Exploring the User Interface Updates in Global Mapper v25
While product and development teams at Blue Marble are constantly working to expand the toolset available in Global Mapper, updates to the user interface to improve the program’s ease of use and to keep up with higher-resolution rendering are also considered and implemented. In Global Mapper v25, a few minor user interface changes have been made to improve user experience. Updates to optimize Global Mapper for higher-resolution displays, split the single Analysis Menu into separate analysis tools for each data type, and add toolbar buttons for new functionality all help users better see and navigate through Global Mapper as they complete important geospatial processing and analysis tasks in the program.
Full HD, 1080 by 1920 pixel, displays have been commonplace in technology for quite some time. Now, with higher-resolution displays with even more pixel density available, a full HD monitor has become the low-end of what one would consider high definition. As many Global Mapper users adopt better display technology, using the program with 2k and even 4k displays, it seemed time for an update to the user interface to better and more clearly support these high-resolution display options.
Likely appearing as a subtle change to most users, the high-resolution display support in Global Mapper v25 enhances toolbar graphics and sharpens menu and dialog text. These small updates enhance the look of the program, making it clear and more usable for folks working on larger and high-resolution displays.
In every release of Global Mapper, new tools are added. While some tools get a toolbar button for quick visual access, they are all added to a menu. With data processing and analysis being the focus of many of the Global Mapper tools, the Analysis menu in the program was growing longer and longer with each release. While looking through a long list of options in a menu may not seem like a large inconvenience in a workflow, and the single Analysis menu was not Global Mapper’s largest menu, the opportunity to divide the functionality found in the Analysis menu by data type gives more organization to the program enhancing the ease of use.
The new version of Global Mapper, v25, contains not one but four analysis menus. These menus, Terrain Analysis, Raster Analysis, Vector Analysis, and Lidar Analysis each hold tools relevant to the type of data in the menu name. The addition of the Lidar Analysis menu allows another method to access all the point cloud-specific analysis tools available only via the Lidar Toolbars in previous versions of Global Mapper.
The longest of the analysis menus, the Terrain Analysis menu, contains the analysis and data creation tools to work with terrain data in Global Mapper. This includes but is not limited to terrain creation, contour creation, and least-cost path creation.
The Raster Analysis menu contains the growing number of image analysis and editing tools to be used with pixel-based data. Old favorites like Raster Calculator and Pan-Sharpening can be found in this menu along with newer tools like Image Paint.
The Vector Analysis menu contains tools for analyzing vector data, which in some cases creates new vector features. Tools in this menu include Spatial Operations, Voronoi Diagram Creation, Density Grid Creation, and much more. Keep in mind that the vector feature creation and editing tools will still be found in the Digitizer Menu.
Exclusive to working the point cloud data, the Lidar Analysis menu contains the tools found on the Lidar Toolbars. Most of these tools for working with this type of data require Global Mapper Pro.
Power users of Global Mapper and those most observant users may notice a few new toolbar buttons in the program. Others who often utilize the automatic lidar classification tools in Global Mapper may first notice the lack of an entire toolbar. These changes to the visual tool access docked by default at the top of a Global Mapper instance did not remove any functionality from the program. New toolbar buttons on the Analysis toolbar for Image Paint and Elevation Grid QC represent new tools for manual image editing and vertical rectification of the elevation layer (these tools can also be found on the Raster Analysis and Terrain Analysis menus, respectively).
The most shocking change for users of the automatic point cloud classification, extraction, and segmentation tools in Global Mapper is the disappearance of the Automatic Classification Lidar toolbar. Don’t worry; these tools have not gone away; they have simply been part of a larger user interface redesign that combines automatic classification, feature extraction, and segmentation into a single dialog. This new dialog is called Automatic Point Cloud Analysis, is accessed by a new toolbar button on the main Lidar toolbar (or the from Lidar Analysis menu), and allows users to complete classification, extraction, and segmentation through one tool. This change to the layout of the automatic point cloud tools in Global Mapper aims to streamline workflows and adds the functionality to train custom classes.
While most of the changes to the main user interface in Global Mapper version 25 are subtle and may not be noticed by some users, these changes enhance the program’s ability to work with more advanced displays and organize some of the functionality to make tools easier to find and use.