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#61
rudy

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It's a good thing Dmitri isn't on this list. He'd be scolding us all for complaining.

#62
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It's a good thing Dmitri isn't on this list. He'd be scolding us all for complaining.


Shall I invite him? ;)
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#63
hphillips

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Manifold 8 is still an amazingly powerful and inexpensive GIS but like others I am mystified and uneasy about the non-appearance of the promised version 9 of Manifold. I am hoping the delay is because Manifold is crafting a cartographic module for the new version so nifty that Illustrator/MAPublisher will be unneeded.

The idea expressed in this thread that Manifold might beneficially be acquired by Google is interesting. Sketchup has certainly benefited in use, exposure and development after its acquisition by Google. Except for its available online data layers Google Earth Pro on the other hand remains a weak GIS application in comparision to almost any other standalone GIS so there is a lot of room for improvement.

While the future of Manifold is sorting out ESRI's ArcGIS for Home Use http://www.esri.com/arcgis-for-home/ license at $100/year looks interesting for non-commercial use and students.
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#64
NicKV

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As this would get deleted from the Manifold users forum, I will ask it here.

A question to fellow Manifold System GIS users....

It has been almost four years to the day that Version 8 was released.

How much longer are you prepared to wait for the release of Version 9 before you give up on Manifold Software Ltd, jump ship and migrate to another GIS product?


My loyalty already strained for other reasons, is close to reaching breaking point. If there is not news of the status of version 9 very least and it is not released before the end of 2011, then I will migrate to using GIS and other more specialist software from other manufacturers.

For all the hype from this company, at the moment it looks to me as if the Manifold emperor is not wearing any proverbial clothes.

#65
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I'll wait. Manifold is not the only tool in my stack so this is not a huge problem. Still this is a piece of software we can make to do really cool things others have difficulties with. 4 years passe. but 8 is a tool I would regret not having at a hand.
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#66
Dan Borman

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Me to. I don't have a problem with the software, just the way the company chooses to represent itself which I think is a real shame and doesn't do them any favors. Still, they probably have bigger fish to fry now.
For my own work, I still don't think there is anything to touch Manifold as I find it both an incredibly feature rich and well thought out package. I notice that ArcGIS 10 has added much of the tool and trinket type of functionality that Manifold had over it previously, but for me Manifold still has the edge fundamentally because of the way it is engineered. For my work, this makes it both incredibly flexible and able to be of use in every task I have ever required of it. Having used other mainstream packages in the same context, I cannot say the same for them. Sure it has plenty of niggles and is slower than other packages at some tasks, but this is true of all GIS software I have used.
So I will wait in silence. Like many others, I don't like it, and I sincerely hope that if there is not to be a Manifold Version X, that they will come out and say so. I do however think that there will be and I also believe from past experience that whenever it does arrive, that it will be well worth the wait.

#67
NicKV

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Me to. I don't have a problem with the software, just the way the company chooses to represent itself which I think is a real shame and doesn't do them any favors. Still, they probably have bigger fish to fry now.
For my own work, I still don't think there is anything to touch Manifold as I find it both an incredibly feature rich and well thought out package. I notice that ArcGIS 10 has added much of the tool and trinket type of functionality that Manifold had over it previously, but for me Manifold still has the edge fundamentally because of the way it is engineered. For my work, this makes it both incredibly flexible and able to be of use in every task I have ever required of it. Having used other mainstream packages in the same context, I cannot say the same for them. Sure it has plenty of niggles and is slower than other packages at some tasks, but this is true of all GIS software I have used.
So I will wait in silence. Like many others, I don't like it, and I sincerely hope that if there is not to be a Manifold Version X, that they will come out and say so. I do however think that there will be and I also believe from past experience that whenever it does arrive, that it will be well worth the wait.


I did not raise the issue of the usefulness of the software, but since you have, i will say that i very much disgree with your opinion of it.

There are perhaps seven classes of operation that a modern GIS needs to be able to perform:

1. Low-level information processing- preparing/ calibrating and correcting raw geographic data sets in readiness to extract useful information from it.

2. Intermediate processing to extract derived information sets from geographic information preprocessed in 1.

3. Visualisation of geographic information sets as maps and information space graphics, to be understand the information content of such information, in order to allow useful information content to be identified and extracted

4. Analysis of high-level processed geographic information sets to extract useful information from them

5. Numerical modeling of complex processes and phenomena in order to answer complex question about the nature and evolution these

6. Presentation - preparing geographic information in the form of maps and other graphics for publication and distribution

7. Distribution - presenting geographic information in an interactive form to a wider audience via the internet.


Manifold is good for working geographic information when this information is in the form of with vector drawings and with DBMSs. There could be some improvements in the vector drawing area, but it is basically sound for this.

Its internet mapserver is adequate, I dont make use of it, but my understanding is that it is just a foundation stone that requires a lot of additional work to bring up to the standards of other products.

For anything else it is woefully inadequate. It is especially indequate for working with arrayed information (apart from images, its arrayed information object model is at best fundamentally flawed), i.e., rasters, images and grids. It does not have TIN capabilites. I would not recommend it for anything other very basic operations and hardly use it for working with such data. To give examples of feature areas where it is currently inadequate and ones where you would expact even a basic GIS to provide, it does not provide sufficient operations to perform interpolation, geostastical analysis, statistical analysis, information space graphics, information classification, probabilistic analysis, image enhancment. Some that might be expected in a modern advanced GIS to be able to perform, would be, 3D visualisation capabilities for information space geographic space information visualisation, temporal analysis and visualisation of time varying 2D and 3D information, radiometric and geometric remote sensing data correction, stereo remote sensing data processing to extract surface elevation data, radiometric analysis and advanced classification/unmixing of RS data.

What Manifold Software has failed to grasp (and also but to a lesser extent other GIS manufacturers) is that most useful geographic information for most parts of the world or current information, is not in a highly processed, corrected, neat and tidy form. To extract useful, reliable information from many geographic information sets, especially ones about the natural environment, and especially from multi-variate or multiple information sets requires providing some very advanced processing, analysis and visualisation operations. Manifold Software has not addressed this over the twelve or so years of its existence.

I have been using Manifold for about eleven years since version 5. I have requested repeatedly during that time for more and better capabilities, in fields like interpolation and geostatistical estimation algorithms (kriging splines etc) to no avail. I have requested a greater remote sensing and image enhancement capabilities, to no avail. The latter are nothing complex, just basic mathematical expressions and a few boolean conditions, for goodness sakes.

Whilst Manifold Software has been innovative and right in adopting new IT hardware and software technologies (64-bit Windows, parallelisation of algorithms and use of multicore CPU and GPUs for this), my general feeling is that beyond databases and computational geometry, Manifold developers do not have good understanding of geographic, earth, atmosphere and ocean, general environmental and related sciences. They are not aware of how geographic and environmental information science, engineering and technology is advancing, the complexity of geographic information now available, how the amount of GI is increasing exponentially, what the needs of GIS users needs are and how these are increasing in complexity. Manifold only, it seems, provides features that most of its existing users want. It does not appear to be proactive in providing new capabilities. By this i mean, it does not look at its product and compare it with its competitors, the state of-the-art and science, to see where the gaping holes in its product's capabilities are, then do the research in order to and then fill them.

So while Manifold System is adequate for yours and some peoples purposes, especially if you are only or mostly working with vector drawings, it does not provide the capabilities that a modern GIS needs to provide in order to allow people to work with the nature, volume and complexity of geographic information now available. Ten years ago it was a good product for its price and competed well with products from other manufacturers. However, if has failed and is failing, to keep pace with developments both in geographic information science and technology, as well as existing users and potential users, demands and requirements. This does make me wonder if the company was ever entirely committed to the field it is providing software for, but it was just a means to another end.

Now, if version 9, brings major improvements in the above, i will be very pleased and revise my opinion. However, anything less than a spectacular improvement to the range of capabilities after more than four years will mean version 9 will be, lets say, a disappointment.

Edited by NicKV, 14 August 2011 - 05:24 AM.


#68
mika

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Nick,

I don't think there are many packages out there able to perform very well in every area you mention. If you are not happy with one tool you either drop it or extend your toolbox with another one. I don't believe manifold's target is to fulfill every branch in the world of GIS software - in my opinion they are more likely to give us tools - API, etc. to make the community deliver the functionality itself.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but you saw manifold 9.0.x or whatever they demoed in London a few years back, right? Maybe it could not do everything you want from it at a time but I think it was already a great improvement over v8.

It looks like you do a quite specific piece of GIS - not everyone does remote sensing or scientific modeling though. I am not trying to say manifold should not be able to do it - it would be rather cool to be able to use manifold for such tasks.
On the other hand manifold does many things really well and if you want more from it you can program it. It is not difficult to make manifold do what you want.

You exactly know their approach (manifold's way) - the more folks are after a functionality, the more likely is its introduction in the product. It could be that many of manifold users do not put stress on what you do.

I think that whenever v9 appears it will kick ass ;)
maps made easy - www.cartomatic.pl

#69
NicKV

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Nick,

I don't think there are many packages out there able to perform very well in every area you mention. If you are not happy with one tool you either drop it or extend your toolbox with another one. I don't believe manifold's target is to fulfill every branch in the world of GIS software - in my opinion they are more likely to give us tools - API, etc. to make the community deliver the functionality itself.


Unification of sorts between traditional GIS software and more specialised GI software, for example, traditional RS software is already happening. This is why you are seeing cross-product integration and corporate alliances between ESRI and Leica and ITC and PCI. My guess is that eventually this will result in one or more corporate takeovers and eventual full capability integration into a single product. This is the future competitors Manifold is facing


Please correct me if I am wrong, but you saw manifold 9.0.x or whatever they demoed in London a few years back, right? Maybe it could not do everything you want from it at a time but I think it was already a great improvement over v8.


I saw something demoed in London four years ago. It may have demoed some features the next version will have, or it may not. But to be honest i was not that impressed with what i saw. As I say four years has passed since then, that is a long time in software and geographic information science. Things have moved on a lot. So I would expect great improvement in capabilities of the next version of Manifold over version 8. If they are not there then it could be a failure.

It looks like you do a quite specific piece of GIS - not everyone does remote sensing or scientific modeling though. I am not trying to say manifold should not be able to do it - it would be rather cool to be able to use manifold for such tasks.
On the other hand manifold does many things really well and if you want more from it you can program it. It is not difficult to make manifold do what you want.


You make the classic mistake of equating current Manifold users with the needs of the wider GI user community. If you produce a product that is targeted in cost and features towards the bottom of the GI software pile, it should come as no surprise that your users have mundane needs, either do not have use of such features, would not understand how to use them if they had them, or more likely use other products to the more sophisticated work. If you product is to advance and become more widely used, you cant just respond to the needs of you existing users.

You exactly know their approach (manifold's way) - the more folks are after a functionality, the more likely is its introduction in the product. It could be that many of manifold users do not put stress on what you do.


This is a ridiculous suggestion. There are very few GIS users with the know-how, time and finances to custom write software add-ons to perform an advanced operation. Even fewer can do it well. They also put them at the mercy of a possibly rapidly developing base product. It is too risky and not cost effective. This is the main reason why some corporations are still using antiquated software and OSs. They have had specialist software created for them in the past, at usually great expense. Subsequently, upgrading hardware, OSs, becomes prohibitive, as this would mean rewriting all their custom software.

Regarding you other comment about my needs, I dont buy that argument. There are no feature requests that i have put to Manifold that could be considered specialised or excessively complex. There was a time when Manifold.net was claiming that their ambition was to produce the leading GIS software product. I believed the sales pitch and responded accordingly. However, you dont create the most sophisticated GIS software by only catering for the demands of your existing users. You create the best product by creating the most advanced, sophisticated and capability rich product you can. You make a cutting edge product. You dont just produce a clone of your competitors product and product features. It is not sufficient to beat the competition on price per license, you have to do what the competition does, better and do more, much more. You have to give a very good reason to the users of your competitors products to switch to using your product and do so permanently. You have to become the product of choice and the default or a widely accepted standard in the geographic information industry.

The problem with Manifold today, is that it is competing in terms of product capabilities and to a degree, price, with other products at the bottom end of the GI software hierachy (just look at threads on this forum). It is mainly competing at present with free or lower cost GIS products. Four years ago these free or lower cost software products were almost unavailable or very basic. Not any more. The bottom end of the scale may once have had the volume, but now that assumption to the business model is questionable. The future can only be to provide ever more sophisticated software to highly knowledgeable and experienced users with advanced sophisticated needs. This development path and the reasons for it are not dissimilar to the development path that computer hardware manufacturers are forced to take.

I think that whenever v9 appears it will kick ass ;)


Doing what version 8 does now, but faster, will not be seen as good enough after four years or more of development.

Edited by NicKV, 15 August 2011 - 01:24 PM.


#70
Dan Borman

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Nick,

I don't think there are many packages out there able to perform very well in every area you mention. If you are not happy with one tool you either drop it or extend your toolbox with another one. I don't believe manifold's target is to fulfill every branch in the world of GIS software - in my opinion they are more likely to give us tools - API, etc. to make the community deliver the functionality itself.

and ...

I think that whenever v9 appears it will kick ass ;)


Mika, you have encapsulated my own thoughts exactly.

#71
Steve Knox

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I have used Manifold for about 6 years or so, mainly on and off. I have found that very little touches it in terms of basic functionality. Simple things like copying tables, adding fields, querying etc. are very easy compared to other packages. I have used both Mapinfo 10.5 and ArcGIS 10, and in my view neither can beat it for the bread and butter of working with large, geographic datasets.

Of course, other areas such as cartography and serious geographic processing are not so hot.

I am not too annoyed by the wait, because I don't rely on the tool, because of course at work I don't use Manifold (surprise surprise).It is, as others say, more of a crisis of confidence rather than anything else.

I have no idea when or if Version 9 will come out, but I know I will probably still fire up my old copy of 8, if I want to get something done fairly quickly - even if it's just something as banal as searching and replacing rows in a huge CSV file.

I concur that Open Source DB and GIS software is encroaching on this space, but it's not quite there yet, and as Manifold is so cheap (and a sunk cost) it makes sense to keep using it.

Edited by Steve Knox, 17 August 2011 - 05:56 AM.


#72
xqusme999

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From everything I have been able to read on the net, it would seem that Manifold Version 9 is not likely to be released anytime soon, if ever.

I use Workstation ARC/INFO to do much of my work which often involves performing a polygon on polygon overlay with as many as 30 layers of information and then applying some strict logic to eliminate sliver polygons from the final output. Everything is done within a scripted (AML) environment.

I've tried to duplicate my workflows using the latest ArcGIS Desktop offerings but thus far, I've been unable to obtain satisfactory results mostly because the ELIMINATE tool doesn't work as well in ArcGIS as it does in ARC/INFO. I attribute this to the lack of true arc-node topology in the ArcGIS world.

Workstation ARC/INFO is getting long in the tooth. ESRI clearly wants to make it go away as soon as possible. I'm looking for some software to replace my current toolset. On the surface, Manifold looked like a strong candidate but given the uncertainty around new releases and support for the product, I'm reluctant to convince my manager that we should buy it and spend the time to bring it online.

Can anyone suggest another open source or commercial product that might meet my needs as follows:

-perform vector polygon on polygon overlays to produce datasets that contain 1,000,000+ polygons and retain keys in the attribute table that could be used to join back to the original input layers;
-eliminate slivers from final output with total control over which bounding arcs get removed;
-read from most any ESRI spatial data source;
-complete all required processing within a scripted environment.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

#73
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xqusme999 - you might want to check out ArcGIS again - the python functionality has come a long way in ArcGIS 10. I used to be a hardcore AML user as well, but I have more or less dropped workstation now, except for some legacy scripts.

I often have a text editor open, and prepare a script and paste it into the commandline pane in ArcMap or ArcCatalog to execute the commands.

And python is a really nice and useful language, without all the dirty hacks and quirks of AML... !
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#74
xqusme999

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xqusme999 - you might want to check out ArcGIS again - the python functionality has come a long way in ArcGIS 10. I used to be a hardcore AML user as well, but I have more or less dropped workstation now, except for some legacy scripts.

I often have a text editor open, and prepare a script and paste it into the commandline pane in ArcMap or ArcCatalog to execute the commands.

And python is a really nice and useful language, without all the dirty hacks and quirks of AML... !

I agree. The new scripting enviroment is much better than what AML could ever offer.

The real issue is for me is the ELIMINATE functionality that is available in Workstation but not yet available in ArcGIS Desktop.

#75
tonyw

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How much longer are you prepared to wait for the release of Version 9 before you give up on Manifold Software Ltd, jump ship and migrate to another GIS product?[/b]

My loyalty already strained for other reasons, is close to reaching breaking point. If there is not news of the status of version 9 very least and it is not released before the end of 2011, then I will migrate to using GIS and other more specialist software from other manufacturers.

For all the hype from this company, at the moment it looks to me as if the Manifold emperor is not wearing any proverbial clothes.


Hi,
Manifold 8 still works for me and in anticipation of v. 9 I recently bought a new desktop for GIS (See specs below). The new PC is still a good investment as v8 still does the job and I'm still learning what v8 can do. As long as the license doesn't expire and I don't run out of activations, I'm okay.

My irritation with Manifold isn't the software, it's the attitude of staff (on the forum). On the Manifold forum I'm the "tonyw" there and I thought I'd be participating constructively and helping others to my limited extent. One day, as usual, I posted a helpful hint on how to securely accessing a Manifold IMS using a free VPN service. This was to get around having to administer user rights on the server, instead allow users based on their static IP address. I realize the Manifold forum policies had been tightened up, but my mention of another software company was (Hamachi, there I said it), I thought, consistent with other postings at the time. Manifold itself freely mentions Intel, Microsoft, Windows, GeForce, and other brand names. So out of the blue I get this rather rude email "Do not spam the forum. This is your final warning". When I posted a response saying the 1st email was rather harsh, I got a second email saying obviously I hadn't read the policies and that I should begin at the beginning, do not skim, please read carefully". In the same email, I was told my participation in the forum was summarily terminated. Seems inconsistent Manifold itself can mention various 3rd party software, services and hardware, but a user can't? And clearly based on my other 255 posts to the Manifold forum, I wasn't in the business of promoting other people's software. In fact I've been championing Manifold to my clients (my enthusiasm for promoting Manifold has waned to say the least).

Another example of an irksome characteristic on the Manifold forum is the response I got when I suggested that as a WMS client, Manifold should allow the user to pick from the available projections available on the WMS server. qGIS allows one to pick from the available projections. Manifold only uses the first projection which is geograhpic (lats, long) on the server I use. Manifold''s response was that the ability to select from available projections is a "feature" and the priority for adding features is based on user demand. It seems the inability to select a projection offered by the WMS server is a shortcoming in the implementation, but no, it's not one of its "features". So I just use qGIS when I need images from a WMS server.
See http://www.georefere...orum/t102032.10

I haven't bothered trying to grovel and plead back privileges to post to the Manifold forum. I still visit the Manifold forum but I've stopped participating (not that I have a choice to).

I think Manifold v.8 is still a good product, though I also use qGIS and the on-line mapping and information services the government of British Columbia has developed. My investment in the new PC is still sound as v.8 runs well on it.

Will I buy version 9? You bet without hesitation. But I'll avoid participating on the Manifold forum and just become another faceless users out there.

-Tony

Specs of my new GIS PC.
- Fermi GeForce GTX560 TI 830 MHz with 1 GB with 384 processor cores (I started by specifying the video card)
- i7-2600 quad core processor @ 3.4 Ghz (not overclocked) with Coolermaster Hyper 101i fan.
- 16 GB RAM (4 X 4 GB sticks, 8 GB sticks are terribly expensive)
- Asus P8P67 LE mother board
- Two 1TB 7200 harddrives in RAID0 configuration for fast data transfer
- A third 1 TB harddrive for data backup, network storage, and to store an image of the RAID disks for restoring after failure (to be backed up to external USB drives).
- Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
- 600 watt power supply

Edited by tonyw, 19 August 2011 - 11:20 AM.





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