December 27, 2023

Is Global Mapper right for you? Take a look at the application’s top 10 features

Written by: Cíntia Miranda


Global Mapper is a robust GIS application that combines a comprehensive array of spatial data processing tools with access to an unparalleled variety of data formats at a genuinely affordable price — license cost begins at $599, a fraction of the cost of competing applications. The latest release includes a custom point cloud classification training tool for identifying unique features in your point clouds and an image paint tool for editing pixel values.

Developed for both GIS professionals and map enthusiasts, Global Mapper has virtually everything you need in GIS software, such as complete interoperability with exceptional data support, powerful data processing in an intuitive interface, extensive raster and vector capabilities, state-of-the-art 3D visualization and analysis, simple installation and setup, and unlimited technical support.

If you’re searching for a robust and affordable GIS application, here are the top ten features of Global Mapper:

1. Built-in Online Data Streaming
Global Mapper offers a surprisingly extensive collection of free online data sources available for streaming or download, as well as the ability to add custom data sources of your choosing. These data sources, such as imagery and elevation, can be used as primary or supplemental data in all of Global Mapper’s processing tools. Learn more here: All About Online Data in Global Mapper.

2. Terrain Analysis and 3D Data Visualization
Global Mapper’s terrain analysis functions include view shed and line-of-sight modeling, watershed delineation, volume measurement with cut and fill optimization, customized gridding and terrain creation, contour generation, terrain painting, and much more. This is an extensive set of data processing tools for a truly affordable application.

Relative elevation map of a river. The color shader goes from bright yellow, to green, to light blue, to dark blue.
This river elevation model was made using Global Mapper’s terrain analysis tools.

3. Advanced Point Cloud Processing Capabilities
Global Mapper Pro provides advanced point cloud processing tools, including classification tools, feature extraction, positional referencing, and much more. Get started with these blogs on automatic classification, custom classification, and point cloud editing.

Classified point cloud turned into a contour map
This classified point cloud was used to create a contour map.

4. Extensive File Format Support
Providing support for over 380 different file formats as well as direct access to common spatial databases, the application can read, write, and analyze virtually any spatial data file. This allows data from different software to be easily combined into one dataset for analysis and visualization. It also provides the ability to connect to the largest projection library anywhere through Geographic Calculator.

5. Tools for creating 3D data from overlapping images
Pixels to Points is Global Mapper’s photogrammetric processing tool. From overlapping, typically aerial images, you can create a dense point cloud, an orthoimage, and a 3D mesh.
To assist new users, the pixels to points Wizard dialogue will help guide you through the process of choosing processing settings tailored to your desired output. Additionally, ground control points (GCP’s), when collected with a high-accuracy GPS unit, can be included during processing to increase the positional accuracy of the point cloud. For more information, see Top 5 Pixels to Points Features to Improve Your Photogrammetric Processing Workflow.

Lidar drone view of trees. There are 6 houses at the top of the view.
Pixels to Points can reconstruct 3D scenery, such as this mesh layer, from overlapping aerial imagery.

6. Scripting and Python Support
Global Mapper users can automate most routine data processing functions using simple, text-based scripts written in Python or Global Mapper’s native scripting language. Built-in tools can be used to write and edit these scripts. Global Mapper’s scripting language is simple and intuitive, with a straightforward command and parameter structure mirroring many of the multi-step procedures that can be performed within the interface.

7. Advanced Image Processing
Global Mapper includes a powerful set of tools for processing imagery and raster layers. The powerful Vectorize Raster tool can be used to create polygons from a range of colors in a raster layer. Alter the color and pixel values in an image using the Image Paint tool. Image tiling, mosaicking, blending, cropping, feathering, histogram adjusting, and visual manipulation options provide the means to adjust the display and characteristics of any raster data layer.

Side by side comparison of two sets of raster data. The side on the left is low quality and the side on the right is high quality.
Histogram matching, image resolution feathering, and other editing tools can be easily applied to combine images.

8. Digitizing and Vector Editing Tools
When it comes to creating or modifying vector data, Global Mapper’s Digitizer provides a vast array of functions. From simple point, line, and polygon creation to COGO for manual geometric input, the Digitizer has all of the tools you need to create and manage vector layers. Specialized tools are also available for creating a custom grid, buffers, range rings, or virtually any geometric object. Supplementing these drawing tools is a large collection of attribute management and data visualization tools for creating thematic representations of vector data.

9. The ability to record a fly-through path using the fly-mode and walk-mode in the 3D Viewer
Global Mapper is not only able to record fly-through videos, but it also allows users to “draw” a fly-through path by recording their movements in fly-mode and walk-mode in the 3D Viewer. Since the fly-through feature in Global Mapper is an easy way to create videos of 3D data and terrain, it’s commonly used for real estate and property management, planning drone or UAV flight paths, or simply creating a compelling presentation of your GIS data to stakeholders.

a fly though path line flying over terrain data in the 3d viewer
Global Mapper users can “draw” a fly-through path by recording their movements in fly-mode and walk-mode in the 3D Viewer.

10. A Free Mobile Version
Global Mapper Mobile is a free iOS and Android app that allows field viewing and data collection. It displays any supported data from the desktop software, streamlines data collection, and efficiently transfers data into the desktop software. A professional-grade application is also available for purchase from the Apple App and Google Play stores.

There’s much more to Global Mapper! If this list piqued your interest and you’d like to find out if Global Mapper is the right GIS application for you, download a 14-day free trial and request a demo today!

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