And surprisingly it's #MapInfoMonday again.
As I wrote yesterday, due to it being MapInfo Pro v2021 release week, we will run #MapInfoMonday articles all week.
Today, we will look at a couple of the improvements around web services. In particular, we will look at Web Feature Service (WFS) improvements and Tile Map Service (TMS) and Web Map Tile Service (WMTS) improvements.
A recent request from our users in the UK is to be able to support the new OS Features API from Ordnance Survey. We already support their OS Maps API for WMTS and ZXY Tile Servers.
Ordnance Survey has implemented their OS Features API using WFS 2.0 and they have also implemented Paging support that makes it possible to break up a large request into smaller batch sizes. In order to support this, we needed to add support for Paging in our WFS implementation. Without Paging support, you would have to set the maximum number of features to 100 which makes the OS Features API almost useless.
And with MapInfo Pro v2021, we bring support for WFS 2.0 Paging to our users. This will mean a lot to our huge UK user base but as WFS services start taking advantage of WFS Paging, this will help all our users who use WFS services in their daily work.
Here's how it works.
When you go to the Open WFS Table dialog, after having added the OS Features API to your server list with your organization's key, you will see a dialog similar to the one below. Notice that I have removed my key from the screenshot.
You will notice that Enable feature paging probably has been checked by default. MapInfo Pro picks this up from the capabilities document. The Page Size is also from the capabilities document so make sure you don't change this value to a larger value.
The Max. features value can be adjusted to let you fetch more features than the amount specified for the Page size. But when using a premium plan, it's best not to select a lot of features, or a large geographic area, in the GIS software-they can easily use up transactions. To avoid this, you can add a Zoom Layering for the layer to turn off the visibility of the layer when you zoom out in your map.The feature paging options will be disabled if the server doesn't support WFS paging.It's also recommended to use the Row Filter button to limit the number of features to fetch from the server. You can use the extent of the current map window to only fetch the features that are inside the map. In the Row Picker dialog, you can construct a condition like the one you see below.
When you now open the newly created WFS table into a map window, MapInfo Pro will fetch the records from the WFS Service that meets the conditions.
If you zoom and or pan to another area, you will however notice that there is no coverage from the WFS service in this area. You can quickly request data for a new area using the Refresh button that shows when you hold your mouse over a WFS table in the Table List. Click the Refresh button and MapInfo Pro will fetch records from the current map and update the WFS table with these.
While working on WFS Paging support and talking to our UK customers, we realized that we should also add another feature to our WFS support: Auto Update. A number of the users that tried out the new paging support for WFS were struggling to understand why the WFS table wasn't updated when they panned the map.
So in order to make it easier to work with WFS tables, we added the ability to configure a WFS table to automatically refresh when the map window changes. This means that MapInfo Pro will automatically refresh these WFS tables and fetch records for the new map extent when you zoom and pan your map window.
This is a per-table setting that is set when opening the WFS table in the Open WFS Table dialog. You find the option in the lower right corner: Auto Update.
Just like paging support, this works best if you set a Row Filter condition such as the current map window.
Note that Auto Update does not require the WFS server to support WFS 2.0. This works with any WFS version.
Enabling Auto Update for a WFS table makes the WFS table work similar to a WMS table as it will refresh for any change to the map window. If your WFS table contains many records, it is recommended to control when to display the table using a Layer Filter. This will prevent MapInfo Pro from fetching records from a large area resulting in longer waiting times.
A request we have seen from many customers and partners is to be able to use the tiled base map layers in your preferred coordinate system. Finally, we are able to fulfill this request.
Before you can change the coordinate system of a map window that has one or more tiled map layers, you need to enable Raster Reprojection for the map window. You can change this setting via the Map Options and there click on the Image Processing button.
In the Image Processing dialog, you need to make sure Reprojection is set to either Always or Optimized.
When you have enabled this, MapInfo Pro will reproject images and rasters to the coordinate system of the map.
We have also made it easier to change the coordinate system of your map. In earlier versions of MapInfo Pro, you would have to go through the Map Options dialog to get to the Choose Projection dialog. In MapInfo Pro v2021, this is still possible. But you can now also access the Choose Projection dialog by clicking on the coordinate system name in the statusbar.
You can also right-click on any layer in the Layer List and set the coordinate system of the map to match the coordinate system of the layer using the Set Map Projection from Layer item.
Below you can see one of the Precisely Maps shown in two different coordinate systems. The first is the standard Popular Visualization coordinate system, and below that it's the Robinson NAD27 coordinate system. For smaller areas, you can of course also use your preferred local coordinate systems such as British National Grid or similar.
I hope you find these improvements useful in your daily work with MapInfo Pro. We'd love to hear what you think of the new release and which improvement is your favorite.