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MapInfo Monday: Loading WPPOI data into MapInfo Pro

  • 1.  MapInfo Monday: Loading WPPOI data into MapInfo Pro

    Posted 10-17-2022 03:17
    Happy #MapInfoMonday!

    In the article today, I want to show you another use case for the new OGR Vector Files​ formats that we added to MapInfo Pro v2021: How to load the Precisely World Points of Interest - Premium, or amongst friends just WPPOI.

    Precisely World Points of Interest - Premium provides location and detailed company information for a diverse set of commercial and retail businesses, leisure, landmark, and geographic features in more than 170 countries and territories around the world. It holds more than 250 million data points. The points are classified allowing you to filter out specific classes for your use case. You can find more details about the dataset on the Precisely website.

    And, if you want to have a closer look at the dataset, you can find samples for various countries on the Precisely Data Experience for free download. The Precisely Data Experience allows you to download various data samples from the wide Precisely Data Catalog. Most of these datasets can also be viewed online through our Map Explorer.

    Earlier the data was only delivered in a pipe-separated text format aimed at loading into databases. If you wanted to use the data in MapInfo Pro, you would have to load the data from this file format too. These days you can order it in a MapInfo Extended TAB format. From the Precisely Data Experience, the samples are however still delivered as Pipe Delimited Text only, and you already are getting the WPPOI data in this format. In these cases, read on to learn how to get the data into MapInfo Pro.

    You should also continue reading this post if you want to learn a bit more about the Precisely World Points of Interest - Premium dataset.

    Loading the Pipe Delimited Text file into MapInfo Pro

    I have opened a map with Bing Roads and now I want to load the WPPOI dataset for the United Kingdom into MapInfo Pro. You can follow along if you have downloaded one of the datasets from the Precisely Data Experience.

    From the Open dialog, I select Vector Files (OGR) from the list with supported file types. This also includes text format. I can now browse to and select the WPPOI file that I want to load into MapInfo Pro.

    The text file you get delivered is just around 4GB in size. Loading this into a MapInfo Extended TAB, will result in a table with a size larger than 30GB. This is caused by the many textual column in the World Points of Interest - Premium dataset.

    Click on Open to start loading the file.

    As mostly when loading files via the Vector Files (OGR), you will now see the Vector Files (OGR) Open Options dialog. To load the WPPOI dataset, you do not have to change this. Just click OK to continue.

    This will set MapInfo Pro up to automatically detect the separator, autodetect width of character columns, and to look for possible columns with X and Y values.

    You will then see the Select One or More Table to Open dialog where we need to make a few changes.

    First you need to make sure the CSV file has been selected so that when you make adjustments, they get assigned to this file.

    You can set the desired Point Style for the points though the Style button.

    You also need to check and potentially change the coordinate system. Click the Coordinate System button, and select "Longitude / Latitude (WGS 84)" from the list of Coordinate Systems in the Choose Projection dialog. If you are using MapInfo Pro v2021.1, you can use the Search field at the top, to filter the list by "4326" which is the EPSG code of the coordinate system we are looking for.

    Back in the Select One or More Table to Open dialog, click on Options. In the Vector Files (OGR) Open Options dialog you need to check the option Save Copy as MapInfo Table. Trust me, you do not want to work with the data directly from the text file - make sure you get the data saved into a MapInfo Extended TAB file. You also need to ensure that MapInfo Pro is configured to create MapInfo Extended TAB file by default. Check item 2 in MapInfo Monday: 13 Preferences to check and configure in MapInfo Pro.

    You can also use the Browse button to pick a different location and name for the file created.

    Back in the Select One or More Table to Open dialog, it's time to start the loading process. Hit OK to start processing the file.

    Loading all the WPPOI data for the United Kingdom will take a while. Luckily, it will run in the background so you can continue using MapInfo Pro while the file is being processed. You can follow the process in the Tasks window. You can see my Tasks window in the lower left corner.

    On my laptop, it took a bit more than an hour to process these more than 7 million points of interest.

    Working with the World Points of Interest - Premium in MapInfo Pro

    There is a bunch of use cases for this dataset once you got it loaded into MapInfo Pro. You can use it for identifying where to locate a new store and take existing stores into account, for location-based marketing when targeting areas with a large portion of businesses of a given type, and for much more.

    You can use the different classifications in the dataset to filter out specific locations and save these into a new subset to work with. But you can also use some of the label settings or layer filtering to do this. Let look at a few examples.

    Below is an example where I have labelled the points where the SIC8_DESCRIPTION column holds the value "Hotels". You can see the expression in the MapBasic window under the map window. For clarification, this is the expression I have used as my label expression:
    IIf(SIC8_DESCRIPTION="Hotels", NAME, "")
    It will show the name of the point of interest if the SIC8 Classification is Hotels.

    I can also broaden this to a wider range of locations where people can spend the night. I can search for the value "Hotel, Motel - Unspecified" in the SUB_CLASS column.
    IIf(SUB_CLASS="Hotel, Motel - Unspecified", NAME, "")
    From the Product Guide for World Points of Interest - Premium, you can find a complete list of all the the difference classifications. The Product Guide will be included in the sample datasets too.

    And instead of just labelling specific points, you can apply a Layer Filter to only show points of a certain classification. Below you see that only the points of the same Sub Class as above are being rendered. This makes it far clearer where these points are located.

    I will come back with more specific examples on how you can use the World Points of Interest - Premium dataset in MapInfo Pro in a later article. I hope this gave you a good first impression, and that it showed you how to get the data loaded into MapInfo Pro.

    Peter Horsbøll Møller
    Principal Presales Consultant | Distinguished Engineer
    Precisely | Trust in Data