March 28, 2023

“Hey, that’s cool”— Lesser-Known Features in Global Mapper

Written by: Amanda Lind


Blue Marble’s software’s new tools and features are often based on customer recommendations and requests. During a new software release, we advertise the top new tools we think users will appreciate the most. However, there are many smaller tools and features that don’t get the same limelight. The full list of new features in each release can always be found in the Knowledge Base under General Information. This blog covers a few of the smaller tools, old and new, that you might not know about.  

Redo (CTRL Y)

You’re probably familiar with the Undo (CTRL Z) function, but have you heard of Redo (CTRL Y)? The ability to undo practically anything (loading a layer, deleting data, lidar classification, etc.) was added in version 24. Also added was the ability to redo what was just undone, so you can undo your undo! This means you can compare data before and after an analysis is completed or make your data dance by rapidly applying a change on and off. 

Want to undo an action you did a while ago? Curious about which actions you’ve done that can be undone? Open the Undo Manager from the Edit menu. This menu contains a list of actions you’ve recently done that can be undone and will be reset when the workspace is closed. 

The undo manager in Global Mapper
Here you can turn off operations, such as loading a layer, so they can’t be undone.

Cropping the ends off of line features

Version 24.1 of Global Mapper provides the ability to crop the ends off of line features. “Crop Selected Lines from Endpoints” adds to the already robust digitizer editing tools in Global Mapper. To use this tool, select the line feature(s) and find the tool in the Digitizer menu under Crop/ Combine/ Split Functions. 

3D Thematic Mapping

A 3D thematic map is like a standard bar graph but uses shapefiles and the 3D viewer. It’s a data visualization method in a 3D context. This works by taking advantage of Global Mapper’s flexible definition of what “elevation” is. There’s a setting in a layer’s Vector Options where you can tell Global Mapper which attribute contains elevation data. This doesn’t have to be actual elevation data; it could be anything numeric, such as population or number of trees per acre. Global Mapper will take your word for it and let you use the elevation tools and display methods on that attribute. See the full instructions for creating a 3D thematic map here on youtube. You can also send an interactive 3D viewer to non-Global Mapper users by exporting it as a 3D PDF

3D Thematic Map of property parcels in Global Mapper.
Here, the height of the area features is determined by their attribute “property value.”

Keyboard shortcut to access the Help tool from any window (F1)

Instead of opening the Help tool manually (or pulling up the Knowledge Base in a browser- it’s the same information), you can open the Help tool with the keyboard shortcut F1. The Help files will then open no matter what, even if you have a dialog open that disables any other interaction with another part of the interface. This allows you to consult the Help files without having to close the dialog and lose your settings. 

Access OpenStreetMap data in vector format

Do you want to add building features to your workflow without having to digitize/draw them? Check Open Street Maps to see if they have the data you need. It’s easy. Connect to Open Street Maps from the Online Data tool in Global Mapper to automatically load a webpage that is zoomed to your workspace’s current extent. 

From the webpage, choose a layer from the right-hand side, then click export. The data visible on the page will be exported as a .OSM file that can be loaded directly into Global Mapper.

More information about how to display buildings in 3D can be found here in this blog.

Screenshots of OpenStreetMap open in browser before opening in Global Mapper
OpenStreetMap opens in your default browser, automatically zoomed to match the current workspace view in Global Mapper.

Connecting points to line features (chainage) 

Chainage is commonly used in pipeline mapping to determine the distance from the start to each offshoot or feeder and can also be applied in utility mapping, such as cables and sewers. Found in the Digitizer > Advanced Feature Creation menu, chainage connects points to line features. If the points are not touching the line, a new line will be created to connect them. Feature attributes will also be shared. In GIS, chainage is sometimes defined as creating point features along a line at specified intervals. Global Mapper can do that too. 

Info Tips

Info Tips are small windows that pop up by your cursor when you hover over any data layer(s) on the map. A favorite tool of some of the staff here at Blue Marble, Info Tips can contain the current cursor location and information about features at the cursor location, such as elevation and/or specific attributes. The options to Enable and Configure info tips are found in the View menu. 

Are you looking at specific attributes in vector data? Using the Custom Attribute String option, you can set info tips to show those attributes. When setting this up, just type the attribute in between percent signs. Easy as store-bought pie.

Screenshot of a custom attribute string using in Global Mapper's labeling tools.
Here is an example of creating a string to only display the Property Value attribute for the object the mouse is hovering over. The info tip is displayed in the little black box ($87,700).

Download a free 14-day trial today to test the exciting new functionality in Global Mapper standard and Pro v24.1!

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