System Requirements

Hardware and Software

What You Need to Run Manifold Products

Hardware and software requirements vary considerably depending on the tasks undertaken. The following minimum configuration allows installation of Manifold for work with small components. Recommended configurations are noted in parentheses for work with anything other than small drawings.

  • 500Mhz PIII or greater true PC compatible (dual-core processor recommended).
  • 512 MB RAM (2 GB or greater recommended).
  • 800 x 600 SVGA Display (1280 x 1024 or greater recommended).
  • Gigabytes of hard disk free space (terabytes of free space recommended).
  • Windows 10 / Windows 8 / Windows Server 20xx - All Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows Server 20xx editions, both 64 bit and 32 bit, are supported in the current Manifold product download. Manifold guarantees compatibility with Windows 10, the best Windows edition yet!
  • Also supported: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7 with most recent service pack, either in standard 32-bit versions or in 64-bit x64 Windows versions.
  • Internet Explorer 6 or most recent IE version plus most recent service pack.
  • Microsoft's .NET Framework 4.0 or more recent.
  • IIS 5.1 or greater to operate Manifold IMS.
  • Radian Studio - Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable Update 3

Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0+

.NET is usually on most recent Windows system. If .NET is not yet installed, download .NET Framework from these Microsoft links:

Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable

Most modern systems will already have this installed. If not yet installed, download the Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable from this Microsoft link:

On 64-bit Windows system, install vc_redist.x64.exe (64-bit) and vc_redist.x86.exe (32-bit). On a 32-bit Windows system, install vc_redist.x86.exe (32-bit).

The above are Microsoft links. If Microsoft changes the links you may need to use a search engine to find the latest installation package.

Run Windows 10

Get Microsoft Windows today!

Users are strongly advised to utilize Windows 10 or, with older Windows editions, Windows 8, Windows Server 20xx, Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008. At some point, even Windows Vista may no longer be supported by Microsoft or by Manifold. Many users continue to run Manifold on Windows XP despite lack of support by Microsoft for XP, but that's risky and not something Manifold recommends or supports.

Manifold products are not supported for use in Macintosh or any other non-native PC environment using Windows emulators. Manifold products are only supported in true PC compatibles with direct access to the PC hardware not mediated by middleware such as virtual machine emulators, remote consoles, timesharing console servers, attempts to allow "floating" use of Manifold installed on one machine to be used by a variety of client machines and the like. If you want to use floating licenses, acquire a Manifold License Server license and use that.

Internet Recommended - Manifold products are delivered by download so you must have access to Internet to download the installation files, either to install them on the target computer or at least to be able to copy them to a USB drive or some other media to bring to the computer upon which they will be installed. Internet access will also be required to obtain activation keys for your serial number. This is more convenient and can be done automatically if the target computer is connected to Internet. Although Manifold does not require direct connection to Internet while operating, some features such as the use of Image Servers and Geocoding Servers will require Internet connectivity for operation.

Manifold Internet Map Server (IMS) - Manifold IMS is published for use in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 20xx, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2003 systems that have Internet Information Server installed. Although IMS can work in Windows systems with non-IIS HTTP servers that are capable of instantiating and using a COM object, only IIS is supported by tech support for developer support incidents. Please note that Manifold System Personal Edition does not include IMS. Only Manifold System Professional Edition and higher editions include IMS.

64-bit Requirements

You must have a 64-bit Manifold Serial Number and a 64-bit Manifold installtion to run in 64-bit mode on 64-bit x64 processors running 64-bit Windows editions. Manifold x64 is not supported for Itanium or other non-x64 bit architectures. To run Manifold in 64-bit mode you must do the following:

  • Use a 64-bit, x64 processor.
  • Use a 64-bit, x64 edition of Windows, such as Windows 10 x64, Windows 8 x64, Windows Server 20xx x64, Windows 7 x64, Windows Vista x64, Windows Server 2003 x64, Windows Server 2008 x64 or Windows XP x64.
  • Install the x64 edition of .NET Framework 4.0 or more recent.
  • Install an x64 edition of Manifold.
  • Activate the x64 edition of Manifold using an x64 Manifold serial number.

Manifold x64 serial numbers will enable Manifold installations to run in either 64-bit or 32-bit systems. However, if you use a Manifold 64-bit serial number to activate a 32-bit Manifold installation it will run in 32-bits only.

Recommended Hardware Configurations

Some suggestions when assembling a system:

  • Go 64-bit and run Windows 10 x64. 64-bit Windows is essential to gain reliability in large processes that 32-bit Windows editions do not have.
  • Run a multi-core processor. It is difficult not to buy a multi-core processor in modern times but the more cores the better. Quad or more core 64-bit processors now cost about the same as dual-core 64-bit. Intel's Core i7 is a nice multi-core processor as are various AMD multi-core processors.
  • When working with images, install at least a dual-core processor with at least 4 GB of RAM running Windows 10. This is excessive for small images but necessary for mid-sized images. Images are computationally intensive.
  • A fast graphics card must be installed when performing 3D rendering in terrain windows. NVIDIA®-based cards currently selling for under $50 will provide smooth motion even with large terrains. Manifold recommends cards using NVIDIA graphics processors. Download the latest drivers from the NVIDIA site for maximum performance.
  • Get an NVIDIA GPGPU-capable card using a Fermi GPU or more recent. Modern NVIDIA graphics cards use massively parallel architectures to provide supercomputer speed for rendering. GPGPU is a technology that enables applications to upload general computing tasks into those massively parallel processing architectures for fast computation. Manifold uses GPGPU for many functions with each new release using GPU more and more. Even if you do not utilize the functions that take advantage of GPGPU, you will still have a first-rate graphics card.
  • For very large tasks, such as intensive web server applications using IMS, consider investing in a multi-socket, multi-core machine. This gives you 16, 32 or more cores. Various processes within Manifold can use multiple processor cores, and the additional cores will offload other processes that would otherwise rob some processor performance from Manifold.
  • RAM is very inexpensive and can be used effectively with x64 Windows. Get 16 GB or more. RAM has become so inexpensive that most professional users will automatically install 24 GB and many will max out their motherboards with 32 GB or 48 GB of RAM.
  • Large disk drives are now cheap. Get lots of space - terabytes - to hold the maps and images you will download for free via Internet (get fast broadband Internet too so you can download lots of free data). Manifold reads zillions of formats so you will find a wealth of free GIS data on the web you can use.
  • A typical entry level system will use Windows 10 x64, 8 GB of RAM, a dual-core processor and have at least 500 GB of disk. Entry level systems will use one NVIDIA GPU card. Note that in modern times even entry level computers and small notebooks run 64-bit Windows.
  • A typical professional office system will use Windows 10 x64, 16 GB or more of RAM, a quad-core processor such as a Core i7 and at least 1 TB of disk, often with dual hard disks in a RAID mirror for redundancy. More advanced systems will use a more powerful NVIDIA GPGPU card and will often have dual cards.
  • A typical high end system will use Windows Server 20xx x64 or Windows 10 x64, 24 GB or more RAM, dual processors or a seriously multi-core single processor (think 8+ cores...) and multiple TB+ disks in RAID arrays. Systems intended for number crunching will often be equipped with multiple NVIDIA GPU cards such as three or even four high end cards. Large web applications for very many people will, of course, use server farms with multiple servers.

Memory Requirements for Large Projects

Manifold is designed for an era where RAM memory is cheap and personnel costs are high. Undo and many other user-friendly features require a lot of memory to implement. For best performance install as much RAM as possible and have plenty of free disk space for temporary files. RAM is so cheap in modern times it is "penny wise and pound foolish" not to load up your system with the maximum amount of RAM it can hold. This will help all your work go faster and not just Manifold. As always, keep in mind that to use more than 2GB of RAM effectively you must be running 64-bit Manifold as well as 64-bit Windows such as Windows 10 x64 or Windows Server 20xx x64.

User Requirements

Manifold is designed for people who are reasonably familiar with computers, Windows and Windows applications and who also have the maturity to know that learning a significant application that can do amazing, wonderful things will require study. Average intelligence is all you need, but what is more important than being smart is having the ability to learn by reading the documentation. As one long-time Manifold user put it, "Manifold is software for grown-ups."

A typical new user feels comfortable with Microsoft Office applications like Excel, Word and Access and often knows other applications such as PhotoShop as well. Although prior familiarity with GIS is helpful, what is more important is the ability to read documentation diligently in the recommended order. Most beginners who read documentation and work through examples as recommended by Manifold are comfortably productive at beginning levels in one or two days of attentive study. It doesn't take months or years of study but it does take at least a few days. Expertise builds rapidly with use.

Advanced work with Manifold, such as development of custom applications, use of enterprise databases or web programming, will of course also require expertise in the accessory technologies involved. This is usually straightforward for Windows people, since Manifold utilizes Microsoft standards whenever possible. This assures the accumulated wisdom of the Microsoft ecosystem as well as your existing expertise in standard Microsoft development environments like Visual Studio, or Microsoft web technologies like IIS, ASP and ASP .NET will be directly relevant to your advanced work with Manifold.

Although Manifold uses Windows style and Windows nomenclature to make it easier for most people, ordinary use of Manifold is fairly easy to learn even if your "home" enviornment is Mac or a UNIX derivative or other non-Windows system. You'll have to learn enough about Windows for routine administrative tasks like installing the software and so on but other than that learning Manifold will be straightforward if you can read the documentation in the recommended order.

Tips for Learning Manifold

The primary resource for learning Manifold System is the User Manual. It contains thousands of pages providing general introductions as well as numerous detailed topics, and hundreds of step-by-step examples and procedures. The user manual is built into Manifold System as Help, and it is also reprinted in web form. Manifold provides a vast array of capabilities for your benefit: that's good value for your money, but it does mean that getting aquainted with all that will take at least some effort invested into reading the documentation.

To save time it is essential to not skim Help topics but to actually read them attentively and to apply them with care. Folks who try to save time by neglecting the recommended reading will encounter unnecessary frustration and will end up taking longer to learn the product. The learning curve initially is very steep because there is lot of power and capability to Manifold but if you hang in there for the first day or so you'll find very quickly it all starts coming together. That first day or so of nearly vertical learning curve will long be forgotten when you have years of incredible power and convenience at your fingertips.

Surprisingly, you don't need to have prior GIS experience to do well with Manifold. Beginners who attentively read the documentation in the recommended order will learn faster and easier than GIS experts who refuse to read any documentation or who just skim. Of course, GIS experts who do read documentation as recommended will become even more productive at advanced tasks at a faster pace than beginners, because they already are familiar with common GIS concepts, such as knowing what a projection is and why projections are used.

The bottom line is the more you take advantage of resources that are there to help you, like the documentation, the easier it is to learn Manifold and the easier it will be to get done what you want with the least possible effort and the most enjoyment.

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Suggestions to improve Manifold are always welcome. Please see the Suggestions page for tips on making effective suggestions.


Click for larger image: Terrain elevations in Arizona colored on the fly with an elevation palette in a Radian Studio display, as seen in the Gallery page.

About Manifold

Manifold products deliver quality, performance and value in the world's most sophisticated, most modern and most powerful spatial engineering products. Total integration ensures unbeatably low cost of ownership.