Global Mapper Frequently Asked Questions

Installing, Licensing, and Upgrading Global Mapper

I recently installed a new version of Global Mapper and my custom shaders, datums, and/or types from previous versions are not available. Angle right

You have to copy all of your custom*.txt files from the installation folder of your previous version to the application data folder for the new version of Global Mapper for them to be found. You can find the location of that folder on the Help->About dialog in the old version of the Global Mapper application that you wish to copy the custom .txt files from.

The custom*.txt files are usually in your previous version install folder in Program Files. In newer versions of Windows they are automatically stored in the AppData folder by Windows User name: (C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\GlobalMapper). You can search your hard drive to find them and then copy them to the Global Mapper app data folder. The files will have names like custom_datums.txt, custom_shaders.txt, etc. and there may also be a CustomSymbols folder that you will want to copy.

I have a Global Mapper USB dongle license and it isn't working, what do I do? Angle right

Dongle licenses are version specific. For example,, if your dongle license is for Global Mapper v16 and you have Global Mapper v17 installed on the workstation the USB dongle will not license the application. To upgrade a dongle license to the current, supported version of Global Mapper contact

If you have placed an order to upgrade your dongle license, and have not received order confirmation or license update instructions, or are receiving an error message when applying and update, please contact with your order number.

If this is a new dongle license, and you have never used a HASP USB dongle license on the machine, you may need to manually install the HASP drivers. On most systems these will install when the USB Dongle license is first plugged in. The HASP drivers are also available for download here:

Is Global Mapper supported on remote desktop? Angle right

Remote desktop access is not supported with a single user machine locked or dongle license. It is possible to use a network license to access Global Mapper via remote desktop. For more information, contact

How do I move my Global Mapper license from one computer to another? Angle right

To move a single user license from one machine to another, you will need to go through a license removal verification process on the old machine to free up an activation against your order before you can license another machine. In order to get the Global Mapper License Removal verification, open Global Mapper on the machine you wish to remove the license from.

Go to Help, and then select Release/Remove from the drop down menu. Once completed this action will replace the license file on that computer with a removal code, and copy this code to your computer's clip board - depending on your set up, the removal confirmation will be sent to Blue Marble licensing servers and you will then be able to use your order number to register the application on the new computer*.

To activate the license, enter your full order number (ie; 123456-ABCDEFG ) in the field at the top of the radio options and then click 'Register Me!' On the next screen fill out the registration information, and click 'Activate via Internet'. This will contact the Blue Marble license servers and automatically authorize your installation of Global Mapper and start the application.

*If the old computer is offline or the removal confirmation does not automatically complete for some reason, the removal code will be contained in a file named 'GlobalMapper.lic_removed' in the following directory location for most computers: C:\ProgramData\GlobalMapper\GlobalMapperXX. You can send the removal code or the 'GlobalMapper.lic_removed' file to

For more information on Global Mapper license types, and licensing support please see the Global Mapper Licensing Policy.

How Do I… with Global Mapper?

How do I change the projection that I'm viewing my data in? Angle right

The current workspace projection can be modified on the Projection tab of the Configuration dialog. You can access the Configuration dialog either from the toolbar or under the Tools menu. Data imported to and exported from the workspace will assume the new projection.

How do I change the projection that my data will be exported in? Angle right

All data exports use the current view projection to export data in. The current view projection can be modified on the Projection tab of the Configuration dialog. You can access the Configuration dialog either from the toolbar or under the Tools menu.

How do I setup a local grid projection? Angle right

Typically, for a local grid projection where you know the latitude and longitude of at least one point in the grid coordinate system, you simply setup a new projection using either the Orthographic or Transverse Mercator projection system.

When setting up the projection set the Central Meridian and Origin Latitude to the lat/lon of the known point and set the False Easting and False Northing parameters to the grid coordinates of your known point. Finally, make sure to select the proper units for your grid system.

How can I change the color that is used to fill in areas of no data when exporting to an image format? Angle right

You can change the background color used both for display and for filling in areas with no data under the View menu.

Can I create new features by tracing over loaded data and then exporting a new file? Angle right

Yes, you can use the Digitizer tool to draw new features on top of loaded data. You can also edit existing features with this tool. New and edited features can be exported to new vector files in any of the supported vector formats, such as ESRI Shapefiles and DXF.

How do I drape raster imagery (i.e. DRGs or aerial photos) over elevation data (i.e. DEMs)? Angle right

To drape raster imagery over gridded elevation data, first load the elevation data, then the raster data. Open the Overlay Control Center (found on the toolbar and under the Tools menu), highlight the raster image(s) you want to drape, and select the Options button. Select the Texture Map option on the Display tab and press OK. The raster image(s) should now be draped over the elevation data and shaded. Note that you will have to have hill shading enabled in order to see any difference (this is the rightmost button on the toolbar).

How do I remove the collar from DRGs? Angle right

To remove the collar from USGS DRGs, open the Overlay Control Center (found on the toolbar and under the Tools menu), highlight the DRG(s) that you want to remove the collar from, and select the Options button. Go to the Cropping tab of the dialog that appears and select the Automatically Crop DRG-style Collar option and press OK. The collar should now be removed from the selected DRG(s).

If for some reason the collar was not correctly removed, you may need to specify the collar bounds manually. To do this, press the Options button again and go to the Cropping tab and manually specify a boundary to crop the collar to.

How come there is a thin border around exported DRGs (or image files) even after I have removed the collar in Global Mapper? Angle right

The problem of an extra border around exported DRGs that have had the collar removed is caused by the fact that DRG Quads are NOT rectangular in the UTM projection after their collar has been removed. Rather, they are aligned on lat/lon grid boundaries, which makes them a little bit skewed when viewed in a UTM projection. Because the base TIFF and JPG formats only support rectangular images, something must be used to fill in the areas around the quad such that the data fills a rectangle. This extra fill causes the border to appear.

One workaround for this problem is to reproject the images to Geographic before exporting them to a new file. This way the quads will be rectangular and you won't have the extra border around the data. You can change the projection for viewing and exporting the data by using the Projection tab on the Tools->Configuration dialog. See the earlier FAQ question for more details.

Another option is to use a format that supports transparency, like PNG or 24-bit RGB GeoTIFF, when doing your export, thus allowing Global Mapper to mark those border pixels as transparent on export. Note however that not all applications can handle image files with built-in transparency.

How do I remove the collar from overlapping imagery files? Angle right

If the collar surrounding your imagery files is either black or white (or very close to one of those colors), you can use either the Darken or Lighten blend mode functionality in Global Mapper to remove the collars. To setup the blend modes, open the Overlay Control Center (found on the toolbar and under the Tools menu), highlight the imagery layers that you want to remove the collar from, and select the Options button.

If the color is black, select the Lighten blend mode from the Blend Mode drop-down list. If the collar color is white, select the Darken blend mode. Then press OK. Finally, you'll also need to set the background color of the Global Mapper view to be either black or white to match the collar color so that the non-overlapping regions aren't affected. You can change the background color under the View menu.

How do I associate point features with files or web links? Angle right

You can treat any attribute/value pair associated with any vector feature (like point features) as either a link to a file on your local computer or a link to a web site. So to add a link, just create an attribute/value pair for the feature by first selecting the Feature Info tool, then clicking on the point feature, then pressing the Edit Feature button to bring up the edit dialog. On the edit dialog, add an attribute with a value that is either the filename or full URL to the web site, then press OK to return to the Feature Info dialog. Then, simply right click on the attribute/value pair in the Feature Info dialog and select the appropriate option from the popup menu to either open the value as a file or as a web link. If you already have the attributes assigned, there is of course no need to add them.

How do I add text to the map without an accompanying symbol? Angle right

Select the New Point tool from the toolbar and click at the location of the map where you would like to place the text. In the resulting Modify Feature Info dialog box, type the text you would like to add in the Name field and choose Text from the Feature Type drop down list.

How can I crop imagery to an irregular shape (i.e. an area) when exporting? Angle right

To crop imagery to an area feature or polygon on export either load the file containing the area feature or draw it using the Digitizer or Measure Tool. Then, select the area feature with the Digitizer Tool, and go to File->Export Raster and select the appropriate export format. The Export Bounds tab of the export options dialog that appears will have an option at the bottom to "Crop to Selected Area". Select this option and the export will be cropped to the selected area.

It is important to note that if you are exporting to an image format like JPG, GeoTIFF, or ECW, the resultant image will still be rectangular. The areas outside the selected crop area will be filled in with the currently selected background color. You can change the background color under the View menu.

How do I copy the current cursor coordinates to the clipboard? Angle right

Use the Ctrl+L shortcut key to copy the current cursor coordinate string to the clipboard. Once in the clipboard, it can be pasted into any location that accepts text using the Paste command, usually associated with the Ctrl+V shortcut.

How do I zoom or pan around when measuring something with the Measure Tool without canceling the measurement? Angle right

You will need to use the keyboard to zoom and pan around while using the Measure Tool. Switching tools will cause the measurement to be canceled. The arrow keys allow you to pan around and the Page Up/Page Down keys allow you to zoom in and out. You can also click and hold the middle mouse button to drag the map around.

How do I import and project imagery (i.e. TIFF, JPG, etc.) files that have no projection or associated world files? Angle right

In Global Mapper you can rectify (georeference) any imagery, regardless of whether it has a world file. If you try to load imagery files with no positioning information, you will be prompted to rectify the image. You can also use the File->Rectify (Georeference) Imagery menu command to force the image to be rectified.

How do I save map layers from an online data source for offline use? Angle right

After the required online data is displayed on in the map window, click the File menu and choose Export > Export Raster/Image Format. In the Export Options dialog box, make sure the Export Bounds settings match the geographic coverage requirements.

Leaving the default All Loaded Data may result in an extremely large file and significantly increase processing time. After the export process is complete, close the connection to the online data in the Overlay Control Center and import the previously exported file.

How do I generate a list of elevations from a list of coordinates? Angle right

First load the elevation data that you wish to get the elevations from. Then use the File->Import Generic ASCII Text File(s) menu command to load a text file with a list of coordinates. Finally, use the File->Export Vector Data->Export Simple ASCII Text File menu command and make sure that the "Export Elevations for Each Vertex" option is checked.

This should generate a new file with the coordinates and the elevation for each point in your original coordinate list. You can also do this using the scripting language documented at /knowledgebase/global-mapper/ScriptReference.html.

How do I generate an elevation grid (i.e. DEM) from a file containing elevation contours or 3D points? Angle right

First, load the file(s) containing the contours and/or 3D points of interest into Global Mapper using either the File->Open Data File or File->Open Generic ASCII Text File menu command, depending on which is appropriate for the type of data that you are loading. Then, open the Overlay Control Center (under the Tools menu or press Alt+C) and select the layer(s) from which you want to generate the elevation grid. Finally, right click and select the Create Elevation Grid from 3D Vector Data option on the menu that pops up and away you go!

How do I create a true-color image from imagery (i.e. Landsat) in which each color channel (red, green, and blue) is stored in separate files (i.e. TIFF files)? Angle right

You can do this using the blend mode functionality accessible from the Overlay Control Center. First, load the three TIFF files containing the separate color channels. Then, open the Overlay Control Center (under the Tools menu or press Alt+C) and select the layer containing the red colors. Press the Options button and on the Display tab change the Blend Mode selection to Keep Red, then press OK. Repeat this for the blue and green layers (selecting the Keep Blue and Keep Green blend modes respectively).

After doing that you should have a color image in the main view area, but it may still be hard to see. To improve that, select all three of the layers and press Options, then enable the Auto-Adjust Contrast setting and press OK. In many cases this will generate a very the 'true color' results can then be saved to a single full-color image using the GeoTIFF, BIL/BIP/BSQ or JPG raster export options.

How to I recover a deleted feature? Angle right

Use the Ctrl+Shift+D keyboard shortcut to toggle the display of deleted features. Then, select the required feature with the Digitizer tool, right-click on the map, and choose 'Undelete' to restore the feature to its original state.

Global Mapper General Questions

I received my USB dongle license, it isn't working - what do I do? Angle right

First, make sure that you have the proper version of Global Mapper or Geographic Calculator installed that your dongle is written for. If you're not sure of the version your dongle is for, please contact our sales department at

If you have the correct version installed, the next step would be to make sure you have the dongle drivers installed on the computer you're plugging the dongle into. These drivers can be downloaded from the link below:

HASP Drivers

Are Global Mapper or Geographic Calculator supported on a remote desktop environment? Angle right

Remote desktop access is not available with a single user floating or dongle license, (not the basic single user license). If you have further questions regarding licensing options please email

I want to try Global Mapper and/or Geographic Calculator but not pay for a full license before testing, can I test the application before purchasing? Angle right

Yes, we offer trial licenses for both applications. For Global Mapper, evaluation licenses can be requested directly through the Global Mapper registration interface. When you start the application, it will open a registration dialogue. You can select the last option to 'Request a 2-Week Trial License' to automatically activate via the internet, or use the form to send in an email with the necessary information to receive a license via email.

For Geographic Calculator evaluation licenses can be requested directly through the Geographic Calculator application. On the computer that you wish the license to be written for, please open the Geographic Calculator application and go to Help > License Manager and click on the License Wizard button.

From the License Wizard dialogue you may procure an evaluation license by selecting the option 'Request Trial License via Internet' and click Next. On the next screen, you will need to fill out all of the required information (fields labeled in red). Once all required fields have been filled in, click Activate.

I have many image tiles that I'm looking to create one large image from. How do I do that in Global Mapper? Angle right

First, load all the image tiles into Global Mapper. Then, go to File > Export > Raster and select the file type you want to have the exported image be in. Once exported, Global Mapper will export one large image from those individual tiles.

Why do distances calculated using projected coordinates in systems like Mercator not always match the actual ground distance as reported by the Measure Tool? Angle right

There are 2 different types of "meters" being used in this scenario. The Measure Tool always calculates accurate distances along the surface of the ellipsoid and is not affected by any distortion caused by a projection system, like Mercator.

When you use a projection system, like UTM or Mercator, it projects coordinates from the 3D surface of the earth to a 2D plane in some linear units (like meters). However, because any projection from an ellipsoidal surface to a 2D plane must have some sort of inaccuracies, the linear values reported in that system cannot be 100% accurate. For a projection like UTM the difference from ground truth is quite small so long as you are within or near the UTM zone. The Mercator projection on the other hand is quite accurate in the Y-direction Mercator meters relative to ground truth regardless of location, but the reported Mercator meters in the X direction will be significantly stretched as you get far from the equator, so that the reported distance in meters by using the Mercator projection will be several times greater than what the actual ground truth distance is. You can get the approximate degree of error in the Mercator meters X value by calculating 1 / cos( latitude ). At a latitude of 70N this means that each Mercator "meter" really corresponds to about 0.34 meters on the ground.

Can I use Global Mapper on a Mac or Linux computer? Angle right

The Global Mapper desktop application is developed for use on a Windows PC. Blue Marble does not officially support the use of Windows emulators to run Global Mapper. Many Global Mapper users have had success licensing and using the Global Mapper application on a Windows emulator (such as Parallels or WINE) by configuring the emulator to produce a stable Machine ID. Depending on what processes and tools are used in the application, Global Mapper users who run the application on a machine with macOS may enjoy greater application stability using Apple's Boot Camp for Windows, which runs Windows as the native operating system.

If you have any questions about supported system configurations please contact Blue Marble Application support at

Can I load Lidar data into Global Mapper if I do not purchase the Lidar Module? Angle right

Yes, you can load and export LAS/LAZ files in Global Mapper without the optional Lidar Module. The Lidar Module will allow you to Auto-classify your point clouds, take advantage of faster grid creation from Lidar Data, apply color from imagery to Lidar data, and to reclassify and filter Lidar data on the fly. Numerous advanced and time saving Lidar data management options are available with the Lidar Module.

Why don't I see textures in 3D View, and why is the option to change backgrounds in the 3D viewer grayed out? Angle right

You may need to update your Graphics drivers in order to take full advantage of the 3D viewer in Global Mapper. For instructions on getting automatic or recommended driver updates through Windows, please click on the link below:
Automatically get recommended drivers and updates for your hardware - Windows Help

You may also check the video card manufacturer's website for driver updates.

Are there any restrictions on how I may use new maps created with Global Mapper? Angle right

There are no limitations or copyright restrictions on new data files created by Global Mapper other than those imposed by the original provider of the data used to create the new files. You are free to use any derivative data products created with Global Mapper for any purpose, both commercial and non-commercial, without the need to reference Global Mapper or obtain permission from Global Mapper Software LLC. We would of course appreciate a citation, but it is not required.

Is there an academic/student discount available for Global Mapper? Angle right

We do offer a discount to academic instutions and those that are verifiably students who will not be using Global Mapper for commercial purposes. Contact us at for information on how to obtain this discount.

If I already have dlgv32 Pro installed, how do I install Global Mapper? Angle right

dlgv32 Pro is a version of Global Mapper distributed by the USGS. For all intents and purposes the software packages are identical. If you wish to replace dlgv32 Pro with Global Mapper but maintain your settings, you need to follow the following steps. First download and install the latest version of Global Mapper. Then run Global Mapper and exit it. This will insure that your dlgv32 Pro settings are copied to Global Mapper. Finally, uninstall dlgv32 Pro from the Add/Remove Programs option on the Control Panel.

Additional Questions

Have a question not listed here? For technical assistance, submit a question to our support team. For general questions, contact us.

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