp) without the Pro Module. You can create, manage, and add feature templates as layers in a workspace through the Configuration > Feature Template section of Global Mapper desktop. 

 

Using external GPS submeter accuracy is only available with the Pro Module?

Using an external GPS device with Global Mapper Mobile would be using the GPS to replace the location services information for your phone/device. To use an external GPS device you will need a companion app for the GPS to receive the data stream and push the location information into Global Mapper Mobile.

While you can set up an external GPS unit to work with Global Mapper Mobile without the Pro Module, the new Advanced GPS options coming in version 2.1 of the app, used to manage and monitor data from an external GPS, will not be available without a license for the Pro Module.    

 

Is there a list of GNSS pairable devices for GMM Pro 2.1?

We do not currently have a list of all pairable devices. If you have a specific unit you are wondering about, please let us know. 

 

Can the Global Mapper Mobile be used for traffic analysis?

Global Mapper Mobile is designed to take your data into the field and collect data as you wish. You can then export and bring the data back to Global Mapper desktop for further analysis. Depending on what types of data you are working with and the analysis you are looking to do, this app could be used for some traffic analysis. 

 

Can you use connected GPS accuracy augmentation tools (IE bad elf) to increase accuracy of points and other features logged within Global Mapper Mobile?

Using an external GPS device with Global Mapper Mobile would be using the GPS to replace the location services information for your phone/device. To use an external GPS device you will need a companion app for the GPS to receive the data stream and push the location information into Global Mapper Mobile. Do you know if Bad Elf produces a companion app for their devices? 

 

Is there a way to track the surveyor in Field, and also track the editing?

There is no edit tracking function in Global Mapper Mobile but you can use the Save As option to save interactions of your map as you edit it. 

 

Can you add data layers from online sources?

From the Main Menu in Global Mapper Mobile you can choose to Add Online Data Layer to stream data from Open Street Map. With the Pro Module of the app you gain access to additional built-in online sources, as well as the ability to add custom online sources and save data from online sources for offline use. 

 

What about local reference systems, like here we are working with DLT Dubai local reference EPGS:3997?

You can set the projection for your Global Mapper Mobile Package (*.gmmp) file in Global Mapper desktop. In the desktop program, set the workspace options in Configuration > Projection, and when you export your data to GMMP format select the option to Use Currently Selected Projection

With the Pro Module registered in Global Mapper Mobile, you can edit the projection parameters for a map in App Configuration

 

Is UTM available only in the Pro version?

No, you can set the projection for your Global Mapper Mobile Package (*.gmmp) file in Global Mapper desktop. In the desktop program, set the workspace options in Configuration > Projection, and when you export your data to GMMP format select the option to Use Currently Selected Projection

With the Pro Module registered in Global Mapper Mobile, you can edit the projection parameters for a map in the mobile app through App Configuration

 

Can you use pre-existing schemas from a database or layer as opposed to creating from scratch?

While you cannot create a Feature Template from an existing layer, once you have created a feature template you can save it to a template file that you can share and load into other installations of Global Mapper desktop. 

 

Can Global Mapper Mobile record tracks and routes?

Yes, Global Mapper Mobile can create point, line, or area features with the GPS methods Time Interval and Distance Interval. These methods will record a vertex or point at a specified interval tracking the movement of the user with the device. The time interval and distance intervals can be set in the GPS section of the Global Mapper Mobile App Configuration

 

Can you customize data points (waypoints) with unique icons?

Yes, as you create features and see the Edit Feature or New Feature screen, you can tap on Type to set the feature type. Each feature type built into Global Mapper Mobile is associated with a feature style that will be used to display the point, line, or area feature on the map. 

 

Mobile works without an active cellular connection?

Yes, the GPS location services will still function on a device even if it is not connected to a network, wifi or cellular. You will need a cellular or wifi connection to share data to and from your mobile device and stream data from online sources. 

 

I need help opening maps using dropbox and iOS. Please run through the process, the map wants to open locally.

 

From the Global Mapper Mobile Open Map option, you can use the button in the bottom right corner to browse your device for a map. This browse screen will show files downloaded on your device as well as files accessed through a file-sharing app like Dropbox. 

When opening a map from a file-sharing app such as Dropbox, you will need to tap for more options in a file. In Dropbox select to Export the file and when options for export appear, scroll through the app suggestions and select Copy to Global Mapper Mobile. This should launch the Global Mapper Mobile app and open the map.

 

​Is there a benefit in tiling exports to GMMP?

Tiling your export to Global Mapper Mobile Package (*.gmmp) file will break the data up into separate GMMP files, one for each tile. Tiling your data could be useful if your data covers a large area. Users in the field will be able to load and work on smaller portions, individual tiles, of the complete data in Global Mapper Mobile. 

 

Highly recommend some plus and minus buttons for zoom. Especially when starting at world view and zooming. With finger pinch zooming I took a tour of Antarctica.

I have written a request ticket about adding zoom and pan buttons that you can enable in Global Mapper Mobile to assist with navigation around a map. 

From the control center in Global Mapper Mobile, use the home button to return to the full extent of the map, or you can tap on the options for a layer and zoom to a specific layer. 

 

Would you happen to know if this app will work with Trimble catalyst gps device?

We currently have an open enhancement request to be able to connect Trimble Catalyst systems with Global Mapper Mobile.

 

Can you use an external antenna for rtk Ntrip Network?

Currently Global Mapper Mobile does not support interaction with RTK based GPS devices. We have a feature request on this issue that our development team is considering.

GeoTalks Express – Session 4 Questions & Answers

The fourth of Blue Marble’s GeoTalks Express online webinar series entitled Ask the Experts was conducted on May 6th, 2020. This one-off event offered an opportunity for participants to submit questions, many of which were answered during the live session. Due to the volume of questions that were received, not all questions were answered during the webinar. The following is a list of all of the questions and the answers provided by Blue Marble’s technical support team.

 

Can you provide an overview of scripting? 

Global Mapper script is a very useful way to create and run a workflow through an open Global Mapper workspace, or without having to open the user interface. There is a scripting reference section in the Global Mapper knowledge base that you can find here (there is also a PDF version). 

 

Can we view more than one surface in the profiler?

Yes, if you have overlapping terrain surfaces loaded into Global Mapper, you can view both of these in the Path Profile tool by enabling the option to Draw Separate Line for Path from Each Terrain Layer in the path profile settings

 

How do I stop Global mapper from defaulting to meters when I load data? 

The units displayed for measurements can be set in Configuration. In Configuration > General > Measure/Units change the Distance Units setting to set the units for all horizontal digitizing and measuring tasks in Global Mapper. To set the vertical units to display, go to Configuration > Vertical Options and change the Elevation Display/Export Units setting. 

 

How can I make scripts or small programs that can perform inside the platform?

You can use a Global Mapper script to run some processes with source data or run them in a workspace using loaded data. Additional information on Global Mapper Scripting can be found in the scripting reference section of the Global Mapper knowledge (there is also a PDF version). 

 

How do you make different color dots? I can not seem to find the option to make various color dots, other than those existing. 

To make custom color dots for vector point features, go to the Point Styles tab of the vector layer options and when setting the style, select <CUSTOM_DOT_SHAPE> from the Select Point Symbol drop-down menu. You will then be prompted to enter the dot size and select the color for the point symbol. 

You can also add custom point symbols in Configuration > Styles > Custom Symbols. These will then display in the Select Point Symbol dropdown menu when setting the point style for your features. 

 

Is there a way to copy-paste path profile sections data from a table without having to export the file? 

Currently, there is no way to view the Path Profile sample information without exporting the path. From the File menu in the path profile dialog box, you can Save Profile Line(s) to New Layer and this will add a layer to the workspace containing the path profile line as a 3D line feature that you can work with in Global Mapper. 

I have written a request ticket (#GM-11003) about adding a way to view and copy the path profile samples from the Path Profile view without having to export the path. The Blue Marble development team will look into this request and I will let you know when I hear any updates on this matter. 

 

What is the best way to bring in elevation point data at 1 meter spaced points and then export it as 5 meter spaced points?

With your data loaded, you can create an elevation grid from your points. You can specify your desired spacing of 5 meters when generating the grid, or you can generate the grid at a finer resolution and downsample when exporting. Export the generated grid to a point format or text format, like XYZ grid, and specify a resolution of 5 meters in each direction to create a file with 5 meter spaced points.

 

Would you Classify each UAV LiDAR flight line point cloud before using the fit to cloud feature? 

The answer to your question is somewhat dependent on your data. If you can accurately classify the point clouds from the flight lines individually it may help to create a better fit between them using the Fit Point Cloud option to Only Match to Closest Points of the Same Class

If you are having trouble accurately classifying the point clouds individually you may want to fit the point clouds together and then classify them as one dataset. This may help with the classification of points along the edges of point clouds where flight lines overlap. 

 

I have a layer of points with an attribute consisting of a link to an image file. How can I activate the link to display the image?

If you have a file or image link in an attribute attached to a vector feature, use the Feature Info Tool to select the vector feature in Global Mapper. This should automatically open the linked file in your system’s default program for the linked file type, and/or display a dialog with a dropdown asking if you would like to see the feature information or open the linked file.

 

How do I take a list of coordinates and convert them?  Say i had point data that i want to convert from lat/long to UTM 27 – 10?

After you load your latitude/longitude data into Global Mapper, you can reproject it by changing the workspace projection in Configuration > Projection. UTM zone projections are supported in Global Mapper. After you have changed the workspace projection, export the data to your desired format. The data will be exported using the projection you set in Configuration > Projection. 

 

If I import shapefiles in Global Mapper having exported them from other software such as Model Maker, I lose text labels. 

How were your features labeled in Model Maker? Are the feature names contained in an attribute? To view attributes for a layer of features, right-click on the layer in the Control Center and select Edit Attributes

To set the labels for features in Global Mapper, open the Vector Options, and on the Labels tab, you will have some options on how to label the features. Make sure the box to Display Labels for this Layer is checked, and set your label preferences for the layer in this dialog. To use an attribute value for the feature labels, select the option to Use Selected Attribute Value, and select the desired attribute from the dropdown menu.

 

How can I use Google Earth coordinates in the View Shed tool easily without always pasting in Lat & Long?

In Global Mapper, if you have a point feature selected when you click on the map with the Viewshed tool, you will be asked if you would like to use the clicked location or the location of the selected point for the viewshed creation. In order to use coordinates from Google Earth, you can create placemark point features in Google Earth and save them to KML/KMZ format. You can then load the KML/KMZ file of point features into Global Mapper, select one or many, and use the viewshed tool choosing to use the selected point(s) for the viewshed creation.

 

Beyond current options, can the pointer info-tips be configured to present other spatial information?

Info Tips in Global Mapper can be configured to show the cursor location as well as a raster pixel values and/or specific attribute values from vector features.

 

Can you select an area in the 3D view and manually classify it? For example, can I select a tower and lines with a manually drawn box and classify it as power lines?

 

While Global Mapper does not currently support sweep selection in the 3D viewer, features can only be selected individually through this viewer, you can use the Path Profile tool to select and manually classify points from your point cloud. 

Using the Path Profile tool you can look at a cross-section of your point cloud and in this view, select and classify the points using the manual classification tools in the 2D map view or the Path Profile window. Points selected in the Path Profile view will also be selected in both the 2D main view and the 3D view in Global Mapper. Through the path profile menus, you are able to set the width of the profile with respect to lidar data to display a narrow or wider section of points in this cross-section view. 

Is there a way to convert GeoPDF files to GeoTiff files in a batch format? One of the issues I have had is getting my preferred layers on and hitting the ignore frames for each and every file. This dialogue box does not allow for the process to run in the background, you have to hit no about every 5 seconds.

You can use the Batch Convert/Reproject tool to convert Geospatial PDF files to GeoTIFF files, but this method does not provide any import options for the PDF files. 

When loading Geospatial PDF files into Global Mapper use the checkbox option to Use these options for all operations at the bottom of the PDF import options dialog to apply the selected layers to render and other load options to all PDF files you are loading. 

 

Is there a way to convert GeoPDF files to GeoTiff files in a batch format? 

You can use the Batch Convert/Reproject tool to convert Geospatial PDF files to GeoTIFF files, but this method does not provide any import options for the PDF files, but by default, multiple frames are ignored.

 

Can you help with ground/building extraction parameters in the Lidar Module? Large flat buildings are my foes. 

The parameters you use to classify your point cloud do vary based on your data and the characteristics of your study area. When classifying ground in Global Mapper be sure you are entering an accurate Maximum Building Width value as this will help to keep the tops of large flat buildings from being classified as ground.

Once ground points are accurately classified move on to the non-ground classification. Increasing the Max Co-Planar Angle Difference a bit may help to keep points from the tops of buildings being misclassified as vegetation.

Once your point classifications are accurate, the extraction of the features will yield much better results.

 

Is there any chance future versions of Global Mapper 64bit will offer the option to export gdb format?

In version 21.0 of Global Mapper, the ability to export vector features to a Geodatabase was added to the 64-bit version of the program. The 32-bit version of the Global Mapper can export raster layers to a Geodatabase if you have an ESRI license on your computer. 

 

Is it possible to do feature extractions, e.g., topographic lineaments?

Topographic features can be visually identified in an elevation grid layer of the ground surface. From an elevation grid, you can generate contour lines of the area to help identify and quantify the topographic changes associated with specific features. 

Using the Lidar Module, you can use the custom feature extraction tool in the Path Profile window. This function may allow you to manually extract lines for the edges of your features. 

 

Can Global Mapper perform a coarse cross-section analysis?

The Path Profile tool in Global Mapper allows you to view and analyze cross-sections of gridded elevation data and point clouds by drawing a line across your loaded data. In the settings for the path profile tool, you can adjust the sample spacing with respect to the terrain data. This allows you to look at a finer cross section line made up of more samples, or a coarser estimation based on fewer. 

 

What file formats can Global Mapper convert?

Global Mapper supports hundreds of formats for both import and export. A full list of the support file formats can be found here in the Global Mapper knowledge base

 

Are there workflow building tools available in Global Mapper similar to Model Builder in ArcGIS?

​Global Mapper supports many tools and processes through its command-based scripting. With Global Mapper script you can list commands for the Global Mapper program to run and execute these tasks through the Global Mapper user interface using loaded data, or by calling data in the script and running without using the interface of the program. 

Global Mapper script allows you to design a workflow and run it over your data automating some repetitive analysis tasks, similar to the Model Builder in ArcGIS.

 

How can I view/isolate individual features in a layer?

You can right-click on the layer in the Control Center and go to Edit Attributes. You can scroll down the Attribute Editor table and find the specific feature you are looking for. You can right-click on it to edit the feature and you can also see many other options in regards to the one feature. Use Ctrl+C or Ctrl+X to copy or cut the selected features and Ctrl+V to paste them to a new layer.

 

Can I run Global Mapper license server on AWS, So we do not have to use VPN to connect to the server?

While Global Mapper officially supports the tools on physical Windows machines, there are many users successfully running the tools on cloud servers. In these instances, it is important that the version of Windows you set up must have a stable machine ID and server name, as those are used in the license. You’ll also want to make sure the server is seen as part of your internal network. On AWS your security groups and firewall will need to allow access on two ports (both of which you can customize if necessary), and have exceptions for the few tools that run (lmgrd.exe, bmgeo.exe).

If you’re interested in testing this, I would recommend emailing the Blue Marble Sales Team (authorize@bluemarblegeo.com), explaining you’d like to test moving your license to a cloud server and provide them with the server machine ID and server name. They will then get you a temporary license with which you can test.

 

Is there a EPSG code for State Plane Alabama West NAD83 “Feet (US Survey)”. Only related codes found are 26730 and 26930, but not NAD83 Survey Feet.

When choosing your projection in Global Mapper, you can switch the Planar Units to FEET (US Survey). In the Configuration > Projection tab, choose State Plane Coordinate System under Projection dropdown. Then choose zone Alabama West. Then choose NAD 83 as your datum. Then under Planar Units, choose FEET (US Survey).

 

​When creating a grid for creating contours, at times I have to set it loose enough that it creates a grid and associated contours well outside of my desired area which then take much time to clean up. My question is, can I limit the area within which the grid, and then contours are created​?​

​There is a Grid Bounds tab in the Elevation Grid Creation Options window which allows you a few different options to constrain the grid creation. The contours then should be limited to the area that you have gridded.

What is the best way to smooth contours while losing the least accuracy​?​

Your best option would be to start in the Simplification tab and set the simplification to 0.00, all the way to the left. After the contours are created, you can manually adjust the smoothness of the contours, by selecting all features with the digitizer tool, then right-click in the main window, and go to Move/Reshape Features and pick SMOOTH.

 

“Is it possible to Remove the default Point, Area, Line Types from the configuration, We create our own set of types but all the other items interfere with workflow at times.”

Yes, this can be done by going to Configuration > Vector Display. Under ‘Filter’ you can choose Area, Lines, and Points as needed and filter out certain types. However, certain actions in Global Mapper utilize certain built-in types by default. I would recommend at least keeping “Unknown” points, lines, and polygons visible.

 

“Is it possible to manipulate the .dbf file (from your shapes) in Excel then convert it back to a workable dbf file in GM?”

This would be functionality independent of Global Mapper, or any other GIS which writes DBF files. Excel used to support the DBF format, allowing you to open and edit those files. However, I believe in the last few years, Excel has dropped that support. If you needed to edit attributes in a file, what you could do is open the Attribute Editor in Global Mapper and edit the data there directly. Alternatively, the Attribute Editor has a Save to CSV option so you could save that data to CSV, work with it in Excel, and then Join it back to the data in Global Mapper.

 

“Good morning, I want to ask how I can insert break lines (rivers and roads) when generating a MDT in Global Mapper, can this be done?”

Yes, when you’re using Create Elevation Grid this tool has an option “Use 3D Area Line Features as Breaklines”. If you have 3D vector features representing your roads and rivers, the elevation from those features will be included in your resulting terrain layer with that setting enabled.

 

“Is it possible to export vector objects created in the Lidar Module from a classified point cloud? You showed that feature in an earlier webinar.”

Yes, any features you Extract from a classified point cloud can be exported to a supported vector format. The features will be 3D by default so you may want to ensure whatever export format you use supports 3D features.

 

I can do most of my terrain analysis using Global Mapper except finding the shortest path on the terrain between two points.. Have you any plan to add this to the application?

Are you trying to find the shortest path using existing shapefiles on the screen in Global Mapper? Like a road network?  Or strictly just a terrain layer? If yes to my second question, you can simply use the Path Profile tool from the Analysis toolbar, to draw a path between the two points. You can also use the digitizer to draw a line feature between the two points, which should be your shortest path.

 

​Can I associate images to either points or lines in Global Mapper?​

Yes. After creating a point feature, in the Modify Feature Info window that appears, you can click Add File Link(s).. and this will relate it to file on your computer. When you use the Feature Info tool and select the Point feature, the image will open in whatever your default photo viewer is on your desktop. You can repeat this workflow with line features as well. 

In the case of photographs that are already geotagged, such as those taken with a GPS-enabled smartphone, the photos can simply be dragged and dropped unto the Global Mapper map window. A clickable picture point will be automatically created at the precise location at which the photo was taken.

 

How was the Pixels to Points algorithm developed? Was it licensed from somebody else? How does it compare with e.g. Pix4D?

Much of the tools under the hood of Pixels to Points come from openMVG and openMVS. More of this information can be found at our 3rd Party Library page on the User Guide. We do our own development as well to enhance the tool as we see fit from customer feedback and internal testing. 

It is a common question we get asked about comparisons to Pix4D or other software suites like that. Since the Pixels to Points tool is very new to the photogrammetry market, we do not expect all of the processing to meet exactly the same results, of more mature photogrammetric software out there, but many users are satisfied with the results that it creates. I would say we offer the full suite of GIS needs that can be done all in one program from processing your imagery, all the way to developing elevation grids, calculating pile volumes, creating contour maps. My suggestion would be to download a trial version of Global Mapper and test out the capabilities of the Pixels to Points tool against the others. Global Mapper pricing is not based on monthly subscriptions as with other software like Pix4D. With Global Mapper and the Lidar Module, you get a perpetual license that you can upgrade when you like.

 

How do you charge for training?

We have public training and custom training options available with some details described here on our website. For additional information on training curriculum and pricing please contact our training team at training@bluemarblegeo.com

 

I was trying to bring in elevation point data and chose the point option, but I wasn’t able to color classify the data once I had it in – I had to bring it in and choose the lidar data radial dial – is this because it was elevation data? That it wouldn’t classify as just plain point features? It was bathymetry data. 

While you can create an elevation grid from 3D point features, you must load the data as lidar to be handled like a point cloud in order to use the Lidar Module classification tools. 

The difference between loading as point versus lidar data when you import a text file is more about how Global Mapper stores and handles the data internally. When you choose the lidar option, the attribute structure and spatial indexing that are used are necessary for the point cloud classification tools. It’s also a storage structure that better handles visualization of large 3D point clouds. 

 

How can SPLIT function be used in generating map legend results?

Splitting layers in Global Mapper can help with data management and organization, and in a Map Layout  it allows for finer control over the entries displayed in the legend. In the Legend Properties in the Map Layout Editor, you can filter by layer what you would like to show in the legend.

 

​Could you tell me if you can add breaklines before generating the contour lines?

3D line and area features can be used as breaklines when generating an elevation grid. ​You can then create contour lines from your elevation surface that used the breaklines when it was generated. 

 

Are there ways or methods to do NDVI type analysis with SUAS collected RGB based imagery? I am trying to evaluate changing vegetation conditions over time through aerial photo monitoring and wondering about approaches to classify SFM derived orthomosaics to separate out vegetation changes and export as a new raster. Is there something that can be done with changing RGB bands or another approach? I have tried the raster to vector approach without success.

The formula for NDVI calculation is (Near Infrared – Red)/(Near Infrared + Red). If you have only RGB images of your study area you cannot calculate NDVI values as you are missing the Near Infrared (NIR) values. 

Creating 3D point clouds from your sets of drone collected images using the Pixels to Points tool in Global Mapper can allow you to track vegetation growth and expansion. Using the new Compare Clouds tool with point clouds generated from different image sets you can detect change in a vegetated area over time.

 

Can you give an overview of the Generate Watershed analysis with focus on the stream threshold, resolution and depression fill depth?

Details on all of the options for the Watershed Generation tool can be found here in the Global Mapper knowledge base

The resolution settings determine the resolution used to look at the terrain data in the watershed generation process. The default values should be the resolution, pixel size, values from the elevation data layer. Increasing these resolution values will lower the resolution used to look at the terrain decreasing the processing time but causing some loss of detail.

The stream threshold value determines the amount of water that must run through a cell in order for it to be considered part of a stream. Entering a larger value here will mean more water must flow through a cell for it to be considered a stream, resulting in only larger waterways in the output. Using a smaller stream threshold value will result in more minor waterways and streams in the output. 

The depression fill depth is used to determine the depth of depression in the terrain that is allowed to be filled and have water spill out of it and continue flowing. Depressions deeper that the entered fill depth will be considered basins and flow will terminate there. 

 

What are the best ground classification settings for steep terrain with tall, dense, evergreen trees? 

The parameters used in the automatic ground classification tool, and any other automatic analysis tool, depend on your particular dataset and study area. With an area of steep terrain, you will need to increase the Maximum Height Delta and Expected Terrain Slope values to better match the ground in the area. 

For an area that is densely forested, you will want to take a look at your data and make sure that you actually have points present that are from the true ground level. Depending on your dataset you may also be able to use some advanced filtering options from the automatic ground classification dialog to narrow down the points considered when trying to classify ground. 

 

​I know the pole classification, but my project needs to discriminate between medium voltage and low voltage poles. I have a post survey in a shapefile point file, how can I classify a lidar point cloud, from this survey?

If you do not have Medium Voltage and Low Voltage pole classes defined in Global Mapper, open the Filter Lidar tool and right-click on a class to change the class name and color as needed to create your new Medium and Low Voltage pole classifications. 

Before reclassifying your power pole point cloud points into Medium and Low Voltage pole classes, I recommend that you classify the point cloud including generic power pole classification. This will allow you to isolate and work with the generic pole classified points as you work to split them into the Medium and Low Voltage classes. ​​

With poles classified you can use the Filter Lidar tool to hide all points you are not interested in reclassifying, this would be all except the pole classified, Class 15 – Transmission Tower, points. Next, select the points you would like to reclassify as one of your pole subclasses and use the Change Lidar Class tool to reclassify these points. 

  • If your shapefile of vector features contains line features for each pole, you can use the Select Lidar by Distance tool to select the points for reclassification. 
  • If your shapefile of vector features contains area features, select the area features and use the Advanced Selection Option > Select All Point Features within the Selected Area(s) to select the points for reclassification. 
  • Or you can select points manually using the digitizer tool in the 2D map view or the Path Profile view, hold down the control key on your keyboard to select multiple areas of points. 

 

I was playing with the pole feature in a laz trying to get a single point, I think I got that working but then tried to apply it to a tree. I have been getting results showing several points created for a single tree and none are near what I would consider the center of the trunk.

The pole section of the automatic feature extraction tool is designed to extract pole features. In this tool there is a tree extraction section better suited to extract tree features from classified high vegetation points. 

 

Is it possible to create a watershed by clicking a ground point in a point cloud (or a pixel in a DTM)? The point selected should be the lowest point.

You can create and select a point feature representing the lowest point in your study area, and then use the Create Watershed Areas Showing Drainage to Selected Point(s) option in the Watershed Generation tool. This will generate a watershed showing the area that drains to the location of the selected point feature. 

 

Are there suggestions for processing/managing large lidar projects, like an entire US county scale?

To improve the load speed and draw time for a large dataset in Global Mapper, consider creating and loading your data through a map catalog

While there is no file size limit in the Global Mapper program, your computer has a memory capacity that you might reach when processing large datasets. Be sure that your machine is powerful enough to do what you are asking. When processing large datasets you may want to consider breaking the data set up into tiles and processing the data one section at a time. 

 

I want to know how and preferably how to automate the plotting a line to show the path an off contour bank or excavated ditch as it winds across a DEM landscape.  The line would typically have a grade/slope of 1 in 300 in most rural applications although In flatter landscapes 1 in 5,000 may be used. Urban sewers, as I recall, need a minimum of 1 in 50 grade. 

Various design constraints determine the starting point so the line may need to be either rising or falling from that point.

In the field, this is done by arcing a constant distance (radius) from each successive point and finding the desired height RL.

In my CAD program, I initiate a line and manually set each point by using the distance to last point display and mentally interpolating the height between adjacent contours.

I hope you can help.  I’m using Version 11 can v21 produce what I’m after?  

The Adjusting Line Elevations to a Slope function will take a digitized 3D line and adjust the elevations to a user-specified slope. Essentially, if you digitize a line on a DEM, select it with the digitizer tool, right-click and go to Move/Reshape Features, then click Adjust Elevations to a Single Slope, you will essentially be shifting that line to the new vertex elevation values. To visualize a trench, you could create a buffer around a selected line, then use the Calculate Flatten Site Plan option in the right digitizer menu to see the trench dug into the DEM.

 

Is it possible to analyze 3D data in Global Mapper such as Temperature or Salinity measured at different depths in the ocean?

Global Mapper can load and work with 3D data. You can take vector features representing your temperature and salinity readings and style them to create a thematic map. 

Global Mapper can also grid values. Typically this is used for elevation, but you can direct the program to grid values from another attribute by setting the elevation attribute on the Elevations tab of the vector options. Then use the Grid Creation tool to create a 3D raster gridded surface of these values.

 

I’d like to know the best workflow to export a raster file, tilling the image and doing the background transparency.

In any raster format export, you should see a Tiling tab in the Export Options dialog that will allow you to break the data being exported into tiles by one of a few options. 

Common raster formats like ECW, JPEG2000, GeoTIFF, and others can export images and make the background transparent through the use of an additional alpha channel for the image. To enable this option for background transparency, use the checkbox to Make Background (Void) Pixels Transparent in the file Export Options. 

 

How can I sort two shapes files with the same numbers but different positions, into one file of missing points?

In Global Mapper you can search for features with duplicate attribute values. Another option to find features that share some attribute values may be to search the vector features. After searching for features based on a query, you can delete, copy, or further manipulate the found attributes. 

 

How do I perform a complete terrain analysis and what are some lesser known capabilities which can be explored with Global Mapper?

Global Mapper contains many terrain analysis tools for you to use in a complete analysis. These include but are not limited to contour generation, volume measurements, and viewshed creation. Some lesser known tools would be Compare/Combine Terrain layers and Find Ridge Lines. These tools, along with many others, can be found in the Analysis Menu

 

What is the best way to load a subsea pipeline route comprising the end points, intersection points (IP) and the IP radi?

Global Mapper can load and edit vector features. With the points representing the pipeline selected you can use the digitizer right-click option Advanced Feature Creation > Create New Line Feature from Selected Points to connect the points into a line for the pipeline route. 

 

Can you make Global Mapper more compatible with ESRI’s ArcGIS?

Global Mapper supports many different file formats for import and export, and we try to make it as easy as possible to get data into our program. In version 21.0 of Global Mapper the ability to export vector features to a Geodatabase was added to the 64-bit version of the program. The 32-bit version of the Global Mapper can export raster layers to a Geodatabase if you have an ESRI license on the machine. 

You had asked for a general information update. The current release of Global Mapper is version 21.1 which can be downloaded from here. New features and changes to the Global Mapper program can be found in the What’s New section of the Global Mapper knowledge base

 

I would like to know what is the simplest methodology of the webinar.

This Ask the Experts webinar covered many different topics. If you are interested in a particular tool demonstrated in the webinar, you can find details on any function of Global Mapper in the program knowledge base

If you would like to watch the Ask the Experts webinar again, please fill out the form linked here to gain access to the recorded webinars from the GeoTalks Express series. We also have many other recorded webinars and helpful videos openly available for you on our YouTube channel

If you have any questions about the Global Mapper program, let us know in a reply to this email or by contacting our support team (geohelp@bluemarblegeo.com), or our sales team (orders@bluemarblegeo.com).

 

Using BMGC, can you create a local CRS using similarity transformation parameters instead of “fitted” CRS?

In Geographic Calculator you can define a new coordinate reference system and new transformations if you have the information to do so. If you cannot define a new CRS with the information you have, you can use control points to create a best fit coordinate system

 

I want to convert some shapefiles from one CRS to another,  is it possible in your software? Does your software include all the North America’s CRS specifically North Dakota (Williston basin)? Sometimes we use ND83-SF (SPCS North Dakota South / NAD83 / Feet), sometimes UTM83-13 (UTM 13N / NAD83) and in special cases we use SPCS27_250 (SPCS Montana Central / NAD27 / Feet).

These three projections are all supported in Global Mapper. You can select them in Configuration > Projection to reproject your data. 

For the State Plane Coordinate Systems, start by selecting SPCS from the projection dropdown, then select the zone and confirm the datum and units. For the UTM projection, select UTM from the projection dropdown, then the zone and datum. You can also load projection by using the Load from File option in Configuration > Projection and pointing to a *.prj file like the ones you shared.

 

I would like to know, what is the best method to export elevation grids and TIN surfaces into a regular meshes. 3D modeling software prefers this format for visualization and 3D printing purposes. Sometimes working with a triangulated TINN or irregular meshes create problems. If GM has a way to convert/export regular meshes it would be a great tool for 3D modeling, video games, and 3D printing fields.

Global Mapper includes a few different export options for 3D mesh formats. It can export FBX, Wavefront OBJ, just to name a few. I would take a look at this page that would give some more detailed information on the 3D export options: https://www.bluemarblegeo.com/knowledgebase/global-mapper-21-1/Export_3D_Format.htm?

 

I use the lidar module to extract trees on Maine woodlots and would like to hear how the various settings impact results.  Here are screen shots from a recent project where I extracted trees on a 30 acre woodlot.  I experimented with “resolution to extract” and found the .45 feet gave me the greatest number of trees.  Each lot is slightly different in this setting and falls in the range of 0.5 to 0.2 feet.

So, if you could go through the settings in these 2 dialog boxes and explain:  (1) what they do; and (2) how to find the sweet spot.

I’m using lidar data that I either acquire from NOAA or point clouds from maps built from drone acquired photography.

 As you have noted, the settings for classification and extraction will be a bit different for each point cloud depending on the characteristics of that point cloud and the terrain and features it represents. Finding the “sweet spot” for these parameters comes from a bit of trial and error as well as knowing your data and study area. I suggest you first focus on classification and fine tuning those parameters to classify the point cloud correctly before moving onto feature extraction. 

When working with drone image-derived point clouds you will want to make sure you have enough true ground points in vegetated areas to differentiate the ground level fro the vegetation. Since some of the parameters in the non-ground classification and extraction tools refer to height, you need to have ground classified points that can be used to determine the relative height of other points. 

With the Automatic Non-Ground Classification the Minimum Height Above Ground and the Minimum Vegetation distance are the more important parameters for high vegetation classification. The Minimum Height Above Ground sets a threshold for the start of the non-ground classification. This setting helps to week out other ground features like low vegetation, rocks, and cars. The Minimum Vegetation Distance sets a minimum distance between points for an area to be considered vegetation. This is useful as vegetation areas tend to have more spread out points compared to a more solid surface like a building.T he Maximum Co-Planar Distance and Co-Planar Angle Difference apply more to the building classification. Are you seeing your point classified correctly by this tool, or are there sections of points that remain unclassified or misclassified?

When extracting tree features the values you enter for the Minimum Tree Height, and the Maximum and Minimum Tree Spread help to guide the program to break the classified points up into individual tree features. The resolution at which to extract has to do with how finely the point cloud is looked at to extract features. Lower resolution point clouds should use higher values. 

 

I could certainly benefit from seeing a demonstration of the following, starting with a point or polygon “shapefile”:

1) How to embed a system URL pathname into a table field (such as within a shapefile field) to pop up a related Excel file or PDF.

2) How to edit a table value for the URL in case your “client” made a mistake in giving you the URL and now all the pathnames to a pop-up document are “wrong” and need to be fixed//edited.

3) Related Question: Can a shapefile have two table fields (i.e. more than one table field) set up for pop up of 2 separate documents related to one point or polygon?

Thank you for the questions. You can link external files to vector features in Global Mapper using some attributes. You would do this by specifying the path to the desired file to open in a FILE_LNK special attribute.

To add these attributes you can select a feature with the digitizer, right-click, and select Edit to open the Modify Feature Info dialog. Here you can click the button to Add File Link(s). You will then be prompted to select the file you would like to link to this feature. You can link multiple files to a feature. These additional links will be named FILE_LNK_1, FILE_LINK_2, and so on. 

You can also add or edit file links through the attribute editor. Right-click on a layer in the control center and select to Edit Attributes to bring up a table of attributes for the features in the layer. Here you can edit an attribute value by double-clicking on it, or add an attribute. 

To open a linked file, use the Feature Info tool and click on a vector feature. If there are files linked to the feature you will be met with a dialog asking you to select to open the linked file or display the feature attributes.

 

Volume Calculation question. For stockpile calculations in GM, how do you deal with removing conveyors, abutting piles, and other problems in order to obtain as good of data as possible from the point cloud?

Thanks for the question. When using the Pile Volume function in the digitizer, you will want to first constrain the area as best you can to the area you want to calculate. Since this function is used on an elevation grid type of raster, you would want to just digitize an area feature around the boundary of your stockpile to constrain the calculation to a specific pile. 

 

When georeferencing Ground Control Points in the Pixel to Points tool, the cursor “jumps” out of position. Why?

When placing ground control points on your images in the Pixels to Point dialog box, you should not see the cursor jumping out of position. Are you seeing it try and snap to the pixel centers or boundaries in the image? Are you seeing this at all zoom levels or only when zoomed in very closely to the image?

Please try downloading and installing the daily build of Global Mapper and testing your Pixels to Points workflow again. This build contains small updates to the program and will ensure you and I are comparing the same version of Global Mapper. 

Link to download the daily build: https://www.bluemarblegeo.com/products/global-mapper-daily-builds.php

 

When will Excel File data import come?

Currently, Global Mapper cannot import Excel files directly, you must save them as CSV files. There is an open ticket, #GM-4159, on adding the direct import of Excel format files to Global Mapper. Our development team is considering this ticket.

 

And related, is it possible to identify breaklines to constrain the contouring process?

You could use the option in the Analysis menu and go to find Ridgelines, which is currently our closest option. We do have an open enhancement request to automatically extract breaklines from terrain. This is ticket GM-6714. 

 

Is there any option on Global Mapper to draw the shortest path between two points on terrain, maintaining a specific slope cap?

In Global Mapper you can take an existing line feature and adjust the vertex elevations so it matches a user-specified slope. This Adjust Elevation to a Single Slope tool will not alter the x and y positions of the line vertices, but the z, elevation, values will be changed. 

There is a related open feature request on adding the ability to specify a start point, end point, and slope in order to generate a new line feature. This ticket is #GM-2599, and I have added your request for this feature. I will let you know when I hear any updates on this issue. 

 

Can you create a 3d line from x, y, inclination and azimuth?

The COGO digitizer tool in Global Mapper allows you to create a line feature by specifying a start point, bearing, and distance. You can also take an existing 3D line feature and adjust the vertex elevations so it matches a user-specified slope. This Adjust Elevation to a Single Slope tool will not alter the x and y positions of the line vertices, but the z, elevation, values will be changed. 

There is an open feature request on adding the ability to specify a slope value when creating a line feature. 

Geo-Challenge — April 2020 Answers

How Well Did You Do?

Name the Lake? – Lake Ontario

 

Name the Country? – Tunisia

 

Name the Capital City? – Havana

 

Name the Mountain? – Mount Vesuvius

 

Name the Island? – Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego

GeoTalks Express – Session 3 Questions & Answers

The third of Blue Marble’s GeoTalks Express online webinar series, entitled So you think you know Global Mapper, was conducted on April 29th, 2020. During the live session, numerous questions were submitted to the presenters. The following is a list of these questions and the answers provided by Blue Marble’s technical support team.

 

Is there a tool for pan-sharpening?

Yes, Global Mapper has a tool for pan sharpening. The Pan-Sharpen Imagery tool can be found under the Analysis menu. Additional information on the pan-sharpen tool can be found here in the Global Mapper knowledge base

 

Can you import a line vector and generate the profiles?

Yes, you can select a vector line feature in Global Mapper and open a path profile along that line. The line does not need to be 3D as the path profile view will sample and display the elevation grid layer(s) along that line. 

To create a path profile from an existing line, select the line with the digitizer tool and then right-click in the main view of Global Mapper and choose Analysis/Measurement > Path Profile. 

 

​Do the images overlap?

When you have multiple image layers in Global Mapper that occupy some of the same area, they will overlap and the last drawn image will appear on top. You can change the draw order of layers in the Control Center by ​grabbing and dragging layers up and down the list. 

If you would like to blend the images together along the edges you may want to look into the Feathering options for the image layer appearing on top. Here you can feather out an edge of an image to help blend it into the underlying layer. 

 

​​Is there a way to show multiple surfaces in the 3D cutaway with the path profile tool?

​To view overlapping terrain layers in the 3D view you will need to ​enable the option to Draw Multiple Surfaces for Overlapping Terrain in Configuration > 3D View Properties. When you view a Path Profile cutaway in the 3D viewer multiple terrain surfaces will be displayed and cut away, but you will not see separate lines drawn on the cutaway face for the separate layers. 

​You can show multiple terrain layers the floating Path Profile window. To do this you will have to have multiple terrain layers loaded for an area, and you will have to enable a specific path profile setting. In the path profile settings, accessed from the Path Setup menu in the Path Profile view, check the option to Draw Separate Line for Path from Each Terrain Layer. 

 

​I​f you have two dates of elevation data would the two profiles show?

​You can show multiple terrain layers the floating Path Profile window if you have multiple to terrain layers loaded. To show multiple terrain layers in a Path Profile, enable the option to Draw Separate Line for Path from Each Terrain Layer in the path profile settings, accessed from the Path Setup menu in the Path Profile view.  

To view overlapping terrain layers in the 3D viewer you will need to enable the option to Draw Multiple Surfaces for Overlapping Terrain in Configuration > 3D View Properties

 

​​Has Global Mapper updated? I noticed you’re using v21.1​.

Version 21.1 of Global Mapper was released in February of 2020. ​You can download the new version of Global Mapper from the downloads page on our website. If your order is in current Maintenance and Support you are entitled to free version upgrades and should be able to license Global Mapper. If you are unsure about your Maintenance and Support status please contact our sales team, orders@bluemarblegeo.com, ​for further order assistance.

 

​​Does GM have the option to sunshade with a time/ date sun elevation for the location?

Currently, Global Mapper does not have an option to set the dynamic hill shade based on a date and time value. There is an open ticket on this issue, #GM-10988, that our development team is reviewing. 

 

​Using the dynamic hill shading is there a way to use the time of day to generate hill-shading?

Currently, Global Mapper does not have an option to set the dynamic hill shade based on a date and time value. There is an open ticket on this issue, #GM-10988, that our development team is reviewing. 

​Is there a modeling webinar using Global Mapper that you have available? 

We have recorded webinars available on our YouTube channel, BlueMarbleWebinars. What type of modeling information are you looking for? Here you can find a video on creating elevation grid layers from a 3D point cloud. 

 

Is there a way to take an average of those profiles?

In the Path Profile view, there is no way to create an average of the profile lines shown, but you can average the source elevation layers you have loaded. Using the Combine/Compare Terrain Layers tool in Global Mapper you can average the elevation values of loaded layers and generate a new layer. Then, when viewing your path profile this new average terrain layer should be drawn in the Path Profile. 

To show multiple terrain layers in a Path Profile, enable the option to Draw Separate Line for Path from Each Terrain Layer in the path profile settings, accessed from the Path Setup menu in the Path Profile view.

While you cannot take the average across all of the perpendicular path profiles, you can set an elevation corridor distance and display the average elevation along that corridor. In the Path Profile Settings under the Elevation Corridor section, set the type to Keep Average Elevation Along Perpendicular, and the Distance from Path to your desired perpendicular distance. This will show average elevation along the path filled in the path profile window, and a second line showing the elevation along the drawn path. 

 

Will Global Mapper work with underwater 3D models such as coral reefs?

G​lobal Mapper should display any loaded elevation layers or models, this includes layers describing underwater areas and reefs. 

 

​​So this tool creates the boundary of the lake without any input from the user?

The Create Areas from Equal Values tool takes input color values (RGB format) and generates area features by matching the color values in the image. In the lake example shown the lake was a distinct color from the surrounding ground area, so the tool was able to generate a feature bounding the lake based on the colors values in the image. 

 

Is the RBG value a number from 1 to 10 or so? 

RGB values are a color identifier commonly used to specify color values for pixels in images. An RGB value is three numbers representing the amount of Red, Green, and Blue in a specific color. The red, green, and blue values are on a scale from 0 to 255. 

 

How can you export in DWG all these profiles? Will it be one file with many profiles?

From the File menu of the Path Profile window you can select to Save Profile Line(s) to New Layer. When you select this option you can choose to then save All Cross Profiles. This will add 3D lines of the profiles to the main view of Global Mapper, you can then export this layer of features to any supported vector format. 

 

Can the axes in the 3D viewer be labeled with elevation, for the single terrain cutaway?

​Currently, in Global Mapper you cannot display the elevation values in 3D view, but the horizontal elevation guidelines are retained in the cutaway profile view. 

 

How do I alter the shader?

You can change the shader used for your elevation data with the Shader Drop-Down in the View toolbar. If you would like to alter the colors in a shader or create a completely new elevation shader, you can do so in Configuration > Shader Options

 

​​What happens if you choose a profile sampling distance smaller than the data resolution?

Since the source elevation data is a grid that is resampled to smooth between pixels, setting the path profile sampling distance to a value smaller than the source layer spacing will still result in a sampled path profile as you would expect. 

 

Can someone with the free version of acrobat still do some of the same interactions with pdf? 

Yes, you should still be able to view the PDF, toggle different layers on and off, and measure distances in Adobe Acrobat Reader. The layout is a bit different but you can find tools, like measure, on the Tools tab of the window. 

 

I am sorry if this is answered already, I’m having internet issues. Will this be available via recording?

Yes, all registered attendees to this webinar should receive an email in the next week or so with access to the recorded version of this webinar session. You can also register here to view recordings of past GeoTalks Express sessions. 

 

Can you feather grids like elevation data?

Yes, in the elevation layer options you will see the Feathering tab where you can set feathering options for your layer(s).

 

Can the 3D extruded features be color coded as well?

​Yes, the color styling options set in the Vector Options should be retained when you extrude the features using a selected attribute value. This allows you to create a both 3D by height, and 2D by color thematic map with your data. 

 

Does this 3D profile only work if you create the DEM in Global mapper? Can the elevation grid come from another software and saved that was saved as a .tif?

The Path Profile tool and the 3D path profile cutaway will work with any 3D elevation grid you have loaded into Global Mapper. This ogrid could be one created in the program or a grid loaded from a file, like an elevation TIFF. 

 

Can you then add lat and long to your job sites?

With the Find Address tool you can search for multiple addresses to find the positions (coordinates) for features or job sites. As demonstrated you can then create point features at those locations. 

 

Does this work with the perpendicular view you mentioned earlier?

​With a perpendicular path profile the 3D cutaway will not work directly from the path profile as you now have multiple path profile lines drawn. 

You can save the profile lines to a new layer from the File menu in the Path Profile window and then create new profiles from the saved lines one at a time viewing them in the 3D viewer with the cutaway option enabled. 

 

Can you automatically generate (or export) a series of profiles or profile data based on the streamflow lines generated in the Watershed tool? Or similarly a series of line features of any sort?

To create a Path Profile from an existing vector feature, select the feature with the digitizer, right-click in the main view and choose Analysis/Measurement > Path Profile. ​ Each profile will open in a separate tab of the Path Profile window and this option is limited to six-line features at a time. You can save or export a profile from the File menu in the Path Profile window. ​

 

​​Does the person opening the PDF need Adobe Acrobat Pro to turn on and off layers?

​No, you should still be able to view the PDF, toggle different layers on and off, and measure distances in the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. The layout is a bit different but you can find tools, like measure, on the tools tab of the window and the layers sidebar on the left of the main PDF view. 

 

Any way to save viewpoints in 3D view?

You can save an image of your data displayed in the 3D viewer by using the Save Image button (camera icon) in the 3D view window. This will capture the current view and save it to an image file format. 

 

Does the smooth function just smooth once from the original roughness or does the effect stack?

You can smooth features multiple times and the effects will stack on top of each other making the lines appear smoother each time you apply the tool.  

 

Can you feather along a partial length of an edge?

When specifying an edge of an image to feather along, you can only select the whole edge with the checkboxes available on the Feathering options tab of the Layer Options. 

That being said, there are some additional options in the feathering dialog to feather the data with respect to a selected polygon. Depending on what you are trying to achieve this option to use a polygon feature for the feathering bounds may work for you, although the data will be feathered along all sides of the selected polygon(s). 

 

Does the pdf contain the coordinate system for the geospatial tool? Does it do eastings and nothings too based on the projection in GM?

While the Geospatial PDF file will retain the workspace projection, as set in Configuration > Projection, if loaded back into Global Mapper or a GIS program, the coordinates displayed in Adobe will be shown in geographic latitude/longitude values. 

 

Are the profile axes visible in the 3D window?

Currently, in Global Mapper you cannot display the axis values in the 3D view for a path profile cutaway. However, the horizontal elevation guidelines are retained in the cutaway profile view to provide some reference.   

 

Can we use that tool with the coast line?

You can draw a path profile along the coastline and display it. You can also generate a path profile from an existing vector feature if you already have a line representing the coastline. Both of these methods allow you to enable the perpendicular path profiles option, which you can do in the path profile settings, before or after creating a path profile. 

 

Is it possible for the perpendicular path profiles to have varying widths, such as being constrained to a hydrographic feature polygon?

After creating the path profiles, you can use the Path Profile File menu option to save the profile lines to a layer in the Global Mapper workspace. This will save a layer with a 3D line for each profile. You can then crop these line features to a specific area like a hydrological feature.

 

​When demonstrating the Voronoi/Thiessen diagram with rainfall collection data, you suggested we use watershed/catch basins instead of doing the Voronoi/Thiessen analysis. While this is a great suggestion for an analysis and thematic mapping, it requires a different workflow. 

For your suggested workflow you would need not only the rainfall measure points, but also the watershed area features. You can generate watershed areas with an elevation grid and the Watershed Creation tool in Global Mapper. With the rainfall point data, and the watershed areas, you can copy attributes from nearby/overlapping features to apply the rainfall amounts from the point features to the watershed features. This would then allow you to generate a thematic map of the watershed areas based on the measured rainfall data.

GeoTalks Express – Session 2 Questions & Answers

The second of Blue Marble’s GeoTalks Express online webinar series, entitled Why do you need the Lidar Module?, was conducted on April 15th, 2020. During the live session, numerous questions were submitted to the presenters. The following is a list of these questions and the answers provided by Blue Marble’s technical support team.

 

Would it be possible to get an xyz file into the Lidar Module?

When you load your XYZ file, the Text File Loader will open automatically. It has an option to load as a lidar point cloud. 

 

Will the pixels to point tool work with standard aerial photography from fixed-wing aircraft?  

​The Pixels to Points tool in Global Mapper uses the structure from motion process to construct the point cloud, orthoimage, and mesh outputs. This process relies on overlap between adjacent images showing identifiable features from slightly different angles as the camera moves over the area. We do recommend at least 60% overlap between images, but it is always best to try for more. 

This issue with most standard aerial photography is that there is likely little to no overlap between the produced image frames. Without this overlap, features cannot be identified in multiple images and triangulated to then generate the output layers. That being said, if your images are geotagged and have the required overlap, you may be able to use them in the Pixels to Points tool. 

 

How long does it roughly take to run a pixels to points extraction for a couple of hundred images? Thanks 

How long does it take to generate a project of this size for the ortho, point cloud and mosaic using the pixels to point tool?

 It would be hard for me to give an exact time estimate on P2P processing. There are quite a few variables involved​, such as your settings within the tool, details of the imagery you’re using, hardware specs, etc. I would say generally this process is a more computationally intensive one than some other basic processing in Global Mapper, so it could range from as little as a few minutes, to longer, again all depending on the above criteria.

 

​So, you don’t need Pix4D or Agisoft PhotoScan (Metashape)?

Yes, the Pixels to Points tool can construct point cloud, orthoimage, and mesh outputs like Pix4D and Agisoft do. After generating these outputs with the Pixels to Points tool from the Lidar Module you can continue working right in Global Mapper to classify, grid, analyze your point cloud further.

 

​What are the recommended PC specifications for using the LiDAR module?

Minimum and recommended system requirements for Global Mapper and the Pixels to Points tool can be found here in the Global Mapper knowledge base.

 

​Can you speak *conceptually* to the difference between LiDAR data and point cloud data collected via an automated drone flight? 

​It sounds like you have some experience working with both types of data. The main differences stem from how the data is collected and the point cloud is generated. As you noted, lidar data collection is active and has multiple returns. This allows data to be collected from below tree canopy as some of the returns will likely pass beneath ​it and be able to return ground reflected points. True lidar data also collects true intensity and other characteristics that cannot be generated from drone collected images. 

A point cloud generated from drone collected images can only construct what the images show. For example in areas with dense vegetation or no clear view of the ground, the program cannot accurately identify ground since the images do not show it. This then can impact your classification of the point cloud using automated classification tools. 

​With drone collected images generating your point cloud there are RGB values assigned to the points, and with the Pixels to Points tool you can easily construct an orthoimage along with the point cloud. In Global Mapper if you have a point cloud without RGB values and an image for the area, you can apply color to the point cloud. ​

 

Do you have automatic powerline extraction tools? or is it done manually? Are breaklines automatically generated or are they manually collected?

Global Mapper does have automated Powerline Classification and Extraction tools.

When it comes to breaklines, this would depend on how you want to work with them. You could load in breaklines if you have them in an existing file already, you can incorporate them when making a terrain layer as well. Making Contours  may help you find them too.

 

Can you get measurements in feet and inches?

In Configuration > General > Measure Units you can ​change the distance units displayed when using the Measure tool in Global Mapper. 

 

Is there a limit in size or number of pictures to process in Pixels to Point from pictures taken using drones?

We do not impose a limit on the number of pictures ​you can use in the Pixels to Points tool, but the amount of data you can process is limited by your machine memory. This is also impacted by the quality setting in the pixels to points tool and whether or not you are reducing your images. 

When you go to run the Pixels to Points process Global Mapper does a memory estimate and if it is predicted you will run out of memory, the program will suggest you reduce your image sizes by a certain factor. 

 

Do you have a document describing best practices for collecting Drone footage to generate a point cloud? Is there a link to tutorials for Drone footage capture?

We don’t have any video tutorials on collecting drone images for processing with the Pixels to Points tool, but you can find our data collection recommendations here in the Global Mapper knowledge base

 

​Will there be a technical webinar for the Lidar Module too?

More information on upcoming GeoTalks Express webinars can be found here. We also have many past webinars posted on our YouTube channel including a series on lidar processing in Global Mapper. ​

 

​Can you talk more about free lidar sources please?  

There is freely available lidar data out there. In Global Mapper we include some of these sources in the Online Sources dialog. There is a LIDAR folder you can expand and the sources listed here will link you to an organization’s download page where you can then download data for your area of interest. ​

 

​Is this software actually processing the raw images and x,y,z coordinates from the UAS flight? Or are you processing the point cloud in another software and transferring it into your software for combination with other file extensions?

The Pixels to Points tool in Global Mapper is taking the collected drone images and running through a process in the program to construct a 3D point cloud, orthoimage, and 3D mesh output. These layers are created in Global Mapper with the use of the Lidar Module. ​In the demonstration shown in this GeoTalks Express session, no other software programs were used to process the drone images into the three output layers. 

 

​Can we use a GPS enabled DSLR handheld camera for image collection vs. a drone?

You can use a GPS enabled DSLR camera to collect images to then process in the Pixels to Points tool. Ideally, you will want to keep the data collection as uniform as possible using a fixed focus and no zoom. You can mount a DSLR camera to a drone, or collect images without a drone as long as the images meet the data recommendations. This includes clear images that have the required overlap and are geotagged. 

 

Does the LIDAR module support SLG and SL2 files such as are produced by Lowrance side scan sonar units on boats?  

Global Mapper supports SLG and SL2 formats for import and export, and you do not actually need the Lidar Module addition to load the file types. A full list of file formats supported in Global Mapper can be found here.

 

Is it possible to detect the position of overhead line conductors with the pixel to points process? 

​Global Mapper with the Lidar Module contains some automatic classification tools including a powerline classification tool. ​This tool allows you to take a point cloud, like one generated by the Pixels to Points tool, and detect and classify points that represent powerlines. Once these points have been classified, you can use the feature extraction tool to extract the powerlines to vector features. 

 

​Does LiDAR module have the ability to tie in ground control points for aerial imagery?​

​In Global Mapper you can rectify images using control points with the Image Rectifier tool. ​This tool can be used when loading images that contain no georeference information, or you can adjust a loaded image by right-clicking on the layer in the control center and selecting to Rectify

​When generating an image from the Pixels to Points tool, the ground control points you place in the Pixels to Points dialog will be used when generating the output layers. ​

 

​What point cloud file formats does LiDAR module support? Can I use an export from AutoDesk RECAP and import into the LiDAR module?

AutoDesk RECAP files are supported in Global Mapper and the Lidar Module. A full list of file formats supported by Global Mapper can be found here

 

I have a network license, but would like to use the software in the field while flying in order to check that I have good data before leaving the site. Is there a way to use my network license as a single floater license?  

You can borrow a network license seat from the server for use offline. This will allow you to use the Global Mapper and Lidar Module licenses off-network. 

 

Do you have to have the lidar point cloud loaded with the images to create a 3D mesh in the Pixels to Points tool?  

The mesh created from the Pixels to Points tool is created from the point cloud also generated by the tool. You do not need to have any previously created point cloud layers loaded to generate a mesh through the Pixels to Points tool. 

 

​Is the 3D mesh give you a similar file as colorizing the point cloud?​

The mesh generated from the Pixels to Points tool is textured with the drone collected images. You can create a mesh from a selected section of a point cloud with the Lidar Module but it will be textured with the RGB or elevation shader colors of the points as opposed to the drone collected images. 

 

How could the Lidar Module be used for mineral exploration?  

​The Lidar Module allows you to process and ​work with point clouds. What specific kind of analysis are you looking to do?

You can classify and generate elevation grids to model your study area. If you are able to collect your own data using a lidar scanner or processing drone collected images you can generate models of the area for specific dates and compare as they change over time using the Compare Point Clouds tool or the Combine/Compare Terrain layers option. 

 

Is it possible to do automatic extraction line. ie kerb of road or boundary from a shape (home, etc.).?​

In Global Mapper with the Lidar Module, you can do some custom feature extraction to place control points along a feature in a point cloud and extract a vector line. This is not automated extraction for all like features in a point cloud, you would need to extract each individually. 

 

​It is possible search for the best fit line from all points (wire line), for example : powerline wire?​

You can extract vector features for powerlines from a point cloud using the Feature Extraction tool. Before using the tool you must classify the point cloud to identify the points representing the powerline features. Global Mapper supports a few automatic classification tools including one to classify powerlines

 

Can your Pixels to Points program utilize precise camera coordinates instead of ground control points?  

If you do not have accurate ground control points or do not wish to use any, you do not need to enter them in the Pixels to Points tool. Without ground control points the camera coordinates, and other EXIF information, will be used alone to position the images for processing. 

 

Can your Pixels to Points program accommodate both precise camera coords as well as gcp coords in an integrated optimization (adjustment) of the camera positions and tie points? 

Currently in Global Mapper, the camera coordinates are adjusted during the process and the entered ground control points are used for this adjustment.

 

​Do you provide for inputs to control the weighting of coordinates – whether of ground control points or of camera exposure positions?​

The Pixels to Points tool does not allow for the weighting of control points or weighting between the set of camera coordinates and ground control points. We do have an open development ticket (#GM-9093) on adding the ability to weight control points. 

 

​The mesh file – is it a triangulation model or a square GIS mesh?

The mesh file generated from the Pixels to Points tool is a triangulation mesh. The mesh is a vector feature made up of triangular faces and textured from the drone collected images. 

​​

​Is it possible to import commonly-used camera parameters (ie Phantom 4 V2) to help with processing? If not are there plans to add this capability or can you discuss how to set up with currently available option for best results.​

Global Mapper keeps a database of camera models and parameters. Common camera models are recognized from the input image metadata, but if the camera is not part of this built-in database, you will be prompted to select the model and enter the sensor width. This entered information will then be stored by Global Mapper in the user data folder in a sensor_width_camera_database.txt file. 

The Phantom 4 V2 is in the built-in camera database and should be recognized from the input image metadata. 

 

How do comparisons with ESRI ArcMapper and ArcPro with the LP360 Extensions?

With the addition of the Lidar Module in Global Mapper, you can classify point clouds, with automatic classification tools or by manual classification, extract features, and compare and analyze point clouds in many ways. Additionally, in the Lidar Module you can use the Pixels to Points tool to construct a point cloud from drone collected images. From using the Lidar Module tools you can easily continue analysis with any of the Global Mapper tools

The Lidar Module is built into the Global Mapper general GIS solution. It is not a standalone application that would require you to use limited extension tools in another application or transfer files between programs during your workflow. This allows for a more seamless workflow since all of the needed tools are in one program. 

What processes do you most often perform in your point cloud analysis? Are there any processes you are specifically interested in?

 

​Is there a way to adjust roll, pitch and yaw or is the point cloud matching only based on xyz?  

The camera position and parameters like roll, pitch, and yaw are found in the metadata for each image used in the Pixels to Points tool. This information is used to position the images when processing them. You can load metadata for images from a text file in the Pixels to Points dialog. This method would allow you to alter the information as needed before applying it to the images. 

 

What are the benefits of using the Lidar Module as opposed to using Terrasolid?​

G​lobal Mapper with the Lidar Module offers classification, feature extraction, filtering, 3D viewing, point cloud construction from collected images, along with many other tools. Some of these functions are similar to those in Terrasolid, but Global Mapper supports a wide variety of file formats and our development team is always pushing to improve the existing tools and create new ones for point cloud processing. 

Since the Lidar Module is part of the Global Mapper program you can seamlessly go from working with the Lidar Module tools to using any of the Global Mapper tools in your analysis.

What processes do you most often perform in your point cloud analysis? Are there any processes you are specifically interested in?

 

GeoTalks Express – Session 1 Questions & Answers

The first in Blue Marble’s GeoTalks Express online webinar series, entitled Getting to Know Global Mapper, was conducted on April 1st 2020. During the live session, there were a number of questions submitted to the presenters. The following is a list of these questions and the answers provided by Blue Marble’s technical support team.

 

What is the spatial extent of the data being loaded? 

I believe that you were asking this question in reference to loading data from an online source. When loading online data you have a few options to choose the extent to load. The extent is specified in the connect to online data dialog and you can load data for only the current screen bounds, within a certain distance of an address or coordinate, within a selected area feature, or for the entire source bounds. In the session today I demonstrated loading only data for the current screen bounds. 

When loading data from an online source keep in mind that this data is streamed and relies on your network connection to load the data. Smaller areas of data will likely load faster.

 

How do you define the bin sizes in the depth example?

When setting up the point styles for the lake depth points I manually entered and set the style for each value using the New Value button on the Point Styles tab. 

You can use the Load Values option to automatically load values from a layer of features. You can load each unique value, or if the values are numeric Global Mapper will recognize this and give you the option to load only key values (minimum, average, average + two standard deviations, maximum) and then blend the colors between these values. 

 

How do you get contour lines? 

In Global Mapper contour lines are created from a loaded elevation grid layer using the generate contours tool. In this tool there are many options for generating contour lines including the option to set a specific contour interval in meters or feet. 

 

Is it possible to know the date from World Image Data?

Blue Marble does not create or update any of the data streamed from the online sources. For more information on any built-in online source, image or otherwise, you can right-click on the source name from the Online Sources dialog and select to Display Source Web Page/Terms of Service

 

Can Global Mapper produce contours from point data?

Contour lines need to be created from an elevation grid layer. You can generate an elevation grid from 3D point data, and from there generate contour lines

 

Can the fly through be saved as a file? 

Yes, you can save a fly through as a video. From the 3D viewer click on the save the fly through button on the toolbar and you will have options to select the quality, resolution, frame rate, and format for the video recording of the fly through. 

 

If you delete something is there an undo button?

You can use the keyboard shortcut ctrl + z to undo deleting features right after you have deleted them. This undo function only covers the last feature(s) you deleted and will not work if you delete a feature and then perform another action in Global Mapper. 

 

Is the profile view 1:1 or is it vertically exaggerated? 

The path profile view is exaggerated to fill the path profile window. There are values noted on both the x and y axes of the profile view. You can specify a specific elevation range or scale for this tool in the Path Profile Settings

 

Can you talk about how to find free lidar data online?

There is freely available lidar data out there. In Global Mapper we include some of these sources in the Online Sources dialog. There is a LIDAR folder you can expand and the sources listed here will link you to an organization’s download page where you can then download data for your area of interest. 

 

Do the menu tiles – icons highlight only when applicable choice? The pencil selects as edit – the feature chosen triggers other option choices?

Specific to the digitizer toolbars, you may have noticed that some tool icons appear grayed out and are unable to be selected. This is true for many feature editing tools until you select a feature with the digitizer. Once you have a feature selected you should see these options brighten and be selectable based on the feature(s) you have selected. 

 

What do the tree and building toolbar buttons do?

These buttons are part of the Lidar Classification toolbars that are used to work with point cloud data in the Lidar Module. We will be talking about the Lidar Module in the next GeoTalks Express session on April 15th. 

We do have previously recorded webinars and videos that specifically focus on and talk about the Lidar Module if you are interested in learning more about this module now. You can find these videos here on our YouTube channel

 

How are the lat and long extents set up in the map layout editor?

When you create a map layout you select with the bounds or the scale and center point of the data that should be displayed in the map layout. To add coordinate grid elements to the map, click to select the map frame then right-click and select Properties. Here you can edit the map view element and on the Grid Fram tab add coordinate grid information to the map view. 

 

Can we georeference a scanned map in Global Mapper? 

Yes, you can georeference scanned maps and other layers in Global Mapper. To georeference a layer you would use the Rectification tool. For this tool you should start by loading some reference data into Global Mapper, then from the File menu select Rectify (geo reference) Imagery to load your scanned map image and open the Image Rectifier dialog. 

 

Is there any way to create contours with intervals less than 1m or 1ft?

Yes, you can specify a contour interval in the contour generation tool dialog. The only unit options are meters and feet, but you can use decimal values to specify a smaller contour interval. 

 

Can you export a path profile as a point or CSV file?

You can export a path profile to multiple formats from the File menu in the path profile dialog. From this menu you have options to export the profile as a CSV or XYZ file. 

 

Can Global Mapper incorporate multiple surface models so the profile view shows more than one profile? 

Yes, if you have multiple overlapping terrain layers loaded in Global Mapper you can create a path profile view that will show separate lines for all terrain layers. To enable this option you will need to go to the Path Profile Settings and check the option to Draw Separate Line for Path from Each Terrain Layer. In addition you can enable the option to Draw Legend when Drawing Separate Layer Lines

 

When importing USG 3DEP elevation data – is there a way to know its accuracy and time/date of collection?

Blue Marble does not create or update any of the data streamed from the online sources. For more information on any built-in online source, image or otherwise, you can right-click on the source name from the Online Sources dialog and select to Display Source Web Page/Terms of Service

 

Can you create a contour map from the lake points or a thematic map? Like a heat map?

From the lake depth points used as an example, you could generate an elevation grid to show depth, and generate contour lines from that gridded elevation layer. 

You can create a thematic map by changing the point style for the lake depth points in the layer options. 

Global Mapper also has a density or heat map tool that you can use to show clusters of points or attribute values. 

 

How can you extract an area to AutoCAD Civil 3D? Image? Terrain?

Global Mapper supports many file formats for both import and export. For vector features these do include common AutoCad formats DWG and DXF. For raster image and elevation formats Global Mapper has many options including JP2000 (image), GeoTIFF (image or elevation), and DEM (elevation). Are there specific formats you are looking to work with?

 

Can you do image registration in Global Mapper?

You can georeference images and other layers in Global Mapper. To georeference a layer you would use the Rectification tool. For this tool you should start by loading some reference data into Global Mapper, then from the File menu select Rectify (geo reference) Imagery to load your scanned map image and open the Image Rectifier dialog. If you are looking to adjust the rectification for a layer, right-click on the layer in the control center and select Rectify

 

Can you make final presentation plots with title box and other presentation features?

Yes, you can create maps with titles, legends, and other elements using the Map Layout Editor. From here you can export the pages to PDF files or images for use in presentations. 

 

Can you use this to show areas of a certain percent slope, like slopes greater than 20%?

In Global Mapper you can use a custom shader to show specific slope values or slopes over a certain threshold in a different color. When creating a custom shader the slope values should be specified as degrees. 

You also have the option to create vector features from slope values by using the Create Areas from Equal Values tool. You can then search these vector features to identify and work further with a specific slope value or range of values. 

 

Can the 3D-views generated by the fly-through tool all be exported in a batch?

If you have multiple fly-through paths defined in Global Mapper, when you go to save the fly-through you will be prompted to select a path in the Fly-Through Options dialog. You can select All Paths which will play and record all the fly throughs back to back recording them to one video file.

 

Are there any size limits on vector files?

Although there are no size limits on files when working in Global Mapper, you should make sure that your computer is powerful enough to handle the size of data you are working with and the processes you are running. We do have some system requirements and recommendations for running Global Mapper, but an issue some users run into is insufficient memory when performing analysis functions with large datasets. 

 

Is it possible to change the units in the path profile?

Yes, you can change the distance units in Global Mapper and the elevation units used in the Path Profile tool. To change the distance units (x axis units in the path profile) go to Configuration > General > Measure/Units and change the Distance Units. To change the elevation units in the path profile (y axis units) open the Path Profile Settings and change the Elevation Display Units.

 

What projection does the feature retain? Can we specify the coordinate system when exporting?

When exporting features or layers Global Mapper will use the workspace projection to write out the files. The workspace projection is also what is used to draw and display the data in Global Mapper. This projection can be viewed, set, and changed in Configuration > Projection

 

Can you round this calculation to a desired precision?

If you are asking about precision related to calculating new attributes, you can use a function to specify a number of decimal places for a numeric value. 

  • FIXED(expression1 [, expression2]) : Formats expression1 as a numeric value, to an optional number of decimal places, specified by expression2, if present; if it’s not present, then the default is 2 decimal places.

 

Do you have more style options for the scale bar?

In the Map Layout Editor you can edit the scale bar feature to customize aspects like font, spacing, and color. All added elements are able to be edited like this in the Map Layout Editor. 

 

If you crop and image, can you export only the cropped area and if so, what resolution will it keep? 

When you crop an image the image still displays with the original resolution. When exporting an image Global Mapper will export the image that is shown, so if an area is cropped out that area will not be exported. In the export options you do have the option to specify the resolution for the exported image. 

 

I’m a secondary science teacher (grades 7-12) that teaches earth science. Do you think the global mapper can be applied to teaching topographic mapping? It seems a bit too difficult for students (who are around 14-15 years old) to use, but maybe there’s something that I could do with it as a demonstration tool.

In Global Mapper you can most certainly work with and create topographic maps. Take a look at the generate contours tool to show and have students understand how contour lines fit a gridded elevation surface. With the 3D viewer and path profile tool you could show how the 3D data/information is translated to a flat or 2D map. 

If you are unfamiliar with Global Mapper I encourage you to request a trial license and start by looking at the Getting Started Guide, and maybe some of our self training lessons

 

How do we change the openspace label zoom during exporting raster images?

When viewing online data, like the World Street Maps or Open Street Maps data, that has labeled areas and features, these labels are part of the raster image. This means that the scale of the features and labels is linked to the zoom level of the online source.

You can control some of the detail shown for online layers on the Display tab of the layer options. In this dialog you should see a slider for Online Layer Detail Offset that can be used to adjust the amount of detail shown based on using a higher or lower zoom level for the online data. 

 

How can I generate a database of points over the image?

If you are looking to generate a regular grid of point features over a loaded image layer, you can use the Create Regular Grid of Features tool from the digitizer (advanced) toolbar. This tool will generate a grid of features (points, lines, or areas) and you can select under Grid Placement/Orientation to fill rectangle. Using the Select Rectangle button you can then set the bounds to the bounds of a specific image layer.

 

Can I draw a line joining the deepest or shallowest depth points of a dataset?

With the digitizer tools in Global Mapper you can select specific points and then choose to create lines features from selected points. To select points to connect into lines, you can search the vector data for features based on an attribute value and select them, or select features more directly with the digitizer tool. 

Additionally, you can generate a gridded elevation layer for the depth points and then perform further analysis. Some analysis functions Global Mapper supports are the generation of contour lines and watershed and stream creation over an area of known elevation. 

I see that you were interested in creating or working with a bathymetric surface with water shading

If you do not have a bathymetric surface, but instead have point features like in the Lake Depth example shown during the GeoTalks Express session, you can generate a gridded layer from this 3D vector data. You can then shade this layer with any of the built in shaders, or create a custom shader to show the colors/values you would like. 

You also have an option to display a water level at a specific elevation which would allow you to show a water line along a coastal area or bank. 

Geo-Challenge — March 2020 Answers

How Well Did You Do?

Name the Island? – Réunion

 

Name the Country? – Poland

 

Name the Monolith? – Rock of Gibraltar

 

Name the River? – Niger River

 

Name the Capital Cities? – La Paz and Sucre

Got a Drone? Now What? — Using Global Mapper with Your UAV

Let’s start with a question. How many of you currently own a Segway? Unless you moonlight as a mall cop or run an urban tour company, you probably decided not to jump on that gyroscopically-controlled bandwagon. If the hype that surrounded the release of this ‘revolutionary technology’ was to be believed, we would long since have abandoned our cars, redesigned our cities, and be living much more fulfilling lives. Alas, the reality has fallen a little short.

The emergence and proliferation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Drones, on the other hand, while not accompanied by a cacophony of hyped-up fanfare, promises to have a much more profound impact on our lives. If current speculation is to be believed, within a few short years, the skies overhead will be swarming with delivery drones, traffic monitoring drones, and even people-moving drones.

For those of us in the mapping industry, this eye-in-the-sky technology effectively addresses one of the perennial challenges that we face: where do we get data, and more specifically, where do we get current data? Traditionally, we have depended on often inadequate and outdated public geospatial data archives or expensive commercial sources. With the advent of readily accessible UAV technology, on-demand data is within anyone’s reach.

The rapid growth of UAV ownership has resulted in an interesting dilemma for some would-be pilots. Having purchased the hardware and collected some data, many are often unclear as to what exactly they can do with it? Over the last couple of years, I have attended several UAV-focused tradeshows and a question that I am often asked is, ‘What can I do with Global Mapper?’ The answer: many things.

Initial Flight Planning

Among the freely available online data services in Global Mapper are high-resolution aerial imagery, Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), aviation charts, and topographic maps.

Before hitting the launch button, it is a good idea to virtually reconnoiter the project area. What possible obstructions are in the vicinity, what are the terrain characteristics, are there any nearby buildings or other facilities that might have overflight restrictions, what is the coverage area? These questions and more can be answered by loading the relevant data into Global Mapper and conducting some rudimentary pre-flight analysis. Among the freely available online data services are high-resolution aerial imagery, Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), aviation charts, and topographic maps. Global Mapper’s drawing tools can be used to delineate the extent of the project site to determine coverage area and to draft an initial flight plan to optimize the data capture process. All of this data can be transferred to an iOS or Android device running Global Mapper Mobile to allow field checking of the flight plan parameters.

Geotagged Image Viewing

Images can be loaded into Global Mapper as picture points creating a geographic photo album. Derived from the coordinate values embedded in the image files, the location at which each photo was taken is represented by a camera icon in the map view.

One of the most basic functions of a UAV is taking photographs and as we will discuss below, with sufficient overlap, these images can be processed into a 3D representation of the local area. Before proceeding with this more advanced functionality, the images themselves can be loaded into Global Mapper as picture points creating a geographic photo album. Derived from the coordinate values embedded in the image files, the location at which each photo was taken is represented by a camera icon in the map view. Using Global Mapper’s Feature Info tool, each photo is displayed using the computer’s default image viewer. Viewed in the 3D Viewer, the camera icons will appear above the terrain or ground providing a precise representation of the drone’s altitude when each image was captured.

3D Reconstruction

The functionality of the Pixels to Points tool transforms simple drone-collected image files into a dataset that can be used for countless 3D analysis procedures.

Incorporated into the optional LiDAR Module, beginning with the version 19 release of Global Mapper, the Pixels to Points tool is used to analyze an array of overlapping images to create a 3D representation of the environment. This powerful component identifies recurring patterns of pixels within multiple photographs and employs the basic principles of photogrammetry to determine the three-dimensional structure of the corresponding surfaces. While the underlying technology is extremely complex, as is typical in Global Mapper, the user’s experience is very straightforward. Simply load the images, apply the necessary settings for the camera system, add ground control points if available, click the Run button, and wait while it creates a high-density point cloud and, if required, a 3D model or mesh. The functionality of the Pixels to Points tool transforms simple drone-collected image files into a dataset that can be used for countless 3D analysis procedures.

Orthoimage Creation

A byproduct of the aforementioned point cloud generation process is the option to create an orthoimage. Defined as a raster layer in which each pixel’s coordinates are geographically correct, the orthoimage is generated by gridding the RGB values in the point cloud. Given its inherent accuracy, this 2D imagery layer can be used for precise measurements or as a base layer for digitizing or drawing operations.

DTM creation and Terrain Analysis

Global Mapper can generate a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) from point cloud data.

As mentioned previously, the Pixels to Points-generated point cloud represents the raw material for numerous analysis procedures in Global Mapper. As with any unprocessed dataset, some QA, cleanup, and processing will be required before embarking on any meaningful workflow. Fortunately, the software offers a plethora of editing and filtering options, including noise point removal, spatial cropping, ground point identification, and automatic reclassification. After isolating the points representing bare earth, the gridding tool is employed to create a Digital Terrain Model (DTM), a 3D raster layer that depicts the ground surface. In turn, this terrain layer can be used to create custom contour lines, to calculate volume, to delineate a watershed, to conduct line-of-site analysis, and, if overlaid on a previously created DTM, to identify and measure change over time.

Video Playback

Aside from capturing still images, most UAVs are equipped with the necessary hardware to record video. Beyond simple recreational use, this functionality is useful for building or asset inspection, strategic reconnaissance, forestry inspection, and in countless other situations where a remote perspective is needed. Global Mapper includes an embedded video player that will play this recording while displaying the corresponding position of the UAV in the map window. The determination of position is derived from the per-vertex time stamp recorded in the track file recorded during the flight. After loading this file as a line feature, and associating it with the corresponding video file, the playback is initiated from the Digitizer’s right-click menu.

LiDAR Processing

The Global Mapper LiDAR Module offers a set of tools for identifying, reclassifying, and extracting these features as vector objects.

Not too long ago, it was generally accepted that, due of the size and weight of the required equipment, LiDAR collection could only be carried out using a manned aircraft. This simple fact contributed to the high cost and logistical challenges of the LiDAR collection process. Today, miniaturization of the LiDAR apparatus has reached the point where it is within the payload capacity of many larger drones. Given the limited range of the aircraft, drone-collected LiDAR is only viable for small, localized projects however it does allow frequent re-flying of a project site and is thus ideally suited for change detection. Global Mapper, along with the accompanying LiDAR Module, offers a wide range of tools for processing LiDAR data. As previously mentioned, points can be filtered and edited before creating a surface model for terrain analysis. Compared to photogrammetrically created point cloud data, LiDAR provides a more complete three-dimensional representation of non-ground features such as buildings, powerlines, and trees. The LiDAR Module offers a set of tools for identifying, reclassifying, and extracting these features as vector objects.

Fundamentally, UAVs and maps have much in common. Both are intended to provide a remote, detached perspective of an area of interest and allow us to see spatial distribution and patterns in our data that would not otherwise be detectable. It is understandable, therefore, that one of the primary functions of a drone is to provide data that can be used for creating maps and other spatial datasets. Global Mapper is ideally suited for this type of workflow and it provides an extensive list of tools that can be used by drone operators.


A thirty-year veteran in the field of GIS and mapping, and a lifelong geographer, David McKittrick is currently Outreach and Training Manager at Blue Marble Geographics. A graduate of the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, McKittrick’s experience encompasses many aspects of the geospatial industry, including cartographic production, data management, marketing and sales, as well as software training and implementation services. McKittrick has designed and delivered hundreds of GIS training classes, seminars, and presentations and has authored dozens of articles and papers for numerous business and trade publications.

 

A Brief History of Global Mapper Part III

This screenshot of Multiview in Global Mapper 19.1 is a prime example of how far the software has come since its days as dlgv32.

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.

Sam Knight
A hand full of the Blue Marble crew at a company outing in summer 2017.

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.

Chelsea E | Projections

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.

Chelsea E | Projections

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.

Got LiDAR? Now What?

LiDAR Extraction in Global Mapper
Using Global Mapper‘s Path Profile tool to precisely digitize the edge of a curb from terrestrial LiDAR data.

The availability of LiDAR data is expanding at a rate that is out-pacing the requisite knowledge and skills needed to effectively utilize the data. Sounds like a cart-before-the-horse analogy, to coin an idiom from a bygone era.

This conundrum first came to our attention a couple of years ago when, during a roundtable discussion at a GIS forum in one of our neighboring New England states, a local government official excitedly announced that her town had just received LiDAR (or leader, to use her exact pronunciation) from the state. She went on to confide that she wasn’t entirely sure what LiDAR was but evidently that did not dampen her excitement. Remarkably, several other forum delegates jumped on the bandwagon, to use another obsolete transportation-based analogy, and shared their enthusiasm at having received data for their town while eagerly awaiting instructions from the same state agency on what to do next.

In the months that followed, it became clear that LiDAR illiteracy is not unique to small-town New England. Many GIS agencies and departments in other states, provinces, and regions throughout the world, recognizing the increased accessibility of point cloud collection technology, have proactively embarked on massive data collection projects. As a means to justify the expense of these projects, the agencies will often provide the fruits of their endeavor to eager and yet uninformed constituents and office bearers.

The aforementioned municipal officials were certainly justified in their excitement; LiDAR data is contributing to a fundamental change in how we perceive our world. Traditional mapping practices have considered the planet from an inherently unrealistic, top-down perspective. With the emergence of 3D data formats, we are now able to develop a more realistic view allowing us to interact with our data in an immersive environment and providing the impetus for the development of new cartographic and analysis techniques.

What is LiDAR?

Let’s make one thing clear, in most circumstances, LiDAR data is not a product but a raw material. It is not an end in and of itself but rather a means to an end. A commodity, if you will. Before exploring some examples of the products that can be created from LiDAR, let’s put the brakes on (yes I know, another transportation metaphor) and consider the basic structure and characteristics of LiDAR data.

The basics of collecting LiDAR data from an airborne platform.Illustration by Chelsea Ellis

Natively, LiDAR (an acronym of Light Detection And Ranging) is a vector data format, or more specifically, it is a 3D point vector format. Each LiDAR file or dataset usually contains millions, or sometimes even billions of closely spaced, randomly distributed points, with the closeness of the spacing dependent on how the data was acquired. Most publicly available LiDAR data has been collected on an airborne platform using laser transmission and receiving technology in tandem with precise position and navigation systems. Each point is attributed with an X, Y, and Z value derived from the calculated time difference between the transmission and reception of a reflected laser pulse. An aircraft flying lower and slower will create a point cloud with more closely spaced points than one flying faster at a higher altitude. Depending on how the data was collected and/or processed, additional attributes might include, a color value, reflection intensity, and the number of returns per pulse, all of which can be visualized and analyzed.

What Can You Do With LiDAR Data?

Fully utilizing LiDAR usually involves some sort of transformation process. This transformation might involve the creation of a 3D raster surface, often referred to as a Digital Elevation Model (DEM), or it might entail the automatic creation or extraction of 3D vector objects derived from the geometric patterns in an array of points. Both of these procedures will be described in more detail later. It is also possible to derive meaningful information by simply changing how the point cloud is represented. The point display can show the distribution of the different surface-type classifications; the elevation of each point above ground; variations in the density of the points; and many other characteristics.

Editing and Filtering LiDAR Data

Almost without exception, LiDAR data files will include many more points than are needed for a particular project or task. In Global Mapper, there are numerous filtering options for removing points that are outside of the geographic extent of a project area; that are considered erroneous or noise points; or that are attributed with a surface-type classification that is not required. Before embarking on any point cloud filtering procedure, it is a good idea to scrutinize the metadata for the layer. This statistical summary will provide the necessary information about the characteristics of the point cloud to allow more informed decision-making in the filtering process.

Improving the Quality of LiDAR Data

As well as removing unrequired points, Global Mapper includes several built-in procedures for recovering points that would otherwise be discarded. The most common and most powerful application of this automatic classification process is the detection and subsequent reclassification of ground points among those that are unclassified. This procedure increases the relative percentage of points that can ultimately be employed in the creation of a DEM resulting in a higher-resolution terrain model.

Other automatic classification procedures include the detection and reclassification of buildings, trees, and utility cables, which is the first step in the feature extraction process.

Creating a Digital Elevation Model

In order to perform virtually all 3D analysis procedures, a LiDAR point cloud will need to be gridded. In this context, gridding describes the process whereby the value associated with each point in an array (typically an elevation value) is used as the basis for generating a solid 3D model. This model can either represent bare earth (a Digital Terrain Model) or an above-ground surface such as a forest canopy (a Digital Surface Model). The distinction between the two is derived from the filtering and selection of the points that are used to generate the surface.

For most LiDAR users, the primary objective is the generation of a DTM, which is the platform for a wide variety of terrain analysis workflows. Without straying too far off the prescribed path (yet another transportation reference), Global Mapper offers an extensive collection of terrain analysis tools, including volume calculation; cut and fill optimization; contour generation; watershed delineation; and line of sight analysis.

LiDAR data and DEM

Feature Extraction

The increased availability of higher density point cloud data has paved the way (OK, I’ll stop now) for a new LiDAR processing discipline. The analysis of patterns in the geometric structure of adjacent points can result in the delineation of building models, represented as three-dimensional polygons; power lines or above-ground utility cables, represented as three-dimensional lines; or tree points, derived from the collective structure of points classified as high vegetation. Global Mapper’s vector extraction tools also include a custom extraction option where 3D lines and polygons can be generated by following a series of profile views that are perpendicular to a predefined path. This tool can be used to create a precise three-dimensional model of any elongated structure, such as a curb along the edge of a street.

Next Steps

The impetus behind this article was to address some typical applications for LiDAR data without delving too deeply into the technical considerations or step-by-step instructions. That said, if you are sufficiently intrigued and are ready to move to the next level, you will need software in order to utilize your LiDAR data. Global Mapper has supported the import and display of LiDAR data since before the format became widely available and each subsequent release has introduced new functionality for effectively managing and processing the data.

Several years ago, Blue Marble introduced an optional module for Global Mapper to address the demand for ever more powerful LiDAR processing tools. If you are interested in the aforementioned automatic reclassification and extraction tools, you should certainly give the LiDAR Module a try.

If you are new to Global Mapper, both the base software and the LiDAR Module can be evaluated free of charge for two weeks.

Webinar Series: LiDAR Processing in Global Mapper

We are releasing a series of short webcasts exploring the use of LiDAR data in Global Mapper and the accompanying LiDAR Module. Beginning with an introduction to the structure and characteristics of LiDAR data, each video will be approximately 20-minutes in length and will cover a specific theme or topic. To receive notification of the availability of these and other Blue Marble video presentations, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow us on Twitter.

This is the first video of the LiDAR Processing in Global Mapper series:

 


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.