October 19, 2021

What’s New in the Global Mapper Software Development Kits

Written by: Mackenzie Mills


Global Mapper is best known as an all-in-one, installed GIS program; however, the program can be taken further by developers with the Global Mapper Software Development Kits (SDKs). 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.

As the Global Mapper installed program is updated, the development kit is updated as well. The version 23 and Pro software development kits provide numerous exciting new tools and updates for program developers, including support for Python scripting when combined with the Global Mapper Pro application.

Global Mapper v23 SDK

Providing the ability to load, style, visualize and analyze data, the Global Mapper SDK supports nearly all the file formats supported by the desktop version of the software. Significant updates in the version 23 Global Mapper SDK focus on vector feature display and analysis.

3D Labels

To improve the display of text labels rendered in 3D, the Global Mapper SDK now supports two new styles for labels, specifically designed for 3D display. Utilizing a dedicated label layer, feature labels can be displayed as flattened text or using a floating billboard style.

Flat feature labels press the label text flat into the displayed terrain or at the elevation of the vector feature. With options for a background stroke to increase visibility, labels in this style have increased visibility but stay at their designated position and orientation in reference to the data. 

Flat labels are best viewed from above and will retain their position and orientation as the user zooms and pans the data.

Billboard-styled labels show the text features above the surface or feature, rotating them to always face the viewer. With options to use a background stroke for the billboard labels, this style clearly shows the location of the corresponding vector features looking over the terrain. 

Billboard labels will stand above the feature they label and rotate to face the viewer.

Spatial Operations

Increasing the vector analysis capabilities, the Spatial Operations methods in the Global Mapper v23 SDK now support features of all geometry types. With the available spatial operations, points, lines, and areas can now be analyzed to find and create features based on their spatial relationships using operations such as intersect, overlap, union, among others. Depending on the operation or predicate specified, certain combinations of input and output feature types will be accepted for the operation to execute.

Through this powerful vector analysis functionality, collections of features can now be defined and used in more complex operation definitions. New script commands to begin and end a spatial operation are used to bound a sequence of spatial operation commands and execute the analysis immediately. 

Global Mapper Pro SDK

The Global Mapper Pro SDK expands the kit to include commands for point cloud classification and analysis. Transitioning from the Lidar SDK to a Pro version allows the Blue Marble team to incorporate additional advanced commands and tools not directly related to lidar data processing. 

Point Cloud Classification 

Increasing the accessibility of the automated point cloud classification and analysis tools, the Global Mapper Pro SDK now includes API functions for each of these processes. With dedicated functions for each analysis, users are able to more directly access these tools through the toolkit. 

Continuing with the development of lidar processing tools in the Global Mapper family of programs, the automatic classification tools now use segmentation methods. The segmentation methods use characteristics of individual points and points within a local area to perform a point-to-point similarity measure in order to improve results with mixed density and terrestrial-collected datasets.

The segmentation method uses point-to-point similarity to identify clusters of points before applying a common classification.

Python Script Support

The Global Mapper Pro development kit supports the development and execution of Python scripts. Opening the door to further interoperability, the option to develop Python scripts to be run in the Global Mapper Pro application allows users to access Global Mapper commands and functions from installed third-party libraries all through the Python programming language. 

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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