The tasks that GIS Analysts perform range from complex dives into messy data to repetitive production of maps with little variation. Both ends of the spectrum require the ability to find tools quickly, make changes with as few keystrokes as possible and produce high-quality output under the pressure of deadlines.
I joined Pitney Bowes recently as the new Product Manager for our flagship GIS software, MapInfo Pro. Prior to joining the Company, my last encounter with MapInfo Pro was several years ago, but shortly after I started the job, I was asked to create a live demo for a webinar -- and I had two weeks to learn the software and build the demo. Like GIS Analysts, I needed to use the software to quickly and easily churn out a finished product.
The first thing I noticed was MapInfo Pro’s similarity to Microsoft Office, which I’ve been using since it was released. Microsoft took a step back and listened to nearly 10,000 hours’ worth of video recordings from customers, and designed the “ribbon interface” based on what they learned. Like Microsoft Office, GIS software needs to step back, listen and reflect the needs of GIS Analysts and enable them to be more productive.
In 2014, Pitney Bowes released the first 64-bit version of MapInfo Pro, sporting a ribbon interface similar to the one in Microsoft Office. But despite our efforts, that ribbon wasn’t enough, and our users needed more. Over the past two years, we’ve been focused on engaging with users in order to maximize GIS productivity, which is why we have launched MapInfo Pro version 17.
The latest version of MapInfo Pro provides users with the navigation tools to get work done quickly, whether they are new to GIS or 25-year veterans. The “Quick Search” window finds commands and launches them. A right mouse click on a map displays a customizable “Mini-toolbar” with your favorite tools. After an extended Beta release, users have told us that they are getting work done faster because they can launch tools more quickly with these functions.
Quick Search window feature
For new users, the “Welcome Window” appears when MapInfo Pro launches, offering an array of shortcuts, tips, news, and training resources to accelerate the learning curve. All users will appreciate the new time-saving features, such as interactive map themes, style galleries that preview style options on the map with a hovering cursor, and reusable layout templates that speed up map production.
One of our beta users who started using the v17 beta last November had this to say: “The addition of the Mini-toolbar has changed the way I work entirely, and made me efficient again in the new Mapinfo Pro ribbon interface. This one change is worth the upgrade to me.”
We encourage you to try the trial download version from pitneybowes.com. Whether you are new to GIS or you’ve been a MapInfo Pro user as long as you can remember, you’ll find the tools you need to bring data to life and show others that a picture really is worth a thousand words.
View the MapInfo Pro webinar series on demand, which showcases the key features and use cases covered in MapInfo Pro v17.