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MapInfo Pro 2021 Feature Summary

  • 1.  MapInfo Pro 2021 Feature Summary

    Posted 07-16-2021 15:34

    MapInfo Pro 2021 Feature Summary

    It's time for us to give you a heads up on the progress for MapInfo Pro v2021.

    We aim to release it in the autumn, and we are bringing some really exciting things to the product.

    Let me walk you through some of the features that are close to being ready, and then give you some ideas on what's more to come.

    We currently are running an Alpha/Beta preview in the MapInfo Lab group. If you would like to try out the new features and give us feedback while there is still time, contact @Andrei Veselov to get invited to the lab.

    New File format

    With v2019, we started including OGR/GDAL in the MapInfo Pro installer. That made it possible for you to take advantage of OGR/GDAL through Python as an example.

    With v2021, we are introducing support for OGR/GDAL through a new file format. This means that you can access any format that OGR supports directly from MapInfo Pro. 

    With access, we refer to

    • Directly open with read and write support,
    • Import into Native Tab,
    • Export to from Native Tab
    • and Save as from Native Tab.

    We are testing a number of the most commonly used formats, and these will be listed as formats in the File Type list. But you can tell MapInfo Pro to show all the GDAL formats in this list. We just haven't tested all.

    One of the benefits of using GDAL is that you get read/write support to formats we earlier only support in read-only mode, such as CSV and Excel. Another benefit is the range of formats supported by GDAL.

    These are some of the formats we are testing:

    • CSV and TXT (including well known text and geojson geometry support)
    • XLS
    • WKT
    • ESRI Shape
    • GeoJSON
    • KML and KMZ

    Background thread support

    When saving a copy of a table, you can now choose to save the table in a background thread. This lets you use MapInfo Pro while the save copy as the process runs.

    This is supported for saving (extended) native tables to (extended) native tables and when saving (extended) Native tables to a GDAL format.

    We also support background threads to save OGR tables into Native tables and export Native tables to OGR formats.

    Export capabilities

    These improvements also allowed us to revisit our Export capability. This has now been extended to support the GDAL/OGR formats, export multiple tables at a time and for some formats run the export in a background thread.

    WFS 2.0 Support for Paging

    The Ordnance Survey has created a new set of APIs that lets you access their data via OGC Compliant web services. MapInfo Pro already supports these services via WMTS and WMS.

    For WFS, we have now added paging support that really is required to benefit from the OS Vector API as it is designed to only return a very low number of records per request. With the support for Paging, we can now send multiple requests to the services and in this way get data for a larger area where we earlier only could get a very limited number of records.

    WFS 2.0 Paging will work with any WFS 2.0 service that supports paging. If you know of any, please let us know to potentially test these before we release this new capability.

    Select by Attribute

    With MapInfo Pro v2019, we introduced Select by Location to help users create spatial joins between two datasets. For v2021, we are introducing Select by Attribute which will help you query your data based on attributes.

    This new dialog will present the user with an easy-to-use interface where dropdowns will show the unique values for the columns. You will be able to construct queries specifying conditions without having to know SQL. The dialog will allow you to look for one or more specific values, compare numerical values to given values or average values in the column, and locate records where a column holds empty values or has objects of a given type or doesn't have a spatial object at all.

    The dialog stays on screen until you actively close it, making it easy to enhance your query until you are happy with the result.

    New Time Series Analysis

    Flexibly break your data into time periods and visualize them on the map

    Utilize full Pro analysis tools such as thematics, querying, labelling etc.

    Support playback on the map as well as exporting

    Use Time Slider to quickly change the visualization

    Annotate the Map with new Smart text and embedded legends

    Calculate Statistics on Time fields

    Tile Server Reprojection - on-the- fly reprojection for Tile Server and WMTS tables

    Below is aerial imagery of London (Bing Hybrid map) in British National gid:

    The small but useful things

    You can open the Select Projection dialog by clicking on the Coordinate System in the Statusbar allowing you to change the coordinate system in very few clicks. You can also set the map to use the coordinate system of a layer in your map with a single click.

    You can make WMS Layer not selectable via the Explorer Window. This is especially useful for WMS Layers that support GetFeatureInfo. This request was raised in the MapInfo Pro community last year.

    You can right-click on a table in the Table List to copy the path of the tab file or open Windows Explorer and show the selected tab file. You now also have access to Save Copy As from the Table List context menu which also lets you save copies of multiple selected tables.

    We have added another option for closing query tables. MapInfo Pro v2019 added Close Queries and with v2021, we add Close Unnamed Queries. This will close query tables called Query1, Query2, Query3, etc.

    On the Layout tab, we have included a dropdown to quickly insert known SmartText Aliases into your layout. This makes it easy to use these and also highlights this capability to the user.

    New Support for Layer Filters

    Ability to set a "where clause" filter on a map layer to limit which objects are drawn in the map

    SQL Improvements

    • Changes to cross join support syntax
    • Support for non Mappable geopackage (1.2) tables
    • New table type OGR
    • Ability to refresh a query table without closing it
    • Ability to change the query clause of a query table without closing it

    MapBasic support for building the ribbon interface

    For the MapBasic developers amongst you, there is good news. We finally got around to adding MapBasic support for adding controls to the ribbon interface.

    Until now, you have had to use .NET or an additional MapBasic module to easily add controls and modify the ribbon interface.

    Now, we have MapBasic statements that support all the capabilities of the ribbon.

    MapInfo Virtual Raster support

    We are enhancing the support for MapInfo Virtual Raster and adding support for creating these virtual rasters from many of the Raster Procession dialogs.

    MapInfo Virtual Raster allows you to create raster grids that refer to other raster grids and modifies these using raster operations. You can use a MapInfo Virtual Raster to merge two existing raster grids into one raster grid. The benefit of the MapInfo Virtual Raster is that the calculation is done real-time and so no additional MRR files are created on disk.

    Thanks to @Peter Horsbøll Møller for most of this content.

    Bob Fortin
    Software Architect and Distinguished Engineer
    MapInfo Pro Development Team

    Bob Fortin
    Software Architect and Distinguished Engineer
    MapInfo Pro Development Team

  • 2.  RE: MapInfo Pro 2021 Feature Summary

    Posted 08-08-2021 19:31
    Thanks for the update Bob

    This is shaping up to be one of the most exciting releases for some time!!

    Duri Bradshaw
    Spatial IT Consultant
    Insight GIS

  • 3.  RE: MapInfo Pro 2021 Feature Summary

    Posted 08-19-2021 16:11
    Smart Text in the Layout

    For the upcoming release we install a smart text alias file in %APPDATA%\Roaming\MapInfo\MapInfo\Professional\2100\SmartTextAliases.xml" or in a subfolder for other languages.

    In it we have added some more map and time series related aliases that you can see in the screenshot below.
    We also now show the aliases under the text dropdown on the layout tab.
    You can edit the alias file (by hand) and Pro will pick up the changes.

    Bob Fortin
    Software Architect and Distinguished Engineer
    MapInfo Pro Development Team

  • 4.  RE: MapInfo Pro 2021 Feature Summary

    Posted 08-19-2021 16:12
    Smart Text on the Map

    As part of the time series features we have added a new type of "Smart Text" adornment that you can put on the map.

    It is very similar to the layout smart text capability but in this initial implementation there are some differences.

    Basically it is text placed on top of the map that is not geographically located. It can be static text you type in, or a MapBasic expression that is evaluated when the map is drawn.

    You can get to it from the Map Tab->Add To Map

    It is also used on the Time Tab->Add to Map for the time period, record count, extents, etc.

    Here is an example that puts the map title text onto the map:
    The expression uses the same syntax as in layout. CurContext(4) is the windowid of the current map being drawn.

    Differences from Layout Smart Text as of now:
    • Aliases are not supported
    • We don't have any preset values/examples in the UI apart from the ones on the time tab.
    • Right now it only recognizes smart text if the text begins with $mb{ -- layout allows for multiple smart text expressions in the text.
    • You can include static text in the expression using mapbasic string concatenation. eg. "Title" + ...

    Bob Fortin
    Software Architect and Distinguished Engineer
    MapInfo Pro Development Team