Since the introduction of the free Global Mapper academic licensing program in early 2017, countless U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities have adopted Global Mapper as their go-to GIS software for classroom and lab instruction. In this brief presentation, we explore the various aspects of the Global Mapper Academic Program including the updated free curriculum materials and student scholarship program.
Are you an engineer? Did you study linear algebra in college? Perhaps you have an advanced mathematics degree? If so, you might not find this blog helpful. If you’re like many folks in the GIS industry today who did not take a heavy math load in college and are not working as a surveyor or engineer, then this blog hopefully will help you to understand one of the fundamental principles of mapping. Geodesy is that area in GIS that is a bit of a dirty secret in that many people try to avoid it or don’t understand it. Technically it’s the branch of mathematics and science focused on accurately measuring and understanding the size and shape of the earth, its orientation in space, and its gravity field. It is a $100,000 word that even sounds intimidating, but break it down and it will hopefully make sense. It’s the underpinning of all mapping but it can be the most difficult to understand and the most intimidating to the unindoctrinated. I am here to help with my top ten list of geodetic fundamentals, explained in an easy to understand and hopefully easy to remember approach. So let’s dive in to the deep end, shall we?
Number 1: It’s Coordinate “Reference” System not Coordinate System
This is an important point, no pun intended, to remember. The Coordinate Reference System (CRS) is a reference model that packages up everything we need to communicate locations, sizes, and shapes. It is a toolkit that gives us a language to accurately enumerate positions on the earth. Some of the tools in the CRS toolbox are Ellipsoid, Datum, Map Projection, Units, and Origin. A CRS is defined by these concepts, which allows us to talk geodesy. Just remember that we are using a math model to reference the earth. Blue Marble has a tag line: Mind the Gap Between World and Map. That is what we are talking about. Unfortunately there is not a good acronym for these terms. EDPUO does not have a good ring to it. I’ve tried switching them around, nothing works. But you usually need them all to make a CRS.
Number 2: Transform not Convert
When I first started working at Blue Marble, we used to use the phrase “coordinate conversion”. Over the years, we have moved away from that phrase simply because it implies a process that is exact and easily reversible when that is not always the case. When we change coordinate reference systems we are actually transforming the data. We are moving all of the points to a new system and, if we were to reverse that process, we are actually transforming the data again and on some small level those points will not be exactly where they were before. The concept here is that there is much more going on behind the scenes.
Number 3: Three types of Coordinate Reference Systems
There are three main types of CRS that we work with ̶ the Geographic, the Projected, and the Geocentric. Geographic coordinate systems can be thought of as a globe, a whole-earth model. The units are angular like degrees as opposed to feet and are focused on rotation around an axis. This type of system gets us close to the shape of the planet without a lot of distortion. But it is not practical for talking about directions, distances and relative locations. That is why we have the projected systems. Think of the projected systems as taking the round globe and projecting it on to a flat plane. These behave like planar Cartesian systems that allow us to map x and y on a grid in linear units like feet, meters or miles. The third type of system is called geocentric or earth centered/earth fixed (ECEF). This is a model that is based on an origin that is at the center of the planet (the geocenter) as opposed to the surface. Many of these are gravity-based and they were used for GPS satellite technology.
Number 4: The Types of Datum Transformations
Datum Transformations are probably the most difficult concepts for people to understand. Actually, it’s the concept of a datum itself that trips people up. I like to think of the datum as a tie-down point. It is the point that ties a specific location on the globe to your mapping surface. So, if the datum is where we begin a mapping process, envision moving from that point in one direction. We will call that X. Then we turn to a perpendicular direction that we will call Y. If we introduce a change in height, that is Z. So now we take all three position changes (change in X, change in Y, change in Z) and we move them together to arrive at a different reference surface. In order to mathematically move X, Y, and Z together, we use a datum transformation. A simple, linear, three-parameter transformation tries to leave our point in one place and swap out the surface they are on by lining up a new model under it. The simplicity of the shift has tradeoffs in terms of accuracy. If we add more complexity we add more parameters like rotations and scale and we can move into seven, ten, and even 14 parameter shifts. This process is very complex, mathematically speaking, and not easily summed up in a brief blog. But the point (once again, no pun intended) is that we have to transform our data in a precise and accurate manner and this process starts with the datum from which we are transforming.
Number 5: Geoids – Getting Vertical
So many concepts, so little time. OK, so the term geoid literally means Earth model. In today’s geodetic world (seriously, not a pun) we consider geoids in conjunction with vertical datums. Vertical datums add a new dimension to horizontal datums. Think of a horizontal datum as mainly dealing with the x and y, based on an ellipsoid. With a vertical datum we introduce a z value for height. With a vertical datum we introduce ‘up’ and ‘down’. The vertical datums allow us to map mountains, valleys, changes in the terrain, by giving us a good zero height from which we start measuring. Mean Sea Level comes into play when we talk about geoids as well. Geoids are typically models approximating where sea level is supposed to be to create an even more accurate reference for height measurement. They of course have a whole bag of assumptions and challenges to bring to the table as the ocean is an ever moving target. It’s important to remember that when talking about sea level, there are multiple models of it and they aren’t all the same!
Number 6: Not just Where but When is your data?
By this stage, I’ve either confused you even more than you were at the start, or perhapsbe you are beginning to understand some of these concepts a little more so that you have a deeper appreciation of where your data is. Well, I’m sorry but for modern mapping it is no longer just about where, but it is also about when. When is your data? Coordinate reference systems can now also carry a value of when the system was measured; a time stamp if you will. Also known as an epoch. Think of the areas of the earth’s surface that are relatively active (moving) due to tectonic activity. The island of Japan is a great example. After a major earth quake in Japan, the entire island can actually move or change its location. There are now time-dependent transformations available, such as HTDP, to address this challenge. Another way to think of this concept is our friend WGS84 ̶ World Geodetic System 1984. The first iteration of this GPS-measured system was way back in 1984. For our millennial friends, that is ancient history. For today’s mapping, if we are concerned with modern measurement, the original WGS 84 is not going to get it done. It’s been realized (revised) six times over the years; we now use WGS84 (G1762), which was realized 1762 weeks (33 years!) after the original and is now several meters away from positions on surface-based models from that time.
Number 7: Process Assumptions – aka Garbage in Garbage out!
So now you have some of the basic concepts in your list checked off. Now you should be able to look at your mapping data, review these issues and know that, if they are all accounted for, you are all set. Your data is accurate. It is where it is supposed to be and you can move on to more cartographic pursuits such as contour generation and buffering. No, sorry it is not that easy. We cannot assume that the process used to create the data we are working with was executed properly. A common problem in modern mapping is we load in secondary data to our map. Many GIS tools will automatically place that data over the base data. If it appears to line up, we assume it is correct. When we bring in our data, if that data was corrupted by a poor transformation process or mis-labeled geodetically when it comes through that process it will still be bad. We may never know. That is why we always have to be on alert for geodetically corrupted data or processes where assumptions are made.
Number 8: The challenge of that last Meter
Today’s GIS and Survey work often encompasses data in the centimeter level of precision or resolution. Data products like high-resolution LiDAR data with multiple points collected per square meter are common place. Working at high-precision levels requires a great deal of care and persistence. The work is far from complete when the data is collected. There are assumptions to question, data manipulations to understand, and limitations to acknowledge. All of the concepts in our top ten come into play.
Number 9: Metadata, metadata, metadata
One way to help battle garbage in/garbage out is the often overlooked, admittedly boring process of metadata. Metadata is data about the data. It is a key to understanding the CRS involved in our map. Information like coordinate reference system, projections, sources, and assumptions are all important forms of metadata. Mapping folks have been talking about metadata for as long as I can remember. Yet it is still often overlooked. We took delivery of a large, high-resolution, and extremely expensive-to-collect LiDAR data set not too long ago and when we attempted to transform the data we realized there was absolutely no coordinate metadata information. Because it was terrestrial LiDAR and intended to be quite accurate, it used a local CRS, but there was no metadata in the files. An easy fix would have been a text file in the folder directory but that was nowhere to be found either. And this data was collected by a licensed land surveyor. Unacceptable! We all have to do better than that.
Number 10: Education on the Science/ Training on the Software
Let’s remember, whether it’s geography, surveying, geology, physics, ecology, or any number of other disciplines, collectively we are talking about science. One cannot simply become an expert on all facets of applied GIS. One can learn the tools involved but the science of mapping itself is the responsibility of the GIS professional and that science is founded on positioning. Additionally, there are any number of software tools that can be used to create maps. All of those software titles address our top ten list and the question of whether or not they do a good job is up to the GIS professional. We said earlier, garbage in means garbage out. We must all work to stay current on the various tools we use for mapping, and thus by extension geodesy, so that we can understand how those tools address our top ten issues. If we are diligent, we can provide accurate mapping. If we are not, the follies and foils of inaccurate data rest on our shoulders.
Patrick Cunningham is the President of Blue Marble Geographics. He has two decades of experience in software development, marketing, sales, consulting, and project management. Under his leadership, Blue Marble has become the world leader in coordinate conversion software (the Geographic Calculator) and low cost GIS software with the 2011 acquisition of Global Mapper. Cunningham is Chair of the Maine GIS Users Group, a state appointed member of the Maine Geolibrary Board, a member of the NEURISA board, a GISP and holds a masters in sociology from the University of New Hampshire.
Blue Marble Geographics (bluemarblegeo.com) is pleased to announce the immediate availability of an interim update to Global Mapper. This release introduces a major new component to the software’s interface, which has been designed to ensure that the user’s attention is focused on the task at hand. With a simple click of a button, users can now order a freshly brewed cup of coffee from within Global Mapper’s toolbar.
Blue Marble’s GIS software is used by hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers throughout the world who need affordable, user-friendly, yet powerful GIS solutions. Users come from a wide range of industries including software, oil and gas, mining, civil engineering, surveying, and technology companies, as well as government departments and academic institutions.
The addition of the so-called “Coffee Bar” is yet another example of the rapid, user-focused development philosophy that has defined Global Mapper over its 25-year history. Virtually every new feature or function that has been introduced can be attributed to direct input from a customer or user. In the case of the Coffee Bar, the inspiration came from Laurent Martin, a Blue Marble partner and reseller based in Brazil, a country noted for is coffee production. In a recent blog post, Martin noted that, “Global Mapper will do everything you need, except serving you a cup of coffee”.
Global Mapper developers realized that this was a major deficiency that needed to be addressed and quickly set about engineering a solution. The culmination of their work is a new six-button toolbar that offers a range of coffee options including regular, cappuccino, and espresso. After clicking the appropriate button, a status bar will appear indicating the progress of the brewing process and within minutes, a fresh cup of coffee will be delivered right to your desk or workstation. To see the Coffee Bar in action, click here.
The underlying technology that has been developed for the Coffee Bar can easily be adapted for other beverages and a Tea Bar is currently in the early stages of development. A Bar Bar is also being planned, which will serve alcoholic drinks, subject to local licensing laws. Plans are in place to integrate this component into the Global Mapper SDK, which will allow software engineers to add their own beverage options.
“Because Global Mapper is able to efficiently perform complex data processing tasks with minimal user input, the mind of the typical Global Mapper user has a tendency to wonder.” stated Blue Marble’s President, Patrick Cunningham. “The new Global Mapper Coffee Bar ensures that a caffeine-charged pick-me-up is just a click away to re-charge and re-focus our users.”
While the Coffee Bar is currently available in the desktop release of the software, a scaled-down version has been planned for Global Mapper Mobile for both iOS and Android devices. This will serve up your favorite hot beverages in a convenient to-go cup. Warning, beverages may be hot, serious injury or pain could result.
The Global Mapper SDK has empowered countless software developers to create a wide array of powerful and innovative geospatial applications and none more so that Australia-based 4DMapper. Recently, Blue Marble teamed up with 4DMapper to produce a video illustrating common workflows in Global Mapper and how they can now be performed in 4DMapper’s cloud-based platform. We also chatted with COO, Paul Douriaguine about the company why they chose the Global Mapper SDK.
What is the story of 4DMapper? What products or services do you offer?
4DMapper is a cloud-based geospatial platform for enterprise, enabling customers’ 3D maps and models with workflow tools for asset inspection, virtual surveying, photogrammetry, and geospatial analytics. It lets you manage, visualize, process, share and collaborate on your geospatial data… all this with just a web browser!
From its early days, 4DMapper’s mission has been to make geospatial data readily accessible to professionals and non-technical decision makers alike. By doing so, we are helping our customers unlock the value of their geospatial data for their enterprises.
4DMapper Pty Ltd is an Australian technology company formed in early 2014 by highly experienced geospatial professionals Rob Klau and Adam Chabok. At the time geospatial data was processed on desktops, required expensive hardware, highly specialist skills to interpret, and was very slow and unwieldy to move around (typical delivery was via hard drive in the mail). The duo recognized a void in effective delivery of geospatial data to people who need it. Joined by a group of elite software engineers (ex-Google lead techs) they’ve developed a platform for streaming these massive files without the need for expensive software or hardware. The First version of 4DMapper was released in July 2015.
Can you explain the name? What are the four Ds?
4DMapper is a set of tools and workflows to accurately map our physical world and bring it into the powerful world of virtual surveying and 3D asset inspection, geospatial analytics, artificial intelligence, and big data.
As for the “D”s – the first three “D”s are the dimensions of our physical world, accurately represented via absolute geospatial coordinates. The fourth “D” is to capture the change or variability of the world, being as it changes over time (e.g. repeat inspection of a mining site or building rooftops), change of a particular attribute of real-life objects (e.g. corrosion or fault detection on cell towers) or some other variability of metadata about the real-life object (e.g. pattern recognition in mineral exploration, NDVI analysis in agriculture, geospatial analytics in mapping and surveying applications)
Why do you think it is important to be able to manage geospatial data on the cloud?
There are many reasons for cloud’s growing popularity. The three most important ones in our view are:
- The Cloud empowers – elastic computing and infinitely scalable data storage removes the need for expensive software and hardware driving significant savings for the businesses
- The Cloud connects – it’s ability to facilitate business transactions creates numerous win-win opportunities and drives growth for geospatial providers and their customers
- The Cloud enables – it makes data readily available to people who need it when they need it, thus unlocking the value of geospatial data and insights for enterprises
When did you first become aware of Global Mapper?
Like many other geospatial professionals we have grown with Global Mapper, first came across it at university when doing surveying / photogrammetry / remote sensing degrees many years ago, have been using it ever since.
Why did you choose the Global Mapper SDK to provide 3D data manipulation tools to your users?
Global Mapper provides a set of powerful tools, and it has been a de-facto industry standard and a tool of choice for many professionals for decades. When we looked at the options – the choice was obvious.
Your website talks about how 4DMapper was conceived in response to the lack of affordable and effective ways to deliver geospatial data to people who need it. What are some of the challenges you faced in the GIS industry leading up to the first release of 4DMapper in 2015? And what challenges are you facing today?
4DMapper was conceived to tackle a major problem of efficient delivery of large geospatial data to people who needed it. When the first version of 4DMapper was developed and released in 2015, we quickly came to the realization that it was some years ahead of its time and the market wasn’t quite ready for it. The cloud offering was immature slowing its adoption by conservative industries such as mining, building and construction, insurance, and government. At that point in time, most of the serious geospatial software was still available on desktops only, cloud processing was a novel idea with no major vendors offering cloud-based photogrammetry or analytics services. 4DMapper’s team has worked with some of the major vendors assisting them with the development of their cloud offerings.
The world of geospatial has moved on since those days. Cloud is becoming well accepted not only for data storage but for processing alike. However, a new challenge has emerged in that the advancements in geospatial data acquisition technologies seem to be outpacing data management and processing capabilities creating a so-called data deluge. Now the penny has dropped, and the fast-growing demand for information is driving the increased requirement for keeping geospatial data management tools simple and intuitive. Luckily, 4DMapper’s approach to working with geospatial data was exactly that – usability has been a primary concern to keep the tools simple and intuitive yet sophisticated and powerful. These days there is a proliferation of point solutions, multiple unconnected tools, highlighting a need for an enterprise-grade geospatial platform.
What Global Mapper SDK functionality do you think is, or will be, most useful or popular among your users?
The whole suite… that’s the nature of Global Mapper, it’s not just one tool – it’s a professionals’ toolbox. 4DMapper would like to make most Global Mapper functionality available on our platform. So far we only released a small subset of Global Mapper tools as a pilot. We are looking for feedback on what you would like to see prioritized for the upcoming releases.
Can you share an interesting or surprising project that you’ve seen your platform used for?
We don’t get to see the data our customers host on 4DMapper. Our customer data always belongs to them, we recognize the importance of data ownership and take data security and privacy very seriously. Unless our customer’s share their projects with us, we don’t have visibility of them.
Having said that, one of our recent projects that went viral when the customer shared it on social media was a beautiful 3D model of a Fire Department training center. The mesh model was created using Bentley Context Capture, a data format natively supported by 4DMapper (we also support Agisoft, Autodesk, and soon Pix4D models). When posted on LinkedIn the project instantly gained a lot of eyeballs for its accuracy, elegancy, and a visual appeal.
We have many other interesting projects that have been shared with us by the customers from all walks of life – large mining sites, agriculture farms, rooftop inspections, powerlines, bridges, offshore oil and gas platforms, critical infrastructure, and large scale high-accuracy 3D models of major cities. 4DMapper is a scalable enterprise platform for managing a wide variety of geospatial data.
How do you see the integration of the Global Mapper SDK into your online platform impacting your future business development?
Integrating Global Mapper SDK is a major step toward realizing our vision of building an ecosystem that would connect geospatial professionals and facilitate business transactions. Only launched as a pilot, Global Mapper tools already generating interest from our existing customers. We can only imagine what it will be like when more Global Mapper tools are made available on 4DMapper.
What do you think the future of geospatial data processing and delivery looks like?
Geospatial is again a rapidly evolving industry. We don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future, but there are some trends we are seeing that are likely to continue and accelerate:
- 3D is rapidly becoming a new norm, so is cloud-based delivery and collaboration
- majority of geospatial data will be stored on the cloud, data processing will undoubtedly follow suit and move to the cloud too
- simplicity and usability will be a major requirement as geospatial data gets higher adoption and becomes more relied on by non-technical decision makers
Blue Marble and 4DMapper Collaborate
Recently 4DMapper and Blue Marble Geographics collaborated on an online webcast. A recording of this presentation is available here.
For more information on 4DMapper or to sign up for a free trial, visit http://4DMapper.com
Here’s a recording of this hour-long presentation on What’s New in Global Mapper 19.1.
Among the capabilities that were showcased in this presentation are:
- The redesigned and consolidated Attribute Editor which now includes the attribute joining and calculating tools
- Multivariate or compound querying incorporating user-defined expressions and functions
- Expanded drag-and-drop window docking
- A new option to create 3D line features from one or more path profile views
- Enhanced 3D Viewer navigation
- The ability to create a 3D mesh, complete with photo-realistic textures in the LiDAR Module’s Pixels-to-Point tool
- And much more
In the two years that I have worked at Blue Marble Geographics, the question I have been asked most often is, “Can I move my Global Mapper license to another computer?” Since this is such a popular question, I would like to walk through the license removal process and explain our guidelines around moving your license.
So to start with, the answer is yes, Global Mapper licenses can be moved* by following the instructions below.
Verifying the Global Mapper License Removal
To initiate the Global Mapper License Removal process, open Global Mapper on the machine you wish to remove the license from, click the Help menu, and select Release/Remove License. Once the removal is complete your license file will be replaced with a removal code. The Release function will also copy this code to your computer’s clipboard. Please send a text copy of this code to email@example.com.
If the computer is offline or the removal confirmation does not automatically complete for some reason, the removal code will be contained in your hidden files, in a folder named ‘GlobalMapper.lic_removed.’ In most computers, the file can be found in the following folder location: C:\ProgramData\GlobalMapper\GlobalMapper19.
Finding a Hidden Removal Code
If you can’t find this folder, you may have your hidden files… well, hidden. But no worries, you can unhide them by following the instructions below.
Click the Start button and type Hidden Files in the search bar.
Select “show hidden files, folders, and drives”, and click OK.
Once this has been done, you will be able to locate the Program Data folder on your C: drive, and you can send us a copy of your GlobalMapper.lic_removed file. We will then verify the removal of your license and you will be able to move your license to your new computer.
Important Things to Keep in Mind When Moving Your License
What version do you have? Is it a legacy version or is it covered under under the Maintenance and Support agreement?
Blue Marble no longer supports legacy versions of Global Mapper. This means that if you are using version 17 or older, we will not provide licensing assistance or distribute the installation files. If you no longer have the installation files, are unable to run the removal tool, or are not able to provide us with a removal code, we encourage you to upgrade to the current version, as we are no longer able to provide support for your legacy version.
What kind of machine is the license moving to? A desktop, laptop, or a tablet?
Global Mapper and Geographic Calculator need to be licensed to a computer with a stable Ethernet port. If you are not sure if you have a stable port, please contact Authorize@bluemarblegeo.com for assistance.
How many times have I moved my license?
When you are getting ready to move your license, think about what type of license you own. What version is it? Is it node-locked or floating? These are important questions because the node-locked license is limited to three relocations.
Would now be a good time to move to the latest release?
Yes! We always recommnend that customers upgrade to the current release. If you would like to try v19 before you buy it, we would be happy to provide a two-week, fully functional evaluation license. To request an evaluation license today, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Different Licenses, Different Range in Mobility
I know what you are thinking, what about the * at the beginning of this post? That * means that different license types are less mobile than others. For example, the single user node locked license can only be moved two times a year, while a single user floating license can be moved an unlimited number of times if the removal procedure is followed.
For more information on Blue Marble’s licensing solutions please check out this blog.
If you have any questions about moving your license please contact Authorize@bluemarblegeo.com or call +1 (207) 622- 4622 ext. 1144.
Rachael Landry is one of Blue Marble’s license gurus on the official Sales Support team. She is one of the people you are most likely to work with when you call or email our office, and she is always ready to answer your questions.
Please send all your fan mail to email@example.com.
Congratulations, you have decided to evaluate Global Mapper! You know that Global Mapper will be a great addition to your GIS workflow, but now you face a decision; what kind of license do you need? We can help you find a license solution that will work best for you! Who are we? We are Carrie and Rachael, sales support specialists and unofficial license gurus. So, we know when it comes to selecting a license solution there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself: How many computers do I need to license? Do I need to access the software remotely? Do I want to share the software with co-workers?
How many computers will the software be on?
A seemingly simple question can save you time and money. If you are purchasing the software for yourself, and the license will reside on one computer, then a single-user license, sometimes called a node-locked license may be the best option for you!
The single-user, machine locked license is registered to one computer. The license itself is written to your computer’s Ethernet port (using the MAC ID, must be static). However, if you have a Windows 2-in-1 laptop or tablet you may have difficulty licensing your computer. This is because some of these devices might not have a stable Ethernet port. Should you encounter this problem, please contact our licensing team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a single machine license and need to move it to another computer, there is a license removal tool you must use in order to generate the proper removal code needed to complete this process. This process can be automated; both the old and new machines must be connected to the internet during the removal or activation process. This allows your computer and the application to properly and quickly communicate with our licensing server. If you re-image your machine, perform an operating system upgrade, and/or change hardware, please properly remove the license BEFORE any updates are made. Please note that remote desktop (RDP/RDS) is incompatible with a single user license. If you are looking to utilize RDP/RDS, our network server licenses are compatible with this functionality. The single machine license can be moved twice per year.
If you need to frequently move the license or share it with others, keep reading for more licensing solutions.
How many people will need access to the software?
Do you work with multiple Global Mapper users who need to concurrently access the software? Are they all in one office? Are they at different locations? Do they work from home on a remote desktop? Do you have a limited budget and want to get the most software? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then a network license may be the answer for you! Network licenses are sold with a minimum of two seats. In other words, while everyone in your company can install the software, only two users can use it any one time. We haven’t run into a maximum seat limit yet so if you need 100 seats, not a problem!
Network Licenses are a convenient and flexible way to manage a pool of licenses. Network licenses are designed to provide broad access to the software where an individual license will usually serve only one person. The network license can serve one or as many as you like depending on how frequently they use Global Mapper. The network license can be shared not only internally but also across office locations and the seat count is the number of concurrent licenses (users) that can be utilized at one time. Heading out of the office? Not a problem, the network license comes with a convenient borrow feature that allows for a license to be “checked out” and used off the network for a set period of up to 90 days. When that expires the license is automatically returned to the server. This feature is perfect for business trips, going out in the field, working from a ship, temporary employees or a vacation. Yes, you can even take Global Mapper on your vacation. Network administrators love this option as there is only one file to maintain and update. No need to track individuals or physical hardware.
If you are thinking to yourself, “these options are not what I am looking for,” that is okay! Blue Marble has four different licensing types, so we have two more options for you to choose from. In our next post we will be covering the USB Dongle and the Single Floating licenses (portable or virtual license with extreme flexibility).
If you want to learn more about how our license options can provide the best return on your investment please contact use directly, we love to talk about licensing! Send an email to email@example.com .
Carrie Strauch and Rachael Landry are the unofficial license guru’s and the official Sales Support team. Together they bring over 30 years of customer service expertise to Blue Marble. They are the people you are most likely to work with when you call or email our office, and they are always ready to answer questions.
Export 3D Path Profile lines of a stream in Global Mapper by following this tutorial by Blue Marble Geographics.
Download or read more about Global Mapper here.
The final chapter in the saga of this venerable software’s two-decade long adventure, picks up where we left off in the second installment. The year was 2011 and if you recall, our hero — the dashing and indefatigable Global Mapper — had seemingly been kidnapped by the ruthless and malevolent Blue Marble Geographics. At least that was the impression of many of the software’s most loyal disciples at the time.
“Global Mapper has been swallowed by some faceless, uncaring corporate behemoth. Gone are the days of the freewheeling, interactive development philosophy of the early years.” Or so they feared. In reality, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Global Mapper Becomes a Team Effort
While many of our detractors at the time assumed that Blue Mable looked loftily down on its customers from its executive offices atop some gleaming glass and steel skyscraper, the reality was that the company’s entire staff could have fit comfortably into one of the aforementioned building’s elevators. Spurred by the addition of Global Mapper to the company’s software offerings, Blue Marble would eventually see an expansion of its workforce but at the time it numbered no more than 20.
For you as a Global Mapper user, the most significant consequence of this transitional period and the years that followed was a rapid acceleration in the software’s development. Reaping the benefits of a supporting cast, Mike Childs was able to singularly apply his talents to the development of Global Mapper. Routine and mundane tasks, such as selling the fruits of his labor to customers, were left to a group of dedicated specialists. If the truth be told, one of the most difficult aspects of this transition was convincing Mike that he no longer needed to respond to each and every inquiry.
Needless to say, relinquishing control over something that you have caringly nurtured for many years is not always easy, but Global Mapper was becoming a team effort with each developer significantly contributing to the software’s functionality. If it were possible to quantify and graph Global Mapper’s evolution, 2011 was the year that the slope of the line began to steepen and the release of version 14 the following year proved this and served to silence the cynics.
Global Mapper Development from 2012 to Present
The bulleted list of new functionality, updated tools, performance improvements, and various bug fixes for version 14 alone was 10 pages long, a trend that has continued with successive releases. Condensing this into a manageable size for this Brief History does a disservice to the software. If you have a couple of hours to spare and you want the unabridged version, read the What’s New section in the software’s Help files. I guarantee you will be introduced to features and functions that you did not even know were included.
In late 2016, Global Mapper would undergo what was arguably the most significant update in its release history, at least from a superficial perspective. Out went the old “disco” logo, and its idiosyncratic interface design and in came a fresh new look with updated graphics, a more intuitive layout, and a bold new logo. What didn’t change was the powerful capability of the software and the continued improvements that were being made to its functionality.
While it’s fun and sometime enlightening to look over your shoulder and marvel at how far you have come, Blue Marble’s philosophy is very much focused on looking forward. Plans are already in the pipeline for Global Mapper version 20 and beyond. Thanks to the continued support of our growing customer base and their eagerness to participate in the collaborative development process that is unique to this remarkable application, we have a long list of new functionality that will be added over the coming years. Global Mapper is a project that will never be complete.
David McKittrick is a Senior Application Specialist at Blue Marble Geographics in Hallowell, Maine. A graduate of the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, McKittrick has spent over 25 years in the field of GIS and mapping, focusing on the application and implementation spatial technology. McKittrick has designed and delivered hundreds of GIS training classes, seminars, and presentations and has authored dozens of articles and papers for a variety industry and trade publications.