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  • 1.  TAB file storage (best practice?!)

    Posted 02-14-2020 12:50
    Hi everyone,

    I'm a little stuck and frustrated and hoping someone or many of you can provide some help and share your knowledge.

    We have got various layers which are used/edited and viewed daily held on a network storage and accessible to anyone with a MapInfo license. These layers are also combined into a seamless layer as they are broken down from County to District level to allow for multiple users to be editing different areas at one time but are required to be viewed at County level.

    There has been ongoing issue with the first layer becoming locked making editing difficult as the first file in the folder is a .DAT. The issue is now looking to be related to users accessing (viewing) either this individual layer or the seamless, as very early or later into the evening, the layer unlocks allowing edits to be made and saved. The workaround so far has been to save to a different location until I am able to push the updated version to overwrite the existing layer.

    We have had the folder white listed on the AV running on the server, and specifically looking at DAT files in this area, but I need to find out if there is a better way of storing and using this data, as this also feeds to a public portal and shows information relevant to highway boundary and maintenance responsibility of the Local Authority.

    This is what the error received states:

    I've tried closing all other applications leaving just MapInfo running but again this layer isn't stored locally and I can't push everyone else off while I'm editing from this location.

    Are there any guides on storage options or best practice in various situations ranging from single user/editor to large scale multi viewing/editor. Where should we be storing data, is TAB the best/only format for this?


    James King
    Essex County Council

  • 2.  RE: TAB file storage (best practice?!)
    Best Answer

    Posted 02-15-2020 07:49
    Hi James,

    If you google "mapinfo .dat file locked why?" you get some interesting answers.  from anti-virus to aggressive back-up software....

    An old client of mine used to use a MapX app that pulled in tables and that had a nasty habit of leaving the temporary versions (.dta) files open even when edits had been confirmed.   Does any other 'system' interact with your MapInfo data?  Planning, Highways, education systems?

    I've definitely seen clients moving to hold their key datasets in a more robust and open system like SQLserver or, for those with deep pockets, Oracle.

    I have a client where we use SQLserver with linked MapInfo tables.  This has a few advantages :
    1) easier to share data to other systems - web mapping, etc.  'One version of the truth' rather than copying data, etc.
    2) linked tables to a spatial server kind of act as their own backup - i.e. if something corrupts or deletes the .map or .dat file they can just be re-created from the spatial data.
    3) allows multi-user editing. bit complicated to manage this and we usually keep using AD permissions on the tables rather than go down the rabbit-hole of conflict hierarchy.
    4) Huge generalisation here but IMO IT departments much prefer data held this way from a security, back-up, management point of view rather than flat files on the corporate drives.

    There may well be other benefits too.



    Nick Hall
    Mapchester LTD

  • 3.  RE: TAB file storage (best practice?!)

    Posted 02-16-2020 17:21
    Hi James,

    Great suggestions from Nick.  A few extra comments I'll add:
    1. As an alternative to SQL Server/Oracle, you could implement PostgresSQL with PostGIS. MapInfo Pro will happily use this as a datasource.
    2. Agree with the benefits that Nick mentioned, as an alternative to Linked tables you could also implement Live table access (there's a section in the User Guide "Deciding to work with Linked or Live Access Tables" that describes this in more detail).
    3. Edit permissions. As Nick mentioned, holding the data in a database provides a wide range of capabilities for control over User editing.

    Feel free to post any follow up questions here.


    Ashley Crane
    Regional Director, Software Support
    Pitney Bowes

  • 4.  RE: TAB file storage (best practice?!)

    Posted 02-17-2020 07:41
    Thanks Nick & Ashley.

    I'll look into these options and find the best one that suits our needs.

    Appreciate the help!

    James King
    Essex County Council

  • 5.  RE: TAB file storage (best practice?!)

    Posted 02-18-2020 10:51
    Hi James

    I would like to add to the options provided by Nick and Ashley to store tab files. You can also store tab data in AWS environment under RDS services such as Aurora Database which is highly performant and scalable. MapInfo easily renders the files stored in cloud environment and perform all queries (spatial and non-spatial) compliant with PostgreSQL database. Steps to connect Aurora Database is similar to any other ODBC connection steps.

    Hope this helps!


    Dr Neena Priyanka
    Pitney Bowes Software India PVT. Ltd