MapInfo / Forestry Users Meeting - 11/19/08

The MapInfo/Forestry Users Group held the 2008 meeting on GIS Day, November 19th, 2008 at the offices of Giustina Land and Timber in Eugene, Oregon.   8 participants from 7 organizations attended, including 2 first time attendees.  

Following welcoming comments and self introductions the handful of members who attended MapWorld 2008 in Las Vegas discussed the conference.    All noted and appreciated that for the first time, a "Natural Resources" ribbon was available to attach to name tags,  making MapWorld 2008 the first to broadly recognize the Natural Resources industries use of MapInfo Technology.  The specific sessions which were singled out as the most beneficial included the MapInfo Tips and Tricks I (session handout), Using Parcel Boundaries for Point Level Geocoding, (session handout, 10MB), and the customer feedback sessions.   New technologies which stood out included Envinsa, an upcoming Vertical Mapper upgrade and the new Map Workspace offering by Korem.   It was noted that MapWorld 2009 was scheduled for June 5-9, 2009 in Orlando Florida and all to mark their calendars and register early to receive the best pricing.

Next, Tony Cooley, of Data Directions presented a "MapInfo & Forestry - What's New?" session.  Ironically much of what was presented was "so new it does not yet exist".  This session began with a detailed live demonstration of a beta version of MapInfo Professional v9.5.1 (set to be released in mid-December 2008).  The presentation detailed the new "translucent" vector capabilities in both objects and labels.  This capability was well received as was the demonstration of the extensive new set of MapCAD tools now available for data editing.   Comparisons were also made with MapInfo Pro v9.0 in terms of labeling and and the new label settings, offering greater control and placement during label conflicts.  MapInfo v9.5.1 was widely accepted as an extensive new release offering many capabilities useful to the practice of Forestry.    Next, the Pitney Bowes/MapInfo acquisition of the Australian based Encom was discussed and speculation was made as to what type of products may be offered.  As actual products were not yet available, marketing material for Encom's Engage-3D Product was reviewed.   Based on the material provided, Engage-3D appears to offer an extensive tool set usable to a variety of Natural Resources based applications.   Encom's free MapInfo data management tool, Compass Scout, was also demonstrated.   This session concluded with the soon to be released Delorme EarthMate PN-40 GPS unit.   These inexpensive hand held GPS units began shipping a few days after the meeting.  This first GPS unit in its class to provide the capability to integrate ortho photography, vector topographic data, USGS quads, AND GIS Layers on an rugged, integrated hand held unit.  Equipped with a new 32 channel, dual core GPS receiver the unit stands alone in terms of speed and capabilities  (Download the presentation on the Delorme PN-40 Earthmate GPS).

The meeting concluded with Mark Dvorscak of Lone Rock Timber Company providing a detailed presentation on an MS Access based application which generates Stand focused, custom MapInfo Workspaces, which can then be used by MapInfo Proviewer or MapInfo Professional.   MS Access is used to query and report detailed information on the companies timber stands and tracts.     If a map is desired of the tract, the user simply presses a "map" button and a custom MapInfo workspace is generated focusing on the Area of interest.   Through this custom application any user of the Lone Rock Timber Companies Stand and Tract database can also generate and display a MapInfo Workspace with a detailed focus on a specific tract.  (Download Marks presentation)

Additional items discussed or reviewed during the meeting include a MapBasic tool providing for multiple UnDo operations (check back for download link), the extensive NorthWest data sets available as a result of the BLM;s Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR) or the final EIS GIS Data Page, and the just announced  Developed by the Pitney Bowes Advanced Concepts and Technology Group, together with Pitney Bowes MapInfo,  FireLocator brings together data from MS VirtualEarth, GeoMac Wildland Fire Support, NASA MODIS data, Flickr, and others on a single web page to provide detailed, multimedia information about current, active wildfires.  A very impressive and well planned web application certainly applicable and useful for timberland management.

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