August 29, 2023

Resurrecting Deleted Vector Features in Global Mapper

Written by: Amanda Lind


Part of what makes Global Mapper such a user-friendly tool for data editing, analysis, and more is how it handles deleted features. From the Undo Manager to the independent workspace, deleted features are not always gone. In a simple way that almost feels like magic when you encounter it in a time of need, vector features are stored in the workspace and can be resurrected under the right circumstances. Once a file is loaded into the workspace as a layer, the original file saved on your computer isn’t touched again. Any and all edits made to the layer are saved to the workspace, leaving your original file safe as a backup or reference. Let’s take a look at a few of the different ways we can resurrect, or “undelete”, deleted features in Global Mapper. 

Please note that these only work if you’re in the original workspace from which the data was deleted, as the deleted features are saved to the workspace. This especially applies to exports as exported files will not contain any deleted, filtered, or cropped data.

Resurrecting Deleted Features from the Workspace

There are many methods for deleting features in Global Mapper: cropping, spatial operations tool, the delete key on your keyboard, etc., but regardless, they are saved in the workspace. Deleted features can be visualized for reference, to be seen but still excluded from analysis, or brought back to full functionality. 

To visualize deleted features in Global Mapper, right-click in the workspace and choose Render Deleted Features (Ctrl + Shift + D) from the options menu. This process doesn’t bring features back from the dead but it displays them for a quick comparison. They will appear as pale ghosts or crossed-out points in the background of their original layer.

Visual comparison of deleted and undeleted features.
When visualized, deleted features will display as grey polygons, crossed-out points, or grey dotted lines.

Deleting in Global Mapper does not completely erase the features; it simply marks them as deleted and removes them from view unless enabled. The number of deleted features in a layer can be seen in the Control Center. Undeleting these features resets this count. 

To ‘Undelete’ features, first visualize them so they appear in the workspace. Next, select the ghost/deleted features with the digitizer tool, right-click anywhere in the workspace, then select Undelete (Shift + Delete).

Undelete in Global Mappers digitizer menu
Selected the deleted features to enable the Undelete option in the right-click menu.

Tip: Would you like to temporarily delete features? Lidar has a display filter tool built specifically for disabling the render of features based on an attribute, but vector features are too broad to fit such a functionality. Instead, it’s possible to copy and paste selected features into a new layer just as easily as a file on your machine. Select the features, press Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V, and then you will be prompted to choose a destination layer for the data. Delete your original data and know that the moved features are safe and sound in their own layer. 

Other Potential Methods of Data Necromancy 

Reload the Original File 

As mentioned previously, once data has been loaded into the workspace, the original data file is never altered by Global Mapper unless it is overwritten. So, reimporting the original data is also an option. The data will load as a separate layer. Features can be copied and pasted between layers to repopulate any missing features. For a more automated method of finding features present in one layer but not another, take a look at Predicate Queries in the Spatial Operations tool

The Undo Function 

Were the features deleted recently? That, as well as most other operations in Global Mapper, can be undone using the undo functionality Ctrl + Z. The Undo Manager can be opened from the Edit menu. This dialog contains a list of actions you’ve recently done that can be undone and lets you choose which actions can be mapped. Do note that the Undo manager will be reset when the workspace is closed, and all functions will be lost. More information on undo can be found in the blog Just pretend that didn’t happen – Undo your work in Global Mapper. Also, try the redo function Ctrl + Y, which lets you undo your undo. 

Global Mapper is backed with attribute and vector editing tools. Try Global Mapper for yourself with a free 14-day trial today! If you have any questions, please contact us!

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