Mission Critical Map Deployment
Maps are critical for situational awareness, navigation, and information, but once a map is created, it can quickly become obsolete as data and the information it contains changes. GIS programs, like Global Mapper, provide users with the ability to view, edit, and update data to keep the information relevant as situations, assets, and landscapes change. With tools to rapidly update existing maps, the fluidity of the data update process in Global Mapper is extended to map creation, leading to better-informed teams.
Military missions and field operations rely heavily on accurate data driven maps to inform teams in the field. Global Mapper offers specific tools to create both dynamic digital maps and page-sized print or PDF format maps. As data is updated within a Global Mapper workspace to stay current and relevant, a map can be updated or reproduced and deployed to the end user.
Map Layout Editor
Historically, the basic map is a printed one. Although many maps produced and used today are in a digital format, the ability to produce and use a hardcopy map is still essential to teams working in disconnected areas. Even if access to digital maps is reliable, having a printed map or pdf as a backup is often a good idea. Global Mapper is an excellent, easy to use GIS that allows users to quickly update data and export them to pdf, or geospatial pdf for printing or mobile use.
The Map Layout Editor in Global Mapper is used to design maps of specific sizes and scales for export. When setting up a new map in this tool, the page size and bounds or scale are selected to determine the area of data to be displayed.
When creating a map layout page, select either the data bounds or the scale for the map. With these options the user has great control over what area of data will appear on the page.
This first map element is the most important as it contains the data essential to the creation of a map. In the Map Layout Editor, the data seen on the page layout consists of the same layers and display settings applied in the Global Mapper workspace view. The page properties— like size, color, and margins— can be adjusted, and the data area element can be altered by a right-click option to access the element properties.
In the Map Element Properties, the Grid tab allows the addition of coordinate reference information along the edge of the data view. In maps created for navigation, this coordinate reference is extremely important to the end function of the map. Accuracy for this data can not be understated and Blue Marble can be relied upon to get it right.
Adding a grid frame to the map provides valuable coordinate reference to the map.
Additional elements can be added to the map page via the Insert menu in the Map Layout Editor window. These elements include a north arrow, a scale bar, legends, images, and text elements. The most versatile of these options are the text and image elements. Multiple versions of these elements can be added to insert a title, notes, reference images, and any other metadata that could improve the function of the map.
Added map elements can be moved around the map page and have the display adjusted through the element properties. Once satisfied with the layout of the map, the single page can be printed directly from Global Mapper or saved as an image or Geospatial PDF.
With additional map elements added the map page can be printed or exported from the Map Layout editor. A Geospatial PDF version of this map is available here.
If a particular map is one that will be reproduced, either for a different region or with updated data, a Map Layout Template can be saved. This layout configuration file saves the page size, element positions, and settings for the map. When creating a new map at a later date, the saved template can be loaded to expedite the creation of the new or updated map.
Map Book Creation
In addition to the creation of a single-page map, the Map Layout Editor in Global Mapper can create map books. These are collections of maps for an area that either tile the designated area to show more detail across multiple pages, or focus on a single selected feature per page.
Just like a single page map, the elements on individual map book pages can be edited through the element properties and repositioned as the display requires. A separate Map Layout Template for the map book pages can be used as not all the elements on the cover page of the map book will need to be present on all pages.
Created through the Map Layout Editor, the options to export a designed map book are the same as a single page map. The book can be printed directly from Global Mapper, or the pages can be exported to Geospatial PDF for later use or digital sharing.
For a closer look at fire risk for each park, a feature map book is created with a page dedicated to each national park. A Geospatial PDF version of this map book is available here.
Global Mapper Mobile
From Global Mapper data can be exported to many formats, including a Global Mapper Mobile Package (GMMP) and Geospatial PDF for use in Global Mapper Mobile. Supported by iOS and Android, this mobile app is a partner to Global Mapper and allows geospatial data to be viewed, edited, and added to in the field. Since the data loaded into Global Mapper Mobile is shared via a file transfer to the mobile device, the data can be viewed and interacted with online and offline, making the app a great solution for a digital map in remote or sparsely connected areas.
A map open in Global Mapper Mobile is interactive. The user can pan and zoom across the data, hide layers from view, and select features to view attribute information.
When being used on a GPS enabled mobile device, like most modern phones and tablets, Global Mapper Mobile can show the user’s GPS location on the map giving a better reference to the data around them in the field. With the GPS display enabled users can select a point feature on the map and view a distance and bearing to the point to help with navigation to marked assets in the field.
Using Global Mapper Mobile, features can be added to the map by manually drawing on the device touchscreen or by recording the GPS location to mark points, lines, or areas. Digitizer modes like GPS Auto-Time and GPS Auto-Distance allow the creation of features based on a user set time or distance threshold. Once a feature is complete attributes can be added to further enhance the detail communicated in the data.
Selecting a feature with the digitizer displays the distance and bearing from the GPS location to the selected feature.
New features can be drawn onto the map, or recorded using the reported GPS location.
If the map deployed to Global Mapper Mobile is designed specifically for feature collection, a Feature Template can be created in Global Mapper desktop and included in the map to more efficiently collect the needed data in the field. A Feature Template is the structure for a layer that includes attributes and possible values for the user to select when creating a new feature on the map. Planning for data collection by creating and using a feature template before deploying a map to the field can ensure required information is captured for features as they are added to the map. After needed information is collected and added to the map in the Global Mapper Mobile app, the map can be saved. When the data needs to be reported back to an office, maps from Global Mapper Mobile can be exported to Global Mapper Mobile Package format for transfer to a computer and import back into Global Mapper desktop.
MangoMap hosts shareable online maps that can be created and updated directly from Global Mapper. With data loaded, styled, and configured in a Global Mapper workspace the MangoMap toolbar button is used to create a new map or upload data layers to an existing map.
When creating a new map, a map name is entered, and a background reference map is selected for use in the MangoMap portal. The layers displayed in Global Mapper are then uploaded to a created online map. As data is updated or added to in Global Mapper, layers can be added to or replaced in an existing MangoMap.
With options to create a new map or update an existing map, the MangoMap connection with Global Mapper provides a simple method to generate or update an online map.
Through the MangoMap online portal there are additional options for editing and interacting with the created map. The style of vector layers can be updated, and metadata, including external links, can be added to the map description. When the map is ready to be shared, click to switch the map from offline to online, and set an access level. Map access levels in MangoMap range from publicly available searchable maps to hidden and password-protected maps.
In the MangoMap portal the map uploaded from Global Mapper can be viewed and explored.
The Global Mapper partnership with MangoMap allows for easy updating and sharing of online maps. The update of data is easy and when working with vector features, feature information and attributes can be explored.
Global Mapper provides multiple methods to create maps and deploy them, in digital or printed versions, to field teams and operations that need them. Using a combination of the digital map deployment through MangoMap and Global Mapper Mobile, with printed or PDF maps and map books for offline or remote work, field deployed teams are able to stay well informed with critical intel.
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