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User Comments on Release 8
At manifold.net we're lucky to be an Internet company because all of our customers are online and can tell us what they think about our products. If you would like to comment, please send a note to email@example.com.
"Manifold is software for grown-ups."
Here are excerpts from recent email we've received as well as from various public postings on the web. To protect privacy, some postings have been edited with  brackets to remove the names of individual people. You can find those postings in their original threads by using a search engine to search for the text they contain.
"Attached is a short video I created for a friend. [Click on the image at right to see the video.] He is a retail geographer and he had about 7 Business Geography things he needed to do - classic Economic Geography model stuff (ring analysis, Morans Analysis, Huff Model of Retail Gravitation, Distance Matrices, Threshold Analysis, Spider Diagrams, etc).
From the time he presented the ideas to me, until the creation of this video, it took me about 3 hours to complete while I ate a turkey leg and watched the Thursday night game. That was it - 3 hours, and he has a complete prototype! Seriously, it was that easy to do. What would it cost to do this in ArcGIS, or MapInfo?
Now, as you look at the video, consider the benefit here:
- Fast, rapid prototyping
- Complete form-based application that works directly in Manifold
- No need to install .dlls or any other packages - just fire up Manifold 32-bit and it works.
Yes, I program in .NET too, but honestly, by the time I got things set up with VB.NET and compiled, I already have this application completed. And, I can send it to anyone to use, and not have to worry about him installing .dlls, putting files in some directory, etc. This Form creation stuff in Manifold 8 is like nothing else out there. How do you do this in ArcGIS (Arcpy gets you a little bit of the way there, but nothing like what I have here - not going to use Tkinter!)? How do you do it in QGIS, or anything else? There really isn't any other product that would allow you to write a form-based application so quickly and so easily. " (USA)Click on the image at top right to see the video about this application.
"Here's the reason I chose Manifold in 2004 and have stuck with it through updates and lack of updates until today. Well I picked it because it was cheap and I did not have big pockets buying software for me. With the help of Art Lembo's training videos, I became productive literally overnight and within a week had fairly complicated, multi-county maps with client information, competitor information, and research layers suitable for the client to show customers and investors.
In 2004 Manifold was the only GIS that worked with MS Office products and Adobe Acrobat Pro. For the same $295 sales price as today it worked within seconds out of the box (it actually came on a CD in a box). ArcView, as it was called at the time, came as a large stack of CDs and took 45 minutes or more to load plus more time to tweak to your computer. It needed add-ins to work with the various MS and Adobe products. If you wanted ArcView to work with Word, that was another $500 (on top of the $800 annual lease price). If you wanted it to work with Excel, that was another $1,600 and the same for Powerpoint and Acrobat. Years later ESRI rolled all these add-ins together to make ArcGIS at the low low price of $900 per year. So it took them years to get a product like Manifold in that regard.
On a related topic, since 2004 the Windows OS has changed from XP through Vista, 7, 8, and now 10. Every time that happens, the old Manifold continues to work with the new OS. Every time MS Office changes, the old Manifold continues to work with the latest release. However, with ESRI it can be months before they release software that works with the new OS or Office version.
I am not a coder. Manifold comes with pre coded queries and transforms that make me look like a genius in the office and around the community. I routinely do stuff that I would never attempt with a less friendly program. When I run into something I can't do, 9 times out of 10, someone has posted it here or identified the proper terminology in the manual for me to find it and get it done. I remember taking a job that the in-house ESRI team did not want to do. Working from a 1920s vintage map I created 60,000 parcels in a the subdivision and labeled them with original lot and block, ownership, and mineral lease information.
That took 3 days using the built in database tools. So yes, Manifold can do what ESRI can do and usually much easier." (Forum posting in late 2016)
"Manifold SQL is very fast. I have a Table with 36,961 records. My Query was simple, extract 4 digits for the year from a string making up YYYYMMDD and paste the YYYY into a new column. The Query finished it's work in a second or two, so fast, I had to check that it ran at all." (Forum posting)
"I went with the 64 bit Manifold on the Precision and it halved our processing time, its made a huge difference to our workflow. We're accomplishing vector geoprocessing tasks that took 8 days to complete in MapInfo in a couple of hours.... Very happy. The .NET object model is so easy too." (Forum posting)
"Another very satisfied government user here (New Zealand). Using Manifold I can do so many things that I can't in other packages. Now that I have built up a stock of map templates, themes, SQL and scripts, I am able to save our ratepayers even more through rapidly modification and reuse. EDIT: In 4 or so years of use I have never needed to use a support token due to the help of some very talented/helpful members of this forum. " (Forum posting) [Same thread]
"We had the same experience Dan, slicing and dicing in MapInfo involved the "do not touch notice" over the screen and a weekend, now done in hours. We have a Precision as well. Best taxpayers dollar I spent in a while. ( How's that! I get to spend my own tax dollars) I would have preferred a box built to order for a couple of thousand, but we lease, and I have no option. " (Forum posting) [Same thread]
"I've seen people complain about the manual, but I'd say its top notch. The introduction section is great for people getting into things, then the examples and tutorials have a lot in them. Its kind of good to find progs with large manuals, because it implies power and history, which usually implies stability too." (Forum posting)
"Just thought I’d email you to let you know that I really think you’ve put together a nice piece of software. Maybe I’m just dumb, but I could not make much progress with ESRI software a few years ago. I’ve read portions of your manual where needed, and I am able to get in and start working on my project without going to a $2500 training class. GIS stuff is complex if you have any feature set, so I don’t expect “intuitive” like a word processor, but it’s a heck of a lot easier to get going than other packages." (USA)
"You can easily create the types of maps you posted in Manifold. If you want to create surfaces (DEM) from point elevation data, you will need the surface tools extension. You might consider the Universal Edition of Manifold, though it is a bit more expensive, it includes all of the extensions, which with the exception ot the Geocoding extension, you will probably find some of the additional tools very useful.
The COGO tool in Manifold could be a bit better, but it's fairly simple and quite useful. Not having the ability to create true arcs/curves is one of the weakest points for using Manifold as a CAD replacement. But with a little creativity you can work around this most of the time.
As for digitizing/editing in Manifold, I find it very fast and usually prefer it over anything else I use. I really like the ability to turn snapping on and of with a tap on the spacebar, and there are hot keys to turn on/off all the editing tools (add vertex, delete vertex, trim, extend, etc.). This really saves time compared to right clicking for a context menu, or selecting a button with the mouse. Initially, I didn't like the clt+alt+click to select an item for editing, but I like it now because I don't accidentaly edit a feature with an inadvertant double click.
The two other GIS people in the office much prefer editing in Manifold as well. One comes from an AutoCAD background and the other from an ArcGIS background. So obviously as with any software, there those that like the workflow, and those that don't. But you can add three more people to the list of those that really like doing their work in Manifold. We recently used Manifold to digitize edge of roads for over 350 miles of roads, and over 250 miles of rivers (polygons - not centerlines). So it is definitely up to the task.
I have used Manifold for creating archaeological site maps, and it has worked very well. I've used it for everything from large multi-room, mutli-story structures to isolated occurances with no problems. But I haven't done anything as detailed as recording the shape of individual artifacts in situ (hense the test above). I think once you get your head wraped around Manifold you will be quite happy with it.If you do get Manifold, I highly recommend the you invest in one of the training videos from gisadvisor.com! They will get you up to speed in a hurry, and are well worth the cost!" (Forum posting) [From a thread on CAD and archaeological use of Manifold]
"Overall CAD is better for CAD but it cannot touch Manifold for data integration. I wanted to add data to some CAD projects and loaded DXFs into Manifold. Painful at first and then quick when I learned how. I discovered it was easier to make edits in Manifold than to go back and forth. Once I got used to it I could create new objects in Manifold faster. Attached is a drawing where the ship was done about half in CAD and half in Manifold. It is almost 200 layers in Manifold after only five CAD layers. Drawing archaeological objects would be simple. I know marine archaeologists who use it. Manifold is brilliant software." (Forum posting) [Same thread]
"First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for producing a low cost high value GIS. [Our company] is a large forestry consulting company located in 40 some odd offices [in many states]. As the GIS Coordinator/Developer/Analyst I have a myriad of responsibilities all of which support various internal businesses including: Land Management, Real Estate, Appraisal Services and Investment Services.
Our Existing GIS software (ESRI) has become increasingly difficult to develop in. It is expensive, requires extensive training, dedicated personnel and most importantly is not stable, making it very difficult and frustrating to create efficient and effective tools. The last two major projects we have developed are lacking functionality that prevented company wide adoption, as they did not make things easier just different.
In Manifold, I have found a software platform that will streamline operations and peer communication, increase productivity, reduce computer time and most importantly develop GIS tools specific to our industry, all the while greatly reducing software cost." (USA) [Company name and locations edited to assure customer privacy.]
"You're doing a great job with Manifold. Its the best GIS system I worked with. Interoperable and intuitive with a huge scripting potential." (Poland)
"I am enjoying using the software. Very cool from the perspective of a 20 year GIS professional who has worked with ESRI, MapInfo, Intergraph, AutoDesk, etc, etc.... Would love to see what it does in a 64 bit environment when we make that leap. Thanks so much for a great product." (USA)
"After having worked with Manifold for the last 6 months would like to thank and congratulate you on such an incredible program. It has been a pretty heavy journey, but without tuition, or any sort of instruction bar the user manual, have become familiar with GIS basics, and able to put together a pretty detailed catchment analysis using ground measurement and aerial photography. Very small things did take up to a day to work out, but now can cover large projects from scratch really quickly, building a presentable map which analyses and shows population dynamics on a temporal and spatial basis beyond anything I thought I would be able to. Will be grateful to the designers, and especially the team that wrote the manual, for providing such a dynamic and easy to use product." (email)
"Manifold is the only GIS I need. I've been using it since 5.0 and have no desire to switch. none. nada. no way. I've built alot of my business specifically around Manifold and plan on continuing to make a s[...]load of cash with it." (Forum posting)
"I may as well add to this Manifold fan-fest: I've relied on Manifold for everyday mapping and surveying tasks for many years, but I also find it well suited to many non-map tasks: as a stand alone database, a measurement tool and an analytical engine. An example is dendrochronology: mosaicing a series of microphotographs of a tree ring sequence along a radius, digitising the ring edges and analysing the ring width variation as a function of tree age. [Another user's] tracklines add-in, posted on this forum last year, is excellent for this purpose. The entire work flow is carried out within Manifold which is a real pleasure to work with. " (Forum posting)
"[...] another very satisfied user here. I have both ArcGIS9.3 and Manifold on my desktop at work, but after continually finding myself hamstrung by tools not being available at my particular licensing level in Arc, Manifold has become my GIS of choice. On the rare occasion Manifold fails me, I can't think of a single occasion where Arc has been able to bail me out with the same task." (Forum posting)
"After knowing for 10+ years that a GIS system would be fantastic in the real estate appraisal field (and being equally sure that ESRI products would not be cost effective for a one man show) I stumbled across Manifold, and studied it for a while before taking the plunge. I typically use it daily now, and am slowly gaining understanding of a few of the huge number of features. What surprises me is that once you think of a need, and spend a bit of time in the documentation (at first blush a daunting document) and the forum, the tool is there and readily learned and applied." (Forum posting)
"As I've said before, I'm [a] casual MS Word type user. I am an IT professional but I am not responsible for any cartography, IMS, or GIS at work.
My state (Florida) has two excellent websites (www.fgdl.org, and www.labins.org) where I pick data from the whole state and create maps. I can easily clip raster images. I can combine raster and vector layers and essentially create any map I need.
I am currently creating a map of a segment of the Santa Fe River for a canoe trip later in April. For this map I am using an image as the base (for some outputs), and then vector maps of roads and things. I also have a layer showing the Suwannee River Water Management Lands along the river. We have a permit from the WMD to camp on those lands for our canoe trip.
I just finished two maps for our January and February hikes. I have a shape file of the entire Florida Trail. I can combine this with raster and vector data from any area along the trail anywhere in the state. I can have images and line drawings on each map. I can easily place gps coordinates and their labels on the map. I can mark campsites, mile posts, rest stops, and water sources.
Hundreds of people have used my maps to get to campouts and canoe trips all over the state. My maps have nice legends, north arrows and scale bars thanks to Manifold. All of these can easily be sent to the printer, saved as .jpg or output as .pdf and emailed all over the place.
I have used TopoUSA and National Geographic TOPO but they are not flexible enough for my needs. There would be no way to add the SRWMD land boundaries to my map using those products. Google Earth and MS Streets and Trips are great to find things and take a look at the vicinity, but you can't make maps with them like you can with Manifold.
And all of that at a price that I can afford. What a deal." (Forum posting)
"I like it too. don't use GIS every day but since i started using Manifold I use it more often than before. Before i used Esri product, which i think quite frankly are not worth the money. Keep up the good work Manifold team!" (Forum posting)
"I enjoy it too. As a working exploration geologist, I have come to rely on Manifold as my "Swiss army knife". Nothing matters unless you can see it on a map. Manifold is my weapon of choice for getting data onto a map. It's easy to use and intuitive. If Manifold's strategy is to foster the use of desktop GIS in the workplace, it has done a fine job." (Forum posting)
"I have used Manifold on over a dozen engineering projects. It has paid for itself - learning curve included - many times over." (Forum posting)
"We have been using Manifold since 5 version. It is good, cheap and can be easily learned. We have made a whole disaster risk and vulnerability atlas from it and publishing over 200 maps over IMS for our state client. We have stopped using the ESRI suites long back since newcomers can learn Manifold in few days, thanks to [GISadvisor.com] Videos." (Forum posting)
"GIS work can be fun but only if the software doesn't frustrate you to pieces. Manifold delivers in so many ways but what makes it so enjoyable to use is their focus on providing an integrated product that crosses into other disciplines. While they have a ways to go in that regard, I believe that goal forces them to constantly think about how all the tools fit together and the underlying infrastructure. The result is when a task comes along, I look to Manifold first. " (Forum posting)
"I think Manifold is a great GIS toolbox for beginner to advanced user. It have an unbeatable price/value ratio. Like others, it saves me thousand of $ because it saves me from buying overpriced extensions from ESRI or upgrade to ArcEditor and buy ArcIMS.
As the time goes, I switch more and more task from ArcView to Manifold. It is really easy to learn programming with it and this is the way to get the more ROI from Manifold for me.
Finally, upgrades are cheap and provides many new wanted features and speed. This is the opposite of ESRI products. And Manifold team is really concerned by user request I think. Long life to Manifold :-)" (Forum posting)
"I've been using Manifold for 5 years and continually learn new things it can do. It is a very impressive product. I use it at work, I have taught with it at the local community college, and purchased a license for myself to work with it at home. Many of my students found using Manifold much more enjoyable (fun) than other products they had used. :-)
At work, and at home, I have ArcGIS, but I use Manifold most of the time simply because it's so much easier to work with, and vector editing with background images is SOOO much faster (of course ArcView 3x is faster than ArcGIS too)." (Forum posting)
"Well I've been using Manifold since version 4.5 in 2000. I think that since then is was a better choice for vector analysis than most any other software.
Since version 5.00 is has been the only GIS I have used for consulting, in almost 9 years of use i've spent less than $1000 in GIS software. I can't say how much I have saved but it is the thousands magnitude.
Teaching GIS using Manifold instead of ESRI ARC... is more fun, and quicker for both the teacher and students.
Having beta tested for a short while (i am not one now) I can say that the Manifold development team are very hardworking and can be taken very serioulsy in every aspect, from support to strategic development. From what I have read, the CUDA emphasis in the next version is going to be a big step for GISkind, and will be the stepping stone for bigger and greater things. And if past experience is to be taken seriously (and there is no reason not to) Manifold 9 will be an awesome and possibly peerless product.
This forum provides a better tech-support response time (while not being the official tech support vehicle for Manifold) than most tech support from other companies while maintaing a very open environment for all to opine, which is almost unheard of in other industry sponsored sites." (Forum posting)
"Just wanted to drop in my 2 cents worth on this thread because Manifold has allowed me to do things that otherwise would not have been possible. Since venturing out on my own, I haven't had the luxury of a large corporate budget behind me to continue to afford competing products. But cost aside, this forum has also provided me with the occasional point in the right direction, which has also been invaluable, since I no longer have a large corporate IT department that I can bother. Both have allowed me to do some pretty amazing things on my own in the world of political consulting." (Forum posting)
"Manifold is key in helping us get a new £1,000,000 waste management contract out the door servicing 35,000 households and that's just one of the miriad of tasks that we use it for, but as [...] notes, most people are too busy being productive with Manifold to post here on how useful it is!!" (Forum posting)
"I bought Manifold for my rivercare work, but since have used it in just about every job I undertake in my 'real job' - surveying. It does much much more than my needs but I wouldn't be without it. The cost was the deciding factor and I am amazed they keep can it so low. My surveying software cost heaps more so I applaud the Manifold team for the efforts in making this so affordable. 2 bobs worth from DownUnder" (Forum posting)
"Well, the happy users are so busy getting on with being productive curtosy of Manifold that they have no time to post :-). I've used Manifold for 9 months or so and I am very pleased with the software and this forum. I'm constantly impressed about how well -designed Manifold is - it just lets you get on with stuff without getting in the way.
Bad analogy time: I think a lot of the "complaints" on this forum are like people who have driven a 1970's car grumbling because they have a new car which doesn't have a window winder and they want fresh air. They haven't figured out that the new car has electric windows, which work faster and with less effort and that there's now this thing called "air conditioning", which is a totally new way of getting fresh air...
Whenever I've got stuck with Manifold, I've asked the forum, got a reply which helps and I've learned something. Several times I have found things "clunky" (e.g. getting info on a feature), but then discovered I was using the software wrong (double click gives you the attributes...)." (Forum posting)
"Fantastic, I have been using Manifold for a few years not for various things, and I love it! I especially find the user community great assistance to what are usually problems with my lack of understanding and knowledge.......There's certainly nothing it can't do as far as I'm concerned. Another happy customer." (Forum posting)
"I've been a Manifold user for just over a year. Although I'm perilously close to using my 5 activations (two hard drive failures and a switch of machines), I think the cost of Manifold is well worth its contribution to my cartography.
I use Manifold to compile and edit data and produce an Adobe Illustrator file that I edit before sending out for printing.
Recently, I had my first experience with Manifold's raster capabilities: reprojecting terrain data and then assigning colors to elevations to end up with a workable color terrain image. I especially appreciated the fact that in exporting the layout (including the terrain image layer) to Illustrator, the terrain and hydrography were perfectly registered. Editing the image in Photoshop to globally lighten it was all the non-Manifold work required to produce a terrain image that resulted in a very pleased client.
Manifold has saved me the cost of purchasing a separate software product for reprojecting and color-editing terrain data. I appreciate that!" (Forum posting)
"I should mention that why I appreciated the registration of the terrain image to river--something most Manifold users would take for granted--is that my old workflow forced me to resize the terrain image manually and move it around until it fit the hydrography while in Adobe Illustrator.
In that workflow, I would use one of various terrain image generators and then bring the resulting image into Illustrator where I would manually scale it to fit the hydrography. That scaling amount would then be applied to the image in Photoshop; after saving the newly rescale image, I would bring that back into Illustrator to serve as the final, registered terrain background to the map.
Manifold offered an improved workflow for me. The main improvement was that Manifold cropped the terrain image to the boundaries of my layout. (I usually set up my layout's printing size to the publication size of the map or to a multiple of it.) This meant that the terrain image, when exported as an image that I could color-edit in Photoshop could be imported into Illustrator at the dimensions of the layout and that it would automatically register with the rest of the cartography. Very nice job, Manifold." (Forum posting)
"In the spirit of my original post, I find it ironic that as much as I wish Manifold's interface resembled that of Adobe Illustrator (my drawing and editing habits are grounded in Illustrator), Manifold has Illustrator beat on a couple things.
One is the Back and Forward switch-view functions. That is so imperative for cartographers. Zooming in to edit a detail and then returning to where you were to continue editing or moving in an orderly way through the map to review it. Illustrator needs a back and forward in its View menu.
Another is the auto-coloring of areas. When I have a bunch of city areas on the map, I can fill them with color based on their Name attribute. I don't seem to have the same colors appearing side-by-side. Maybe that's coincidence due to the large number of colors available in one of Manifold's many color libraries. Or maybe Manifold intentionally avoids parking the similar colors on adjacent areas. I wish Illustrator's Live Color could do that.
And speaking of forum help, I've learned a lot here. Editing table data has made a positive difference for me. I used to rely on FileMaker Pro to concatenate data fields to join street name and street type. The Forum showed me how to do that in Manifold. And it also showed me how to turn all-caps into title case without resorting to copy-paste in another software package.
Kudos to Manifold. (Doesn't mean I don't have wishes--creating path-type objects on export to Illustrator is my biggest wish. But I've sort of circumvented that need by creating over-simplified straight lines in Manifold and then using that layer as the basis for creating labels.)" (Forum posting)
"Also, for anyone new to Manifold, I always point out one aspect of Manifold that sets it apart from virtually all other software I've used: The help menu is actually helpful. All help menus should be this good. " (Forum posting)
"I have to say the more I use Manifold and become familiar with it the more I like it. I am so pleased with how stable the software is. I have not had a single crash since I started using Manifold back in May. ArcView crashes on me at least 2 or 3 times a day! I have been doing a lot of editing that involves dissolving polygons and when I attempted to Merge polygons in ArcView my DBF file was constantly corrupting and losing records and not combining others. Manifold has sailed through this process. I am really happy I chose Manifold!! And thanks for all the help, this is a great GIS community!" (Forum posting)
"As a matter of disclosure, I am an engineer (consulting), I have be using GIS since '91 and have completed comprehensive modelling projects for a variety of public and private sector clients. I have used ArcView (I still have a soft spot for 3.2) and ArcGIS 8.x - 9.2. I started with Manifold in '06 and use it for 95% of my GIS work (heavily weighted to analysis).
I got a new PC last year.......Quad Core, 8GB ram, Quaddro 1700 video card (they made me, as I would have prefered a gaming based card because it was less expensive) Vista 64 business ---the system priced out around $2700cdn, although I spec'ed one very similar for $1900cdn at the time -- supplier/IT issue. I am running Manifold 64-bit as well as a host of other software, none of which is 64 bit (AutoCAD, civil3D, various hyrologic and hydraulic modeling programs, plus the standard spread of office apps).
To put it bluntly......you do not look back. The increase in speed not only noticeable, it is incredible. I attribute this to the 64bit OS and the RAM. To state that you do (or will) not use more than 30% of available RAM is erroneous, to put it mildly. Large files (especially surfaces) requires the power. More noticeably, if you run multiple instances of a program, or multiple programs, you use the RAM.
I notice this, because others in the office got very similar hardware, except they have 4GB RAM and a 32-bit OS (don't ask). The same files (and they are not large) crawl compared to one with RAM and the OS.
In my opinion, the additional money invested in a system pays for itself in under a month in time saved. With inferior hardware and OS, you are constantly in a "cluch 'n grab" mode...... give me a break.
Manifold is not the be all and end all, and contains its share of piss-you offs, but all things considered, it it is an excellent piece of software. Factor in the price......yada yada yada
In short, believe the hype. If you have not used 64 bit with ample RAM, don't critique it until you do." (Forum posting)
"...I am just finishing performance tuning a US Cellular mobile phone company's coverage data stored in Oracle. I developed a bunch of techniques for coordinate thinning, gridding and tiling in Manifold that required a chunk of Manifold code cutting. The customer has FME (as I) and Manifold and, in the end, we used Manifold for all the data preparation. Needless to say that I was, in the end, very impressed with Manifold's speed, power and flexibility. I put a bunch of recommendations to the customer and they look like taking on board all I recommended. I normally don't do much Manifold work except loading/visualising Oracle data - or SQL Server 2008 Katmai - as PL/SQL and Oracle is the tool I use each and every day. But when I do go to Manifold I continue to love using my SQL skills in the product." (Australia)
"Coming from an organisation where we had manifold I was kind of happy to find the new office had mapinfo, but after a little over a year I’m missing manifold. mapinfo’s just shockingly bad, even after upgrading to MI professional v9: labelling, exporting, layer control, tools, intuitive GUI, in fact having functions available through the GUI at all, manifold wins all round. I didn’t like the over zealous way the manifold help files were written and I reckon your marketing dept could use a decent graphic designer, but other than that you deserve hands down victory." (UK)
"FWIW I really like SQL 2008 and Manifold together. For all the chatter on the forums about 'cartographic capabilities', the Manifold & SQL 2008 together enable me to do things I could not even dream of 5 years ago! Of course then, I only dreamed of something to replace ArcView. Yes, I would like better labeling, but there has been an explosion in the amount of GIS data available which, in my opinion, is just beginning and that means we need the tools to work with it. Leveraging the Enterprise databases that are already in place helps us immensely. Thanks!" (USA) [Referring to Manifold's direct support for SQL Server 2008 Spatial]
"You've been astonishingly helpful — indeed I was so astonished by the offer in the final paragraph of your last message that I've been using it as an example when talking to colleagues "on the cusp" of adding Manifold to their suite of tools. It's not hard to show people how Manifold can make their life easier; in my limited experience the "instant convert" quickly finds a list of things they never want to do in Arc* again." (USA) [From a thread exploring a bug report with tech support]
"I am a new Manifold user who tried ESRI ArcGIS (9.2) for several months and in the end got tired of issues (such as out of memory errors when trying to export subsections of an ECW file) to try and create images for background use in traffic modeling software. I came across a reference to manifold through googling the ESRI error messages, and when I discovered it was within my budget, I bought it. Am very happy with it so far. If I cannot find a solution to a problem in the help files, I always find it here." (Forum posting)
"I'm sure this has been commented upon before, but I'm amazed at Manifold's speed in bringing out fixes. I sent a mail to tech on 17th April regarding a bug exporting data to Oracle 9i and low and behold the fix appears in a release a few days later on the 26th!! Keep up the good work Manifold. " (Forum posting)
"Thank you manifold, you guys are a true blue bunch of GIS legends, and I have told many of my colleagues down under about the virtues of your product." (Australia)
"Having eagerly awaited delivery of my new 64bit machine (running XP Pro 64bit, 6Gb Ram and an Nvidia Quadro FX 4600 video card) I'm amazed at the CUDA performance. The first thing I did with the machine was install Manifold Ultimate 64 bit edition. Following the example in the Manifold help, I loaded one of my own surfaces and performed a transform on it. With Manifold using CUDA facilities on the video card, the process took 33 seconds. With CUDA switched off, the process took just under 20 minutes!!!" (Forum posting)
"Yes, at Manifold they "plant trees" very well. I might add, that the trees are also very strong, powerfull, and very seldom crash. :-) The people at Manifold are focused on making the product, and making it better. They put very very very few resources into sales to new customers. They let their satisfied users sell the product.
I've been using Manifold 4 years, and haven't used a tech support token yet. Manifold is very stable, and quite a work horse to boot. I suggest that you purchase a copy, and get one of the training videos from GIS Advisor. The only way to know if Manifold will really meet your needs is to give it a test drive. You can always get a refund (within 30 days) if you are not satisfied with it.
We currently have 7 licenses where I work (and will purchase 2-3 more in the next month or so), and I have a personal license at home. Thare are many, many things that Manifold does extremely well, but there are also a few that need improvement. You really need to test drive it to know if the weak points are deal breakers, or if the many strong points will offset the few weak points. Manifold is an extremely good GIS software, don't let the low price fool you. Good luck!" (Forum posting)
"I see that V8.0.6 was released yesterday and the problem referenced above is now fixed. The total turn-around time for this process was 3 days! I realize that the timing of the report probably resulted in this extremely fast fix. I expect that Manifold had accumulated a number of items and had decided to release the update - my input came late in this process. None-the-less, I have found Manifold amazingly responsive in this area.
I used MapInfo for about 10 years. Two confirmed bugs, both of which I considered to be serious, were reported in V4 and remained in the product at V7.5 when I stopped using it. Manifold's approach is always based upon excellence - they simply want problems fixed and they get the job done asap. A great company with a fine product!" (Forum posting) Editor's note: MapInfo is a competitor's GIS product.
"From my tests, GeoServer using PostGIS to store it's data outperforms Manifold backed with MAP files or PostGIS. I'm sure as Manifold matures this will get better. I'd really like to see some improvements on the enterprise DB side as far as connection pooling / multiple simultaneous queries to pull in data. On a side note, I'm really pleased Manifold decided to add PostGIS support. Being that Manifold is a low-cost alternative to ESRI products, it makes sense that it would support a low-cost database. As much as we'd all love to be able to run SQL server, the $5k/CPU license cost is highly prohibitive.
All that said, the ability to quickly develop and roll out new Maps far outweighs our need for tiled mapping or extremely high performance right now. This is where Manifold really shines. I love the fact that we can drop a newly developed MAP file out on a server and it just works without modification and looks EXACTLY the same as it does in the client program. Using the same drawing components on the client and server = brilliant." (Forum posting) Editor's note: This is from a thread about using Manifold IMS as a tiled server to OpenLayers for large data sets. This is a new and different approach from the usual HTML application of IMS products. The recommended improvements are underway!
"These guys are good ... I reported the issue yesterday, they reproduced all three issues mentioned in my previous post, two are already fixed and the other is being worked on! This is great service, keep up the good work Manifold :-) " (Forum posting)
"Hot dawg! All clear here too. Thanks to the Manifold team for prevailing on a tough bug that they couldn't replicate for quite awhile and to release it as an update right away. Dedication to fixing bugs, releasing updates, and the quick install process are all great additional aspects of Manifold and much appreciated." (Forum posting) Editor's note: routine updates are free for Manifold licensees - no maintenance fee required.
"This is the exact reason that I use Manifold, I don’t have the funding to even think about a full blown ESRI GIS solution. We NEED GIS, but we can’t afford to go with a full ESRI implementation. It would easily cost more than the $22,000 mentioned to do the ESRI implementation we need. Sure, there are things that we could do with ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server that we can’t do with Manifold, but there are also things that we can do with Manifold that can’t be done with ESRI.
The bottom line here is that Manifold serves the needs of our users that are currently using it, at a fraction of the cost to do the same thing with ESRI. I currently have some internal IMS sites that meet the needs of many employees (with more planned once I get the new dual quad core processor, 24GB RAM, 64bit server up and running), and a pilot project with Manifold running on 4 desktops with some very basic application specific customizations to the standard Manifold GUI interface. The people involved in the pilot project love Manifold, and it is exceeding their expactations (not GIS people, 3 are engineers, and one is a planner). My software investment for the IMS, and the pilot project was less than $2,000. " (Forum posting on the James Fee Blog)
"Before I used Manifold, I used Arc/Info, Atlas DOS, Atlas Windows, Arcview, Mapinfo, and Maptitude. Before that I had a couple of Fortran programmers meeting my mapping needs. Oh, and I was a beta tester for Autodesk World a long time ago, I almost forgot about that.
Learning Manifold was no problem. I've probably only uncovered 1 percent of what it can do, but it's the right 1 percent for my needs. Read the docs and give it a week or two. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to pick up and how powerful it is." (Forum posting)
"I've used other GIS packages before I used Manifold. I would say that things are different, yes, but more intuitive than it's competitors. In training other "beginner" users on manifold, I have found they pick it up very quickly. Within about a week or so of regular use, they were very comfortable with it, and surprising themselves at how easy it was to perform certain functions compared to it's competitors.
My personal opinion is that manifold has made some previously cumbersome traditional GIS tasks much easier, and work "the way they should". Scripting and spatial query-writing are among it's most powerful, not to mention the vast array of built-in functions that would otherwise take hours to script. Also, the IMS functionality is built in so it's easy to make an interactive web mapping application." (Forum posting)
"I am currently using your Universal Version of Manifold and also, a runtime engine for a webserver. I love the program, it does way more than ESRI. I even have an ArcInfo license and it does more than that!!!" (USA)
"You have a great product. I often got frustrated with it in the beginning [especially the installation process] but now I feel that you have an AWESOME product." (USA)
"I've recently started creating views of subsets of my data in the SQL Server Mgmt Studio and realized that if I select the geometry field as well, than I can define that view (using the Administrator Console) as a drawing and link it as such. Just wanted to say good work Manifold! This is extremely handy!" (Forum posting)
"I am one of many lucky people who purchased Manifold GIS to switch over from ArcView/ArcGIS. Thank you very much for designing an excellent product." (Australia)
"[Our partner] trained 15 or so people in India recently and it went extremely well. Many were GIS virgins and came away amazed at the possibilities. He reported [Manifold] to be very easy to teach and for new users to learn." (India) [Editor's Note: A good trainer can get people up to speed in Manifold very quickly.]
"Good job on Version 8 - the speed increase in loading files and screen refreshes is huge and very much appreciated." (USA)
"For very poor municipalities here in Honduras, Central America. Manifold was answer in order to have a real commercial GIS at low price at hand. They have planned expend $5,500.00 in a license of ArcView + Autocad. Manifold is just $500.00, the other $5K has been used in GPS, computers, and training. This municipalities has an annual income of $45,000.00 (very poor municipalities).
We work with 21 municipalities, one of this municipalities has increase this taxes from $45k to $421,000 in the initial phase of the project. Making [their] first cadastral map with 6 persons, 3.2k parcels, six month of work. Manifold as a low cost way to "see" what happened in [their] land for first time in [their] life!!!!" (Forum postings)
"I am a huge fan of Manifold working under 64 bits. Using my 32 bit laptop (2 gb RAM) I could only include about 7 or 8 counties before the drive time routine would just run out of memory. With my 64 bit desktop and 16 gb of RAM, I can include our whole state of approx. 150 counties, the drive time and other tools run without a hitch and much faster. If you don't have a 64 bit computer with lots of RAM, you may find you will have to cut your data up into smaller blocks to keep it workable. Quite a pain, cause I had to do it too before the miracle of 64 bit." (Forum posting)
"Some time ago I asked for assistance in selection of hardware and software to support Manifold 8.00 x64. We have completed the recommended builds, and I would like to thank the forum for its input and technical assistance. Our new workstations came in at just under $4000 CDN funds each and the server was somewhat more at just over $5000.
When compared to the original dual core units that we operated the new Quad cores are, dare I say blisteringly fast. Our production work timelines have improved and our profits have almost paid for the new work stations, not bad for the second week with our new equipment, and of course the new and improved Manifold 8.00! So I am figuring the upgrade to x64 was well worth the price." (Forum posting) [Editor's Note: These are exceptionally powerful machines. Good to see Manifold x64 can make full use of them!]
"I have version 8 installed and working fine. Once the files are saved in version 8 ...they really open and works fast!" (Argentina)
"My company (in Western Australia) has gone from one copy of Arcview 3, to 8.1, then discovered manifold several years ago and now have 10 copies of that, for about the price of one copy of arcview.
The way to do things in Manifold is quite different to arcview, but reading the manual allows you to learn quite quickly. Generally most of the things you need scripts to do in arcview can be done through the user interface in Manifold. Manifold aims to give the functionality of the arcinfo/arceditor end of esri's product range, not arcview.
You get a couple of free tech support incidents with every manifold licence. We have 20 unused ones as in over 3 years of using Manifold I haven't had reason to use one yet, this forum has always produced answers very quickly.
Import/export capability seems to be better than arc, although I wish it would open surpac files, and autocad has to be saved back to the 2000 version. There is also a bit of a quirk to do with local offsets of projections when exporting which is not a problem once you understand it but seems to catch most people out the first few times.
It only took a couple of weeks of using Manifold for me to not want to go back to arcview. So many things are done so much more easily, plus manifold very rarely crashes." (Forum posting)
"I am a consultant in Far North Queensland and have been using Manifold for 4 years after using Arc 3.x to Arc 8.3. Manifold can handle all local datasets (ie. importing and exporting) that I have tried and is more reliable and productive. Generally you don't need the bucket full of scripts that you need with Arc. However as Manifold has no wizards, it can sometimes take a lot of time to work out how to do things using the built in tools. Most process involve working out a sequence of several steps." (Forum posting)
"I've fallen in love with Manifold. (And I used to say that about MapInfo!)" (USA)
"Many thanks for M8. While I am not yet using databases (that time is fast approaching) there are numerous improvements and fixes that have made life more efficient for me 'at the daily coal face'" (Australia)
"Version 8 is fast!" (Forum posting)
"I have to add to this subject. I just upgraded about 15 minutes ago and in terms of speed I am absolutely blown away. I often work with over 200K point datasets and with 7x and prior it could be slow loading from Oracle and when moving around the screen. Version 8 is dramatic in comparison. What used to take up to a minute has now been reduced to 10 seconds. Saving and loading of components is also dramatically improved.
Fantastic - by far and away the best upgrade yet!
Keep up the great work (you have made me a happy man and now I can leave the office that much earlier :) )" (Forum posting)
"I too am very impressed with the speed. I can zip around a very large linked ecw (granted always pretty fast) with a ton of detailed contour data, various drawings, a large surface etc with total ease. I really love the progressive rendering." (Forum posting)
"One more time, Manifold beat ESRI.
In fact, to keep the right to receive the ESRI updates (from 9.1 to 9.2 for example) anybody must pay nearly 1000$ / year (for a software that worth 2400$!) And new functionnality are always reserved for the most expensive version (ArcInfo) when they are released (for example: the last cartographic improvement in 9.2).
At the same time, Manifold deliver major upgrade from 7.x to 8 for 50$!
That's the kind of business I like! Congratulations!." (Forum posting)
"Of course the speed has increased impressively. Thanks to new version I can open large SRTM layers in fraction of a second." (Forum posting)
"I've just upgraded to 8.0 and have to say I'm really impressed with speed improvements in the rendering engine. I keep a land parcel dataset in Oracle consisting of 40,000 polygons. After importing this data into a project, it now renders very very quickly and is a massive improvement on 7.0. I also like the fact that you can carry on zooming in even before the whole drawing has finished rendering. " (Forum posting)
"I realize I am pretty late to the party here, since I've just now started playing with UI scripting. It's been less than a few hours and I'm already hooked. I just wrote a script for one of my projects that takes a rectangle and then imports all of my database-stored drawings using AOI windowing (with that single source rectangle as the bounding box). Holy ****. How did we ever survive without this?" (USA, beta tester Forum posting)
"It's amazing isn't it? All of a sudden those "impossible or too complicated to script" projects become do-able." (Australia, beta tester Forum posting on UI scripting)
"The speed improvements in image and surface handling are awesome!" (Canada)
"I am currently creating slope maps over a large area, so the new progressive rendering is making a MASSIVE difference to the speed I can create these maps, and the amount of components I have to have. I couldn’t go back anymore." (Australia)
"Speed is tremendous. I'm loving it already." (USA)
"The rendering is truly impressive! I tried it out on a drawing that always gave me a lot of trouble- no more :-)" (Australia)
"8 is gr8 m8!" (Canada)
"BTW, RenderFormatJPEG increases the speed twofold on my application for some scenarios." (USA, referring to 2x IMS speedup using a new rendering mode)
"...the progressive rendering was a godsend and it worked as advertised. The most useful piece of this new feature is being able to zoom in and out during the rendering. This lets me quickly zoom into an area of interest without having to wait for the entire drawing to render. Sweet! This is a huge productivity boost..." (USA)
"I love the rendering advancements in version 8. What a difference." (New Zealand)
Suggestions to improve Manifold are always welcome. Please see the Suggestions page for tips on making effective suggestions.
"Is there anyplace else in the computer world where such clear, comprehensive help gets written so fast and well? Wonderful! - Manifold user