February 27, 2024

What’s new in Global Mapper SDK v25.1

Written by: Amanda Lind


Global Mapper is well known as an all-in-one GIS software. Developers can take the program further with the Global Mapper Software Development Kits (SDK). The Global Mapper and Global Mapper Pro SDKs open the engine behind Global Mapper to developers, allowing them to include functionality from the program in their own tools and to create custom toolbars and extensions for installed versions of Global Mapper.

The Biannual updates to the desktop version of Global Mapper v25.1 have been brought into the SDK. The new Global Mapper and Global Mapper Pro software development kits provide multiple updates for program developers, including a reduced SDK installation size requirement, and an increased precision of generated contours when saved directly to GMP for high-resolution contours. As always, the full list of new features and bug fixes is included in the v25.1 SDK Knowledge Base

GNNS Device Support over TCP and UDP 

For collecting data on-the-go, Global Mapper is able to record location data from connected GPS and GNSS units. Until recently, the connection type has been limited to Bluetooth. Connecting to external devices via Bluetooth is reliable but can require advanced permissions, which may be limiting in many situations. With a diverse market of available GNSS devices ready to be used by Global Mapper customers, a new communication method was implemented, allowing GNSS device connection via TCP/IP communication. This support was added to match the functionality of Global Mapper Mobile, the Android and iOS application that allows you to bring Global Mapper out into the field on a handheld device. 

Further Pixels to Points Improvements   

The Pixels to Points tool, and by extension the SDK’s implementation of it, is arguably one of the most powerful tools in Global Mapper. With the ability to generate point clouds, orthoimagery, and 3D mesh from drone or UAV collected images, pixels to points has made data collection more affordable and approachable compared to lidar. Version 25.1 provides yet more improvements to the Pixels to Points tool, including significant speed advancements to decrease processing time. These improvements came from extensive fine-tuning in development and QA and are part of the perpetual development of this tool. Other improvements include a new option to the expensive built-in camera list, DJI Mavic3, and all points generated from Pixels to Points are now marked as ‘Synthetic’ to indicate that are not from LIDAR sensors.

A photogrammetrically generated model of a railroad through a neighborhood
Pixels to Points is an easy tool for generating accurate, high-resolution 3D data for your area of interest.

Compare Point Clouds against Gridded Elevation Layers 

A point cloud and a terrain layer loaded in Global Mapper v25.1.

The Compare Point Clouds tool has been expanded to compare not only point clouds against point clouds but also point clouds against one or more loaded gridded terrain layers.
Gridded data is one of the most commonly provided types of elevation data online, especially for (relatively) historical data. Point cloud data, while commonly available now, hasn’t always been available for every study area. The ability to compare point clouds to a gridded elevation layer expands Global Mapper’s change detection abilities. In addition to the point cloud comparisons, gridded layers can still be compared against each other using the Compare Terrain tool.

New Overlap Difference Grid from Swath Separation Tool

Another update to an existing feature in the v25.1 “dot release” is a new output option in the Swath Separation tool. A simple function to use, GM_CreateSwathSeparationImage aligns with the USGS base lidar specification to measure the offset between flightlines in a point cloud, or two overlapping clouds. The offset measurements are generated by default as an image layer of a point cloud that displays the vertical separation between overlapping collection swaths or layers. The generated image depicts the intensity value of the point cloud, and shades overlap areas with specific colors to display separation at designated vertical offset thresholds. Now, in v25.1, in addition to the generated image, a new elevation grid layer can also be generated. Cell values represent the offset in elevation in the source data, and the layer is automatically assigned the Swath Separation Shader, which grades the offset into three classes per USGS specifications.

A grid layer loaded over a point cloud with 2 overlapping flightlines.
The Overlap Difference Grid communicates the same information as the Image output while retaining the functionality of an elevation grid layer.

To download a trial of the Global Mapper SDK, visit the Blue Marble Geographics website bluemarblegeo.com/global-mapper-sdk. For any questions or to request a trial of the Global Mapper Pro SDK, please contact sales@bluemarblegeo.com.

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