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Drag and Drop Magic, Label Advances, and More
Build 174.2 Build 174.2 is a quick build to enhance label capabilities, along with some database and UI improvements and miscellaneous fixes.
- Halos - Rendering curved line labels renders halos.
- Label positioning - Placing a line label prioritizes placing the label near a straight line segment that is long enough to fit it. If there are multiple such segments, the system uses the segment closest to the center of the line.
- Acute angles avoided - Placing a line label avoids placing the label onto a sequence of segments with high curvature (large angles between segments), to improve legibility. The maximum bend angle can be specified in the Label Style dialog.
- Multiline text alignment - Rendering labels with multiple lines of text uses the left, center, or right alignment specified in the in the Label Style dialog.
- EPSG Updates - EPSG coordinate systems that switched bases (5 cases) and coordinate transforms that switched source or target systems (3 cases) in the latest, 10.19 version of the EPSG database have been adjusted to coincide with their EPSG definitions.
- Startup tips for new users - The gray background area of the main Manifold desktop window shows a dimmed Manifold logo and dimmed text with tips for new users.
- PostgreSQL Collations - Creating a primary key on an existing text field in PostgreSQL always uses the collation of the field. This became a requirement in PostgreSQL 13. Secondary indexes continue to be able to use collations different from those of the fields.
- MySQL and SQL Server Collations - Creating an index on an existing text field in MySQL or SQL Server always uses the collation of the field and does not attempt to change it. Previously, adding an index on a field that was not part of any other index attempted to change the collation of the field to that specified for the index. The system no longer does that and instead shows, for a likely edit, the collation of a field directly in the user interface.
- Nested include directives within queries - Nested include directives in queries now resolve from the current data source instead of from the data source of the topmost query. This allows composing a query with includes, then including that query from within a different data source with nested includes resolving correctly.
- References to components within included queries - References to components in included queries now resolve from the current data source instead of from the data source of the topmost query. This allows composing a query which references a script function, then including that query from within a different data source with the script reference resolving correctly.
Hardware videos from a software company? Sure! Manifold's staff includes world-class hardware talent from innovative computer systems and leading CPU and GPU companies, like Intel, to ensure Manifold software provides maximum price / performance on real-life hardware.
Check out other recently-added videos lower down on this page. See the Videos page for the full collection of Manifold videos.
Manifold Hardware - David vs. Goliath - Part 1 - A hardware video, taking a look at some of the hardware used in Manifold videos, including Manifold E boxes used for software development. Part One of the David vs. Goliath comparison shows the 48-thread Threadripper machine shown in various videos, and compares that in size to an ultra-small 8 thread Ryzen 3 mini-ITX motherboard. In the David vs. Goliath comparison, which machine will be faster? ...David running Manifold Release 9, or Goliath running ESRI ArcGIS Pro? Stay tuned to see!
Manifold Hardware - David vs. Goliath - Part 2 - Part two of the David vs. Goliath hardware comparison takes a closer look at the tiny, mini-ITX, Ryzen 3 system that plays the David roll, showing the low-profile case that makes for a highly portable, low cost system that's great for GIS. The video discusses various options for even more power in such very low cost, high performance, super portable rigs with superb keyboards and great displays.
Build 174.1 introduces new label functionality, including labels that follow curved lines, with extensive support for Unicode and multiple languages. The build also provides truly convenient drag and drop capability to easily import or link data into a project from files or databases browsed in Windows Explorer. Other conveniences include support for GDAL/ORG VRT files, both raster and vector, upgrades to EPSG 10.19, a new coordinate system, and enhancements to SQLite and GPKG dataports
- Drag and Drop to Import and Link - Dragging and dropping files from Windows Explorer into the Project pane imports files, and dragging and Shift-dropping links those files. The cursor automatically changes to show import or link when pressing the Shift key during the drag. See the new 10 Minute Tutorial - Drag and Drop video.
- Drag and Drop Direct into Data Sources - Drag and drop data directly from Windows Explorer into data sources, with set up and conversion on the fly. Drag shapefiles from Explorer listings directly into ESRI file geodatabases, PostgreSQL/PostGIS databases or other databases linked into the project. Drag and drop directly into a database is the fastest way in GIS to load up a PostGIS database .
- Drag and Drop Projects - Drag and drop Manifold .map project files or .mxb archives to pop open projects or to load or link data from other projects. Load or link thousands of components instantly, retaining the full hierarchies and organization of the original projects.
- Import or Link VRT files - GDAL/OGR VRT files are text files that specify how to import or link lists of individual image or vector files. VRT files are often used to create a single "virtual" raster image or vector drawing from collections of many individual raster or vector files. Linking a VRT in Manifold creates what appears to be a single raster or vector, and importing automatically assembles data from files into a single component. Works with drag and drop, too!
- Curved Line Labels - Labels that follow lines composed of multiple segments now automatically curved to follow bends in the lines. New algorithms support improved placement of characters and words to avoid label text distortion. Placement is also optimized for lines that are partially in view or off screen. Optimizations support curved labels in high resolution printing and large print areas. Upcoming builds will add even more controls.
- Advanced Support for Many Languages - The label engine fully supports advanced Unicode features to handle multiple languages, even in the same label. Unicode features include multiple code points collapsing into a single glyph, a single code point expanding into multiple glyphs, all types of whitespace, right to left language text (like Arabic or Hebrew), and more. Mix different languages in the same label, even mixing right to left and left to right languages in the same label.
- EPSG Upgraded - Manifold now includes the latest, and greatest EPSG 10.19 database, with thousands of upgrades, including to conversion methods.
- WKT / WKT2 EPSG Upgrades - Writing a coordinate system to WKT or WKT2 (for example, using a Transform template) writes authority codes for EPSG systems. Parsing a coordinate system from WKT or WKT2 reads authority codes for EPSG systems: if the definition of the parsed system matches that of the referenced EPSG system, the system will add the EPSG code to the parsed system, to allow using transforms for that system specified in the EPSG system, for example, transforms based on grid files.
- SQLite / GPKG + ESRI Upgrades - The SQLite and GPKG dataports have been upgraded to support ESRI ST_GEOMETRY for users who have installed ESRI's optional extension for SQLite. The dataports have also been enhanced to support deleting and renaming table fields.
- New Projection - A new coordinate system type has been added: Lambert Conformal Conic (Single Parallel, B).
Check out recently-added videos for a quick start on new features and to learn the ins and outs of the truly vast range of Manifold capabilities. See the Videos page for the full collection of Manifold videos.
10 Minute Tutorial - Drag and Drop - Drag and drop files from Windows Explorer into Manifold Release 9 or Manifold Viewer to open projects, and to import or link files and databases into a project. This video shows how easy it is to import or to link one file or many files, using many different formats, all at once into a Manifold project. Easily import or link into a project or into data sources within projects. You can actually drag and drop a shapefile from Windows Explorer directly into an ESRI geodatabase data source. Super! Drag and drop is so fast and easy you'll never use the File menu again! Works in the free Viewer too, the quickest way to pop open files in Viewer.
10 Minute Tutorial - TileMaskRange Expressions - We learn how to use the power of Manifold Release 9's many SQL functions without needing to learn SQL. The Transform pane's Expression template allows us to apply individual SQL functions, to transform rasters, vectors, and tables using hundreds of powerful SQL functions.
The example tutorial shows the TileMaskRange function in action, used to knock out unwanted pixels in images, marking them as missing pixels to make them transparent. We first apply the function to knock out unwanted black border pixels from a Landsat image, so the Landsat image can be seamlessly overlaid on other satellite backgrounds. Along the way we see how Previews can show us what will happen next, to guide our choices of parameters. We also show how to invert mask effects.
Next, we use the function to knock out thematically formatted pixels in a terrain elevation raster to create dramatic and useful raster contouring effects. All this works in both Manifold Release 9 and the free Manifold Viewer as well. This is a video version of the Example: TileMaskRange Expressions topic.
5 Minute Tutorial - Find Surrounded Parcels - A recent thread in the Manifold user forum asked how to find all parcels that are completely surrounded by a single other parcel, to find locations where easements may be hosting cell phone towers, or other isolated parcels. This video shows a fast and simple way of finding such parcels using Manifold Release 9 that is way easier than what you have to do in other GIS packages, like ArcGIS Pro.
In less than five minutes of actual work, we use the Join dialog to do a quick self-join, we use the Clip editing command to create an overlay, and then we do a spatial select. Done! What's complicated in other packages is easy in Manifold because of faster and easier to use commands and user interfaces. Works in the free Manifold Viewer too!
"This shows why Mfd's approach to GIS is so good. Flexible tools that allow rapid GIS gymnastics. While version 8 was really great at this, 9 has the join dialogue and now cool drawing tools that add to the quiver. The rapid application of the tools from the minimalist interface makes finding solutions so much more enjoyable." - Forum post
10 Minute Tutorial - Editing with Erase - The new Erase command in Manifold Release 9 removes portions of areas, lines, and points that are erased by drawing new areas or with existing areas. This fast-paced video shows three different examples, including freehand erasing, using areas to erase in different layers, and borrowing an area from one part of a map to erase in different parts of the map. Erase is very fast, flexible, and intuitive, minimizing the number of clicks required for powerful editing. Works in the free Manifold Viewer too.
"What a great video and set of tools! After just a few days of extensively using these tools, editing multiple drawings just became a lot more easy and straightforward. This is indeed an outstanding addition to Manifold vector data editing tools." - Forum post
Build 174 is an Official Build that's published as a Windows installer package as well as portable installations. Build 174 includes all new items and fixes from all Cutting Edge builds since the last Official build, Build 173. It includes enhancements to editing and other features introduced in the prior Cutting Edge build, Build 173.6:
- New Erase Tool - Fast and easy erasing of portions of existing areas, lines, and points in a specified layer that are either inside or outside of the erasing area. The erasing area can be either an existing area, in the same layer or a different layer, or a new area in the process of being created. Edit coordinates for the erasing area on the fly as well! See the new Erase topic.
- Clip from Other Layers - The Clip command now allows clipping with objects in a different layer, and allows specifying the layer to clip with. The choice persists in the dialog for that same window. See the updated Clip topic Clip topic for examples.
- Split Other Layers - The Split command now allows specifying a different layer to split. The choice persists in the dialog for that same window. See the updated Split topic for examples.
- Split with New or Existing - The Split command can be used with a new or existing line or area, in addition to a path. Use existing objects to split, in the same layer or different layer, or draw a splitting line interactively with a path.
- Spatial Selections - The Select pane includes a new Spatial template for geometry values, that allows spatial selections to select objects which are adjacent to, contained by, are containing, are intersecting, or are touching records/objects from a different layer. Spatial selections can use either all objects or selected objects. The template always runs full parallel, using multiple threads.
- New LiDAR Dataport Features - The LAS and LAS Library dataports now automatically scale X, Y, and Z attribute fields based on the coordinate system used. LAS libraries automatically compute shifts and scales for the entire data set, and optimize opening files as their data is needed for even faster launch. LiDAR exports now always use the LAS 1.4 standard with automatic upgrades of prior LAS standard data.
- Automatic SQL from the Join Dialog - If you prefer running SQL to using point-and-click dialogs, the Join dialog now provides a one-click option to automatically write for you the update SQL that implements the Join as setup in the dialog, without actually doing the Join. That allows easy modification, for example, for custom aggregates and other processing, and to set up automated workflow when Joins are to be repeated, like every week for a newly updated data set.
- Query Functions for Missing Pixels - A new TileMaskRange query function automates handling of missing pixels in rasters by marking values inside or outside the given range as missing pixels, with an option to include or exclude boundary values. Tile functions for scalar and X2, X3, and X4 vector raster values have been updated with a parameter to include or exclude missing pixels from outputs.
- Numerous DBMS updates - Numerous updates add features in dataports for PostgreSQL, Jet DB, Jet XLS, Jet WKx, ADO.NET, MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, DB2, OLE DB and ODBC.
- Many Library Updates - Numerous updates add features in dataports for PostgreSQL, Jet DB, Jet XLS, Jet WKx, ADO.NET, MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, DB2, OLE DB and ODBC.
- Numerous DBMS updates - Key external libraries used by Manifold have been updated to provide better peformance, greater capabilities and minor fixes, including NVIDIA CUDA, ECW, Google WEBP, and SQLite, with ICU being reworked to use the Windows 10 ICU package whenever Manifold is run on Windows 10.
- Enhanced georeferencing error reports - Error values for individual control points in the Register pane are automatically translated into the units of measure used in the target coordinate system, like feet or meters or other units.
- Total Error RMS readout - The Register pane automatically reports total RMS error at the bottom of the pane for the proposed georeferencing.
- Dynamic snap options for placing control points - Enjoy the full roster of rich snapping capability when placing control points. Combined with the use of multi-layer targets, snapping to any vector layer in the map or to grids for any layer allows precise placement of control points even when the target layer doesn't have the visible features desired.
- Edit Path coordinates on the fly - When using the Path tool to split areas and lines or to make measurements, coordinates automatically appear in the Info pane coordinates list, allowing precise cutting with on the fly specification of coordinates for the cutting path.
- Limitless triangulation - Georeferencing using triangulation has always been a popular choice from the many georeferencing methods Manifold provides, but now is no longer limited to within the bounds of control points: Manifold's new triangulation method can georefernce an entire image, even when control points cover only part of the image. Super!
- Automatic layout updates - Print layouts make it easy to compose sophisticated presentations, using frames that can be populated from many maps with many layers. Layouts now automatically update when changing layers within maps, like adding or removing layers, reordering them, turning them off and on, and changing transparency.
- LiDAR data enhancements to LAS and LAZ - Manifold is a great tool for manipulating LiDAR data and then exporting to LAS and LAZ. New enhancments automatically embed coordinate system information into the LAS or LAZ file, and automatically use WKT or WKT2 with automatic conversion from other coordinate system specifications into WKT.
- Export data shortcut - A new, single-click Export Selected command makes it easy to export only selected records from tables. That's a great way to use point and click interactive Selection tools to refine a selection and then instantly export to popular formats like CSV, ESRI GDB, GPKG, JSON, LAS or LAZ, XLS, MDB, and others.
Build 173.4 adds spectacular new editing commands for interactive editing, making it even better as the fastest and easiest way to edit vector layers.
Create Areas and Lines with Automatic Clipping
The new Clip interactive editing command makes it easy to create areas that automatically follow boundaries of existing polygons, to create complex new areas. It's also easy to create new lines that are clipped to complex boundaries.
Suppose we would like to draw a single polygonal area that automatically fills in the regions between building footprint polygons in a neighborhood.
Choose Create Area and in the usual way draw a polygonal area that outlines the neighborhood. Right-click and choose Clip from the pop-up edit menu, and choose OK. Instantly, the provisional area outlines are automatically redrawn to follow the boundaries of building polygons within. We can further edit those if we like, or proceed with a single click to create the new area.
Commit the edit (a single click) and Manifold auto-completes the new polygonal area, with open regions that exactly fit the building polygons. We can Cut that new area and Paste it into a new layer to see it without the building polygons, to see the fantastic complexity of polygon we created in just a few seconds and a single Clip command click. The new area is perfectly aligned to the boundaries of the building polygons. Super!
High Speed, One Click Merge
The new Merge interactive editing command provides a super fast, one-click merge to combine areas or lines in place with sophisticated merging of attributes. Merge multiple area, line or point records into one. Merge pops open a dialog which allows switching between merging all objects or just selected objects (the default).Transfer rules are automatically remembered to make repetitive edits fast:
- (none) - Keep the value in the picked record, any field type.
- copy - Keep the value in the picked record if it is not NULL, otherwise use a first encountered non-NULL value from one of the merged records, any field type.
- minimum / maximum - Use the minimum or maximum value, any field type except binary.
- average / sum - Use the average value or the sum of all values, any numeric field type.
Fast and Easy Interactive Split
The new Split interactive editing command uses an interactive cutting line to split areas or lines into separate parts, producing new objects in place for each part and automatically splitting attributes as desired. Split pops open a dialog which allows switching between splitting all objects cut by the line or just selected objects (the default). You can also split using lines or areas in other layers.Transfer rules are automatically remembered to make repetitive edits fast:
- (none) - Use a NULL value, any field type.
- copy - Keep the original value, any field type
- split - Split the original value equally between parts, any numeric field type.
- split proportional - Split the original value between parts proportionally to their area (for areas) or length (for lines), any numeric field type.
New Interpolation Methods
The latest build introduces two major new interpolation methods, along with various enhancements to existing interpolation methods.
- Natural neighbors - A new spatial interpolation method originally developed by Roger Sibson. The method is based on Voronoi tessellation of a discrete set of spatial points. This has advantages over simpler methods of interpolation, such as nearest-neighbor interpolation, in that it provides a smoother approximation to the underlying "true" function. Manifold's implementation uses Sibson weights to match the approach taken in ESRI's multi-thousand dollar Spatial Analyst option.
- Thin-plate spline - A new interpolation method analogous to thin-plate spline algorithms used in georeferencing interpolation.
- Even more parallelization - All interpolation methods are fully parallel, with parallel SQL functions introduced to enable fully parallel SQL interpolation as well.
Wow! Lots of new videos to make it easy to learn and apply the wonderful new georeferencing capabilities in Manifold. See the Videos page for the full collection of Manifold videos.
5 Minute Tutorial - Editing with Clip - Spectacular new editing commands in Manifold Release 9 provide super easy, fast, and powerful interactive editing, the fastest and easiest way to edit vector layers in any data source.
The new Clip interactive editing command makes it easy to create areas that automatically follow boundaries of existing polygons, to create complex new areas. It's also easy to create new lines that are clipped to complex boundaries. See how in this short video.
Also see how to combine the Clip command with the new Merge editing command to edit polygons "in place" in whatever data source we want, including ESRI geodatabases, PostGIS, data sources, GPKG, shapefiles or any of hundreds of other data sources. Super! Works in the free Manifold Viewer too.
Newsflash - Merge, Clip, and Split - See a three minute, temporary video showing how to use fast and easy, new editing commands.
- Merge - Instantly combine multiple areas, lines, or points into a single area, line, or point with fast choice of how attributes should be merged.
- Clip - Create a new area or a new line and in the same step clip the area or line precisely to the boundaries of overlapping areas, either inside the overlapping areas or outside.
- Split - Draw a line and instantly split existing areas and lines, with fast choice of how to split attribute values.
Landsat data provides images in individual bands, such as Bands 4, 5, and 6, for visual red, near infrared and shortwave infrared. Creating large, multiband Landsat images using many Landsat tiles can involve combining dozens of individual band images.
Manifold Release 9 is perfect for the job, because it can handle many large rasters effortlessly, merging them instantly, and then combining bands into false color RGB multiband images. Manifold does all that with easy to use, point and click dialogs. No need for programming.
This fast-paced video shows how in under five minutes of workflow, including importing the original Landsat data downloaded from USGS. All this works in the free Manifold Viewer too.
5 Minute Tutorial - Scrape an ESRI Feature Server - Working with web-based ESRI feature servers? If you want your own copy all the vector features (points, polylines, polygons) those servers provide that's easy to do with Manifold Release 9.
This video shows how to connect to a typical ESRI feature server, how to drill down and open the feature layer desired, how to copy all the features and to paste them into the local project. It's all a simple matter of point and click, copy and paste. All this works in the free Manifold Viewer too.
5 Minute Tutorial - LAS Point Statistics by Area - Save thousands by using Manifold Release 9: The "LAS Point Statistics by Area" tool in Spatial Analyst for ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro adds attribute fields to polygon features for LiDAR points that fall within those polygons, adding the minimum, maximum, and mean Z values in each polygon, as well as the point count of LiDAR points in each polygon, and also the standard deviation of Z values in each polygon.
The video shows how to do the same thing in just a few clicks in Manifold's point-and-click Join dialog. No need to buy Spatial Analyst. Manifold includes the Join dialog and thousands of other capabilities, all for only $95. Save thousands of dollars and enjoy easier workflow too!Manifold also is much easier than using expensive products like LAStools, and costs far less in labor than writing your own code in Python, PDAL, or other lower level tools. All this works in the free Manifold Viewer too.
5 minute Tutorial - Georeference Many CAD Layers - Georeferencing CAD layers is a common task in any GIS. Manifold Release 9 makes it a lot easier with fast, simple workflow that avoids extra effort and lets us recycle what we've already done.
This video shows how we can add a few control points just once and then georeference an entire stack of CAD layers imported from a DWG without adding more control points or repeating any work. If the DWG contained a hundred layers we could do them all!
This is much easier than the complicated, more labor intensive procedures in ESRI or other GIS packages. All this works in the free Manifold Viewer too.
Georeference a Scanned Paper Map - In only five minutes of actual work we use Manifold Release 9 to georeference a 157 MB scanned paper map so it can be used as a layer in GIS. The scanned map is a historic map showing Davy Crockett National Forest in Texas, downloaded from the Library of Congress website.
Compare Manifold workflow to ESRI workflow and you'll agree it's a lot easier, quicker, and less confusing in Manifold. Fast GIS is fun GIS!
Georeference a Whole World Image - We see a map we like on a web site so we make a screenshot. How to use that map in GIS? Easy! We georeference it using Manifold. The video shows how to georeference an image scraped from the web that shows the geology of continents as they were 200 million years ago.
We mark four control points in the image, then we roughly mark four corresponding control in a Manifold map using Bing as a background layer. In the Register pane we edit the coordinates of those control points to be even +/- 90 and +/- 180 degrees, and then we press Register. Done!
The video also shows how we can import and georeference a second image similar to the first, without needing to add any control points, just re-cycling the ones we created before. Less work is great!
Previous What's New Pages: See the previous What's New page for prior news.
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