Is Global Mapper for you? Take a look at the application’s top 10 features

Written by: Cíntia Miranda

Global Mapper is a robust GIS application that combines a comprehensive array of spatial data processing tools with access to an unparalleled variety of data formats at a genuinely affordable price — license cost begins at $549, a fraction of the cost of competing applications.  The latest release includes Remote Desktop Protocol or RDP-enabled licensing for professionals working remotely — a very appropriate tool when many of us are working from home lately.

Developed for both GIS professionals and map enthusiasts, Global Mapper has virtually everything you need in GIS software such as complete interoperability with exceptional data support, powerful data processing in an intuitive interface, extensive raster and vector capabilities, state-of-the-art 3D visualization and analysis, simple installation and setup, and unlimited technical support.  

If you’re searching for a robust and affordable GIS application, here are the top ten features of Global Mapper:

1. Built-in online data access with extensive format support

Global Mapper offers a surprisingly extensive collection of free online data sources available for streaming or download as well as the ability to add in custom data sources of your choosing. Providing support for virtually every known spatial file format as well as direct access to common spatial databases, the application can read, write, and analyze virtually any spatial data.

2. Terrain analysis and 3D data processing

Global Mapper’s analysis functions include view shed and line-of-sight modeling, watershed delineation, volume measurement with cut and fill optimization, customized gridding and terrain creation, contour generation, and much more.  This is an extensive set of data processing tools for a truly affordable application.

3. Advanced point cloud and lidar processing capabilities

The Lidar Module is an optional add-on to Global Mapper that provides advanced point cloud processing tools, including pixels-to-points for photogrammetric point cloud creation from overlapping drone/UAV images, automatic point cloud classification, feature extraction, terrain hydroflattening, and much more. 

4. Data sharing and map publishing tools

When the time comes to share map data, Global Mapper offers numerous options including eye-catching page layout and printing tools, geospatial PDF creation, and direct web publishing to MangoMap, an affordable and easy-to-use online map service. Global Mapper also offers advanced page design and layout tools, including multi-page map book creation.

Multi-layered maps can be published to an online MangoMap account directly from Global Mapper v21.

5. Scripting and batch processing

Global Mapper users can automate most routine data processing functions using simple, text-based scripts or the built-in Batch Processing tool. The scripting language is simple and intuitive with a straightforward command and parameter structure mirroring many of the multi-step procedures that can be performed within the interface.

6. Advanced Image Processing

Global Mapper includes a powerful set of tools for processing imagery or raster layers. The image rectification tool allows any image to be positioned, scaled, aligned, and spatially distorted to create a geographically accurate raster layer. The powerful vector extraction tool can be used to create polygons from a range of colors in a raster layer. Image tiling, mosaicking, blending, cropping, feathering, and visual manipulation options provide the means to adjust the display and characteristics of any raster data layer.

7. Feature label creation and management

Professionals working in cartography say that the format and layout of a well-designed map always need some level of human input. Vector labels in Global Mapper can be assigned to their own layers, which makes formatting, moving, rotating, and deleting individual labels much easier. 

Label formatting in Global Mapper makes producing high-quality maps easier and faster. The screenshot above shows the repositioning of individual labels in a label layer.

8. Digitizing and Vector Editing Tools

When it comes to creating or modifying vector data, Global Mapper’s Digitizer provides a vast array of functions. From simple point, line, and polygon creation to COGO for manual geometric input, the Digitizer has all of the tools you need to create and manage vector layers. Specialized tools are also available for creating a custom grid, buffers, range rings, or virtually any geometric object. Supplementing these drawing tools are a large collection of attribute management and data visualization tools for creating thematic representations of vector data.

9. The ability to record a fly-through path using the fly-mode and walk-mode in the 3D Viewer 

Global Mapper not only is able to record fly-through videos, but it also allows users to “draw” a fly-through path by recording their movements in fly-mode and walk-mode in the 3D Viewer. Since the fly-through feature in Global Mapper is an easy way to create videos of 3D data and terrain, it’s commonly used for real estate and property management, planning drone or UAV flight paths, or simply creating a compelling presentation of your GIS data to stakeholders.

Global Mapper users can “draw” a fly-through path by recording their movements in fly-mode and walk-mode in the 3D Viewer.

10. A free mobile version

Global Mapper Mobile is a free app for iOS and Android devices that offers field viewing and data collection. It displays any supported data from the desktop software, streamlines data collection, and efficiently transfers data into the desktop software.  A professional-grade application is also available for purchase from the Apple App and Google Play stores.

There’s much more to Global Mapper! If this list piqued your interest and you’d like to find out if Global Mapper is the right GIS application for you, download a 14-day free trial and request a demo today!

Register to Watch GeoTalks 2019

Here’s a little taste of the presentations from this year’s GeoTalks — the online geo-conference that was recorded live on March 21, 2019.

Register online to access the recorded presentations: http://bit.ly/geotalks-2019-videos

There were presentations from:
Anthony Beach, BSP Engineers, Inc
Using UAS Technology in Combination with Global Mapper and the LiDAR Module

Michael Frings, MFBI Technologies
Optimal Positioning of Advertising Poles in Topographically Challenging Environments

Dan Martin, The National Geodetic Registry
Preparing for Change: New Coordinates Coming in 2022

Daniel Fagerman, LiDARUSA
Scanning the Past: A Look at the Ancient Mayan Pyramid at Uxmal

Where in the World Geo-Challenge – April 2019

View the form at Google Forms >

Blue Got Mail – Finding the coordinates of a point from a loaded point cloud in Global Mapper

Billy Noble, Applications Specialist at Blue Marble Geographics, answers questions that come into the technical support inbox. In this video, Billy demonstrates how to find the coordinates of a point in a loaded point cloud in LAS format using Global Mapper.

Five Reasons to Sign Up for Global Mapper Training

Chelsea E | Projections
Product Manager Katrina Schweikert leads a Global Mapper training course in Hallowell, Maine in January of 2019.

Blue Marble Geographics® offers several training options to help users get the most out of their all-in-one geographic information system (GIS) software, Global Mapper®: Customized training for companies or organizations needing tailored instruction based on specific workflow needs; self-training that are comprised of a series of lessons that users can tackle at home at their own pace; and public training courses that cover the extensive functionality of Global Mapper and the LiDAR Module®.

While all three options have their benefits, the public training courses that take place at a variety of locations around the world, come with a handful of perks on top of being great opportunities for users to increase the return on their Global Mapper investment.

Here are the top five reasons why you should sign up for a public training class:

1. GIS training for both beginners and professionals

Public training that molds to the GIS skill levels and knowledge of the attendees.

A couple of weeks before the class, attendees receive a Getting Started package, which includes the following resources:

  • PDF of the training manual
  • Data files that will be used in the course
  • Links to the Getting Started Guide and video
  • Self-training materials

While it’s not required for attendees to look at these resources, the package gives them the opportunity to see the topics covered in the courses. It also gives attendees time to reach out to Blue Marble’s training team with any specific questions or concerns they may have about the material.

This pre-course communication helps trainers understand attendees’ skills in GIS, ensuring that all attendees get the most out of their individual training experience.

Chelsea E | Projections
Trainees listen to instructions in the Global Mapper training course that took place in Hallowell, Maine in January of 2019.

2. Hands-on instruction from GIS experts

In a public training class, Blue Marble’s applications specialists walk through workflows that attendees follow, and provide plenty of opportunities for attendees to ask questions.

Introducing functionality that attendees may not have previously known, this hands-on experience allows trainees to apply new knowledge with real data and in meaningful ways. Their earned skills — ranging from basic Digitizer usage to more advanced functions such as a variety of terrain analysis functions — can later be remembered and practiced at home with the training manual and data files trainees will take with them.

See the agenda for the Global Mapper class here.

Chelsea E | Projections
Outreach and Training Manager David McKittrick gives an overview of the Global Mapper toolbars in a training course in Hallowell, Maine.

3. A resume builder with an official certification

The complete Global Mapper training course is a three-day program incorporating two separate courses that attendees can sign up for, either individually or as one continuous program. The first two days are dedicated to the core functionality of Global Mapper, and the third day focuses on the LiDAR Module and point cloud processing.

Individually, the courses are great resume builders. When taken together, they earn attendees an official Global Mapper User certification. If an attendee is just starting their GIS-related career, a certificate can be a valuable credential proving their broad range of terrain analysis, 3D data editing, LiDAR processing skills, and more.

Chelsea E | Projections
Trainees are given data sets to follow along with workflows during the training courses.

4. An introduction to LiDAR and point cloud processing

With increased access to affordable ways of collecting LiDAR and point cloud data, it’s become more important for GIS professionals to understand what to do with this data and to have access to tools that can efficiently process it.

The third day of training focuses on point cloud processing, covering a range of topics, including: LiDAR filtering and editing techniques, photogrammetric point cloud creation with the Pixels to Points® tool, feature extraction, and more. Whether trainees are just starting to use point cloud data, or if they are experienced, this one-day intensive class will cover everything they need to know about Global Mapper and the LiDAR Module’s capabilities.

See the full LiDAR agenda here.

5. A networking opportunity – connecting with GM users

Supplementing the learning experience, the public training courses also offer the opportunity for trainees to meet other members of the Global-Mapper-user community and to network within the industry. A broad range of professionals — from government workers to UAV pilots — attend and benefit from Blue Marble’s training courses, which makes these courses rich in a different way every time.

Public Training – A valuable GIS experience

Whether it’s to boost a burgeoning GIS career or to re-energize and enrich a mature one, Blue Marble’s public training is a valuable experience that provides insight into the basics of Global Mapper, lesser known software features, certification, and networking opportunities.

View Our 2020 Training Calendar

Top Five New Features and Functions in Global Mapper Version 20.1

Interim releases of Global Mapper typically offer the Blue Marble development staff an opportunity to fine-tune some of the functionality that was introduced in the most recent major release. While the upcoming version 20.1 release includes its fair share of performance improvements and code tweaks, it also offers a surprising collection of new tools covering everything from the Digitizer to scripting. With the release just a few weeks away and the final edits being applied to the underlying code, we take a sneak peek at some of the more significant additions.


Using the new Zoom tool in the Path Profile View.

Path Profile Zooming

The importance of Global Mapper’s Path Profile tool has grown immensely since the introduction of the LiDAR Module. While it is most commonly used to render a cutaway view of a terrain layer, it also displays a cross-sectional view of points in a point cloud and can used to edit or delete selected points. New in version 20.1 is the option to zoom in the profile view – a function that ensures that even the most densely-spaced points can now be individually identified and selected.

Profile Legend

Continuing the theme of improvements to the Path Profile tool, a new option has been added to more clearly define the individual surfaces when rendering profile lines for multiple layers. A legend, which can be placed anywhere within the Path Profile window, shows each line style along with the corresponding surface layer. This is particularly useful when visualizing and analyzing multiple layers representing change over time.


Selecting a default projection.

Default Projection

Global Mapper’s projection management is universally acknowledged for its simplicity. Load any layer and the inherent projection parameters associated with the layer define the display projection. Each successive layer is then automatically reprojected on the fly to adhere to this system. No questions asked. Change the display projection and each exported layer will ultimately include these new projection parameters. In Global Mapper 20.1, an even simpler approach to projection management can be enabled with the assignment of a universal default projection. With this new configuration setting, a specified projection will be automatically applied when creating or importing any new layer.


Gaps between areas before applying the new “Close Gaps Between Adjacent Features” function
The areas after applying the “Close Gaps Between Adjacent Features” function

Vector Gap Closing

When creating abutting polygons, Global Mapper’s snapping functionality helps ensure that the features’ shared vertices are a perfect match, without overlap or gaps. When importing external files, however, such precise geometric integrity is not always the case. A new Digitizer tool available in version 20.1 can be used to automatically correct these errors. The “Close Gaps Between Adjacent Features …” function allows a maximum distance threshold to be established allowing the boundary lines to be perfectly matched.


The “Select LiDAR by Distance” tool can be used to select a particular point type within a defined distance of a feature

LiDAR Proximity Selection

A common use case in point cloud or LiDAR analysis is the detection of encroachment, and a new point selection option in the LiDAR Module provides this functionality to Global Mapper users. The “Select LiDAR by Distance” tool can be used to specify a particular point type (such as powerline), a distance threshold, and a target point type (such as high vegetation). In this case, running the search will highlight vegetation points that are encroaching within a defined distance of powerlines. This tool can be applied in many other workflows and includes the option to detect points within the proximity of 3D line features instead of points.

What is Maintenance and Support and How Does it Affect Me?

Global Mapper TrainingChelsea E | Projections
Global Mapper open on a laptop in a training course conducted by Blue Marble Geographics’ applications specialists. Maintenance and Support, along with the knowledgebase, videos, and self-guided training, allows users to access the expertise of Blue Marble’s experts.

If you have purchased Global Mapper and/or the LiDAR Module in the last two years, you have heard from our sales team regarding Maintenance & Support (M&S). But you may find yourself wondering, “What is Maintenance and Support and how does it affect me?”

The “Maintenance” Part – Keep your version of Global Mapper up-to-date

Longtime users know that, with every purchase or upgrade of Global Mapper includes a year of technical and licensing support. This support, along with our knowledgebase, videos, and self-guided training, allows users to explore and experience all Global Mapper has to offer. With customers in mind, we updated our support model in summer of 2017 with a 12-month M&S plan that begins on the date payment is received for an order. M&S now includes all version releases of the software within that 12-month period, allowing customers to utilize the most current version of Global Mapper.

The “Support” Part – The Blue Marble Tech Team is here for you

In addition to providing users access to the most current version of Global Mapper, M&S also includes the unparalleled technical and licensing support we are known for offering. Our technical team is ready to answer any questions you might have, from format questions, to complex workflow scenarios, in a timely manner. Technical Support is not a substitute for training. We offer many training solutions both in person and virtually. For more information please visit https://www.bluemarblegeo.com/solutions/geodesy-training.php .

Maintenance and Support Renewals and License Structure

This M&S model also provides customers with the option to renew their support every year. Some of you will likely have received emails from us in the past few months letting you know that your support has ended, and explaining how to renew your subscription. Please contact the sales team with questions about the renewal option, coverage period, or how to purchase additional licenses.

I’m sure many of you are thinking that since Global Mapper has a perpetual license structure, “How will Maintenance and Support affect that model?” Rest assured it will not affect your license. However, the level of support that you receive is directly related to the status of your M&S. If your M&S is out of date, Blue Marble’s technical and licensing support teams may be unable to assist you.

Blue Marble strongly encourages you to stay up-to-date with M&S, so that you have access to the best software we have to offer. Staying current guarantees the highest level of software support and service, and that you are receiving the latest software fixes and enhancements.

In the coming weeks Global Mapper 20.1 will be released. Are you eligible to use all the great features and enhancements the new release has to offer? Users with current M&S coverage will need to download and license this version of Global Mapper. If your M&S is out of date or if you have questions about the status of your Global Mapper license, please contact orders@bluemarblegeo.com.

Blue Marble Monthly: Getting Ready for Our Free Online Geospatial Conference

Product News, User Stories, Events, and a Chance to Win a Copy of Global Mapper Every Month

Can you believe it’s 2019 already? This year promises to be an exciting one for Blue Marble with ambitious plans already in place for the next generation of both Global Mapper and Geographic Calculator. The new year also sees us take a fresh approach to our annual conference. Blue Marble GeoTalks, scheduled for March 21, will be a daylong online gathering of geospatial enthusiasts who share a common interest in Blue Marble’s spatial technology. See below for more details and registration information.

Also in this month’s newsletter we explore the simple process for creating a 3D mesh from a point cloud in Global Mapper, we introduce mapcodes, we invite you to join us for a live webinar on the latest features and functions of Geographic Calculator, and as always, we gauge your geographic prowess in the Where in the World Geo-Challenge.

NEWS  |  Registration Open for Blue Marble GeoTalks

One of the inherent limitations of hosting a user conference at a specific location is the logistical and financial burden placed on both hosts and attendees. The solution? Move it online. Scheduled for March 21, Blue Marble GeoTalks will provide a forum for the worldwide Blue Marble community to gather for an exchange of ideas, to hear from a variety of industry experts, and to learn about what’s new and what’s upcoming from Blue Marble.

 

DID YOU KNOW  |  Searching by Mapcode in Global Mapper

While most of us are accustomed to conveying location based on a street number, street name, city, etc., in many parts of the world this information is simply not available. This inevitably causes problems for government officials, emergency responders, and many others. To address this disparity, a system of alphanumeric mapcodes was developed in 2001 creating a simple and universally accepted spatial reference system for the entire world. Global Mapper’s search function supports the entry of a mapcode to locate a specific point or to generate the corresponding coordinates. If you want to try it for yourself, select Find Address from Global Mapper’s Search menu and enter the following: “ME XBY.JS”. Add some online imagery and you should see the Blue Marble headquarters in Hallowell, Maine.

 

VIDEOS | Creating a 3D Model from a Point Cloud

One of the highlights of the version 20 release of Global Mapper is a new tool for generating a 3D mesh or model from a selection of LiDAR or other point cloud points. The resulting layer contains a complex vector feature comprised of an array of abutting triangles that, when displayed in Global Mapper’s 3D Viewer, take the form of a realistic three-dimensional representation of the object. As is typical with Global Mapper, the process of creating a 3D mesh is remarkably straightforward.

 

WEBINAR  |  What’s New in Geographic Calculator 2019

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the What’s New in Geographic Calculator 2019 webinar, which had been scheduled for January 10, has been moved to January 17. Those who registered should have received an email with the updated information and we hope you can still make it to this live presentation. The good news is that there is still time to sign up. Join us as we explore the latest updates to the software’s data processing tools and to the underlying geodetic datasource.

 

Deadline Extended for Global Mapper Academic Scholarship

Over the last two years, hundreds of colleges and universities throughout North America have taken advantage of Blue Marble’s free academic licensing program and have been able to introduce more and more students to the broad field of geospatial technology. To recognize and reward some of the creative work being done in labs and classrooms, Blue Marble is offering a $500 scholarship to a student who has used Global Mapper in their field of study. The deadline for submission has just been extended to the end of January, which means there is still time to share the details of your project.

 

 

Where in the World Geo-Challenge

Someone, who has obviously been participating in the Geo-Challenge for some time, recently inquired if we were beginning to run out of countries or capitals. Fear not, we have a long way to go, and if the need arises, we can ultimately recycle what we’ve used before. So it pays to follow along.

January’s winner and recipient of a copy of Global Mapper is Nirmalya Maitra from Riddhi Management Services in Kolkata, India. To see how well you fared, click here and to take a shot at January’s challenge click the link below.

 

See complete terms and conditions here.

EVENTS  |  Global Mapper Training in 2019

After our recent announcement about the tentative locations for Global Mapper training classes in 2019, we were inundated with inquiries. Registration is now open for the classes in Orlando in March, Denver in April, and Ottawa in June. Space is limited so be sure to reserve a slot at your preferred venue as soon as possible.

For those with a more immediate need for training, there is still space in the three-day class to be conducted at Blue Marble’s headquarters in Maine from January 29 – 31.

Additional training locations for 2019 include:

Orlando  |  March 12 – 14, December (TBD)

Denver  |  April 9 – 11

Ottawa  |  June 11 – 13

Australia  |  July (TBD)

Calgary  |  August (TBD)

Houston  |  October (TBD)

Where in the World Geo-Challenge – January 2019

View the form at Google Forms >