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#1
mika

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Hi all,

I am looking for a reliable software solution for reprojecting images, dems and so. I usually work in Manifold, but there are moments I wish I had an alternative tool as the backup...

I've just seen Global Mapper's site and what they offer seems to be quite interesting.

Have you got any experience with it (Hans, you listed is as one of your tools recently) and would like to share it?

Cheers
Dom
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#2
erik

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I use Global Mapper from time to time, and it has worked pretty well for me. Its ability to handle large files even in under-configured memory PCs seems very good.

My uses are mainly reprojecting georeferenced images, but other purposes I've applied it to include georeferencing images, converting vector files, and acquiring aerial images using ECW or other geoserver services.

It can be a pain to find a format in common between Global Mapper the other program I may be using. Usually it is the other program's limitation, as Global Mapper has an awesome list of bitmap import and export formats it can output to. Unfortunately since I do a lot of work in Illustrator, the GM <> Illustrator vector overlap is very minimal and consists of the DXF and SVG formats (there may be another fmt, but I've only found those two to work at all). Even SVG I wouldn't recommend as the conduit format.

I once tried to use GM to do some 3D visualization work overlaying vectors on a draped DEM, but I found several limitations made it less useful than either Bryce or NSD for that purpose. Those limitations (in version 8 I believe) were small output bitmap size (I think it was limited to the size of the window on your screen), and no numerical input of camera coordinates. They may have improved the 3D viz part in v9--I don't know.

erik

#3
mika

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Thanks Erik,

I do have another question though. I played a bit with the demo version they offer, but, as it obviously doesn't allow one to do some more interesting stuff, can you tell me how does the export look like? Say I reproject a geotiff from lat/lon to winkel-tripel (it works fine) and want to export it back so I can utilize it further. Can I export it to geotiff again, and what's the offerd resolution?

Another thing is shaded relief. It didn't look extremely well when I played a bit with ETOPO2. I could see the raster grid and expected better smoothing really. Any tips or tricks or suggestions?

And just one more question, I promise... Since you mentioned NSD. Is it possible to do some fly-through animations using it? I am after something close to gaming experience - drive-like animations with the road signs visible and so :-)

Dom
maps made easy - www.cartomatic.pl

#4
Hans van der Maarel

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I use Global Mapper fairly regulary, for specific tasks:
- Creating ECW's (no size restrictions)
- Merging DEM's for use in VNS
- Batch conversions and reprojections. Since GM supports cartographic projections (and FME, the other tool I keep on raving about, only does coordinate systems), you can use it to convert, for example, all lat/lon shapefiles found in folder x to shapefiles in Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area with a certain central meridian (possible in Manifold as well, but only on a per-file basis). Just by doing that for 30 maps, Global Mapper has already paid for itself.

Hope this helps. It's really a steal at $299.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#5
erik

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I forgot I also use GM for assembling DEM quadrangles into a megascene.

When exporting, there is a dialog box with many options for resolution, cropping, square or non-square pixels, etc. I believe the default resolution is the same as the input file.

I never use GM for shaded relief... although it is possible, like you said, I'm not loving the look of it. But I've not played around with it much to see if it can be improved a lot, since I have other Mac-based tools I prefer using for rendering relief.

NSD v4 does do fly-by animations, and can take advantage of multi-core machines in rendering the output. It can import 3D objects such as signs or hot air balloons, etc. and according to the manual, the two formats that version 4 can import are 3DMF and 3D Studio (on the Mac; not sure if it is diff. on the PC version). You can also create 3D primitives such as spheres, boxes inside the app. as well as special NSD generated trees, bushes, and rocks.

erik


Thanks Erik,

I do have another question though. I played a bit with the demo version they offer, but, as it obviously doesn't allow one to do some more interesting stuff, can you tell me how does the export look like? Say I reproject a geotiff from lat/lon to winkel-tripel (it works fine) and want to export it back so I can utilize it further. Can I export it to geotiff again, and what's the offerd resolution?

Another thing is shaded relief. It didn't look extremely well when I played a bit with ETOPO2. I could see the raster grid and expected better smoothing really. Any tips or tricks or suggestions?

And just one more question, I promise... Since you mentioned NSD. Is it possible to do some fly-through animations using it? I am after something close to gaming experience - drive-like animations with the road signs visible and so :-)

Dom



#6
Sky Schemer

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It's really a steal at $299.


I love GM, too, but I think it's a steal in the wrong direction: US $299 is too much for what you get. I think it's worth about half that.

#7
Neil Allen

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I've been using GM for the last four years (many versions). The software is very robust especially with regards to large datasets, and allows me to move/project imagery as quickly/intuitively as I can find for the price. IMO the dedication they show to upgrading the software is a "steal" at $299. Plus, I find them very responsive to my requests. Once when I was trying to port DEMs between NED and Bryce I asked for the addition of PGM format to the Global Mapper export list. Not only did he add it, but he did it and recompiled a temporary version of Global Mapper for me in just a couple of HOURS!! So I vouch that I get what I paid for and then some.

#8
Hans van der Maarel

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I love GM, too, but I think it's a steal in the wrong direction: US $299 is too much for what you get. I think it's worth about half that.


Well, as I stated, it has already more than earned itself back for me (and of course I get the euro-vs-dollar discount). So... what do you want it to be able to do in order to be worth $299 in your eyes?
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#9
merft

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I didn't know about Global Mapper until a couple years ago. I honestly kick myself for not knowing about it previously. I use it as my "Swiss Army Knife" for file conversion. I personally cannot think of a better product for image merging/tiling/projecting.

We recently had a client request a custom shaded relief of the entire globe at 90m resolution (patched with 1km data). They wanted the tiles delivered as layered PSD files. I attached a sample (the deliverables were 6000x6000 pixels, the sample is 500x500 pixels). We exported the hypsometric tints as a single file, shaded relief as a second file, and water as a third. The exports from Global Mapper were all scripted. Then used Photoshop Commander to combine the files into a layered PSD and run internal Action Scipts (i.e., changing layer names, change blend mode, etc). The result was about 2700 tiles.

One of my favorite tools is to merge shapefiles. We use a lot of Census, TeleAltas, etc. data and it will be separated into folders by county. You can open all the files in a folder (and its subfolders) by using a pattern search. Using a string such as "*wp.shp" will open all the water polygon files in folder tree. Then save it out to a combined file for use in another application. Oh, and GM reads the contents of ZIP files natively. We store most of our TIF images in ZIP packages to save space on our server. No need to decompress. Just drop the ZIP into GM and save them out elsewhere.

Illustrator export was supposed to come out in version 9 but was shelved by the developer temporarily. Can't wait until that is added. If you have the money, GM is worth every penny. But it's how you use it. The support for GM is impressive. Looking at the listserv today, Mike has posted 5 times between 12:20am and 11:13am. I don't think he sleeps. =)

-Tom

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#10
Sky Schemer

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Well, as I stated, it has already more than earned itself back for me (and of course I get the euro-vs-dollar discount). So... what do you want it to be able to do in order to be worth $299 in your eyes?


As of version 8, the big complaint I have with GM is that it's a very expensive file format converter with a few useful features added on. The visualization stuff is good and certainly useful for quick looks at your data, but it is difficult to customize object appearance for arbitrary data (the configuration seems tailored towards TIGER and DLG files), and the interface to viewing object attributes is very limited since it's one-at-a-time viewing in a pop-up. On top of that, there are too many mouse-clicks involved in editing features.

I might find the price tag easier to swallow if the scripting language allowed flow control and decision making, but it doesn't which means I end up writing scripts in a higher-level language that write the GM scripts.

There's a lot of power here, but the interface gets in the way. Maybe saying it's only worth half the list price is a bit extreme. I'd probably feel okay shelling out US $200 for it, but $300 is just too hard to swallow, especially considering Manifold is at $245. I've got a v8 license thanks to a bundle with other software, but so far I've not been able to justify the $100 upgrade for v9.

#11
mika

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Thanks for the answers chaps. I am considering getting the soft as I'll need it mainly for some reprojection tasks. Though it seems to be even more tempting since you metioned it does the job with the ecws as well. Plus pound to usdollar 'discount'. I think I made my mind already :rolleyes:

@Sky Schemer - I use manifold as well, like it a lot and wish I could do everything i want. It's not always possible and that's why I decided to ask some questions and get a backup tool. If it can do what it seems it can, it should pay for itself relatively quickly. Fair enough :)

Cheers
Dom
maps made easy - www.cartomatic.pl

#12
erik

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Figuring the value of something like this varies from person to person.

What seemed to make the value question harder is the upgrade policy. Last I checked, if you want to go from version 6 to v9, you have to buy all the intermediary updates at $99 a crack or just buy a new fresh license.

erik




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