Let’s Look at The Latest Update For Precisely MapInfo Pro (V2021)

David Boucher 

Geospatial Developer and Analyst

October 4, 2021

Let’s Look at The Latest Update For Precisely MapInfo Pro (V2021)

With its previous MapInfo Pro update (v2019.3), Precisely was looking to improve its product with better all-around capabilities such as improved LiDAR data support, more flexibility in data processing with Python, and improving the user experience (UX) with better visualization of heatmaps. At the same time, the MapInfo Marketplace was launched. With its new version, the enhancement trend continues with many improvements that will, without a doubt, be welcomed by current users as well as newcomers that are either looking to start their journey utilizing geospatial technology or those in the market for an alternative to their current GIS software.

Here’s a list of some of the new, key features:

  • Time series capabilities
  • “Select by Attribute” tool
  • Expanded GDAL file format support
  • Tiled Server reprojection
  • Multi-Resolution Virtual Raster (MVR)
  • Support for paging in WFS

Everything changes with time

How many times have you consulted or analyzed data with a time component and told yourself: “It would be nice to easily visualize the evolution and changes of my data by time.” The wait is over because Precisely has introduced new “time series capabilities.”

Time series capabilities of Mapinfo Pro v2021

The “Layer Time Properties” gives you the opportunity to select different time configurations, depending on how your table is structured. Once you’ve selected the appropriate time configuration, you can determine the time frame extent of the data that you want to analyze or visualize. In addition, you can choose how you want to aggregate the data based on the period length within the time frame. Once the properties are determined, you have access to a whole new set of tools, like sequence visualization, among others. This tool enables users to observe the changes to data over each time horizon as if they were watching a video.

Layer time properties of Mapinfo Pro v2021
Time Horizon

These new capabilities will be very useful for people who want to identify new trends through their data and see how they change in time and space. They will also be able to export and share this new type of visualization.

Another option to make the right selection

In previous versions of MapInfo, the user-friendly interface used to create a spatial query required some knowledge of structured query language (SQL). Knowing that not every GIS user is completely familiar with SQL syntax and structure, the new “Select by Attribute” tool introduces a new way to manipulate data for browsing, visualization or exporting. This new type of selection tool is based on operators that you determine for one or more fields from within your data table. The tool is designed so that you can easily define the conditions of the query without thinking about syntax or query structure like you would with a traditional SQL query.

Select by attribute
Select by attribute feature of Mapinfo Pro v2021

We can see similarities between this new tool and the functionality for filtering we usually see in spreadsheets. With that in mind, MapInfo Pro has taken another step to support new users who are less familiar with database and GIS language.

Diversity and flexibility give you possibilities!

In the last few years, geospatial software applications have taken an extraordinary leap in functionality. As a result, new solutions and standards have emerged, especially with the increase in popularity of open-source software. With its new release of MapInfo Pro, Precisely did exactly what was needed to keep pace with this new competitive reality. It is now possible to access and use dozens of new file formats, mostly aligned with GDAL/OGR formats. Among the most useful and popular of these supported file formats are GeoJSON, KML, GML and vector tiles. Here is a sneak peek of the supported file formats:

GeoJSON, KML, GML and vector tiles
The new supported file formats mean that users will spend less time converting data and more time doing what is important, namely, visualizing, analyzing or processing your data. Last but not the least, this new feature will facilitate data exchange between colleagues, teams, as well as clients, knowing that data does not have to be converted before being shared.

Different sources, different projection … no problem!

In the past, integrating existing corporate data with web services, such as Web Map Tile Servers or WMTS, was not always easy. To visualize data, users had to consider the corporate data’s map projection while also accounting for that of the WMTS. For users not familiar with the technical aspects regarding coordinates systems, projections, or the need for reprojecting a derivative data set from two different sources, users may find that they lack the necessary understanding of geospatial data. With this version, MapInfo Pro is taking care of that for users by reprojecting, “on the fly,” tiled web services and WMTS. This feature will greatly help to manage the alignment of the tiled server data in the coordinate system of your data. Once again, less data management and more visualization, analysis and processing.

Added capabilities with Multi-Resolution Virtual Raster (MVR)

The Multi-Resolution Raster (MRR) format, a patented compression technology for raster data, provides users outstanding processing power for the analysis of image data. But what if more could be done? With MapInfo Pro’s new support for Multi-Resolution Virtual Raster (MVR) data, Precisely has added more flexibility to process these special types of rasters that are available to use as input or output depending on the tool you use. They are also designed to require less computing power while performing advanced analysis. Faster computing time and less storage place are two impacts you will see by using this new type of raster. MVR will not replace MRR but should be viewed as a tool to obtain a quick result for some processing tests before committing to the final solution. As both are multi-resolution, the MVR can also be used as a possible shortcut to merge raster data with different resolutions, without the need to pre-process them before visualization. A perfect use case example would be a user that needs to combine image data, each having varied spatial and spectral resolution, but wants to preview that data before saving it to a local hard drive.

Paging is now possible

Sometimes, accessing data through a large Web Feature Service (WFS), like those available on the US government open data portal, can be overwhelming and demanding for your software or your computer. For example, in its 2021 version, MapInfo Pro has service layers containing millions of points describing historical natural events or distribution of natural resources in the US. It has also introduced new capabilities for paging in WFS 2.0, giving users the ability to manage how much data will be loaded into memory during the transfer and how many features will be viewed in the map browser. You can now be more in control of what you want to visualize from the WFS and quickly refresh your project with additional data.

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