Tips and Tricks

Cartographica 1.4.2 Available

Cartographica 1.4.2 is now available, and it's got a little bit of everything to it: new features, performance enhancements, and bug fixes.

This release ended up taking a bit longer than we expected as we have been working hard to fix the bugs reported in 1.4 and 1.4.1.    But, we haven't just been working on fixing bugs, we've also been enhancing the capabilities and performance of the existing capabilities of Cartographica, with improvements in everything from WFS compatibility to execution speed and progress information for many of our analysis tools.

I won't take up the space here to enumerate all of the changes, as they are covered almost exhaustively in the release notes, however I will point out a few of the areas we have been working on.

Analysis Tools

We introduced a lot of new tools in version 1.4, and we have been making improvements to the performance and interface for these.   In particular, almost all of the analysis tools provide more progress information now and may be cancelled.   For those who work in more than one window at a time, Cartographica no longer makes you wait in all windows while analysis is performed for one window.   This means you can continue to work on another map while performing more complex analysis on a map in the background.   All search and overlay operations are substantially improved and we are continuing to follow additional optimization paths (while maintaining accuracy).


Because of the Bing geocoder service that we also support, many folks don't use the built-in geocoder.  However, for tasks involving historical data, or large amounts of data being proccessed in a small area, it's often a faster mechanism (and it doesn't require a network connection).  In this release, we've significantly improved the handling of whitespace, negative address ranges in the streets files, additional abbreviations, and support for streets whose names begin with "Ste".

File Import/Export

Most of the changes to file import involved upgrading to the most recent libraries for external file formats, such as MrSID®.  These should improve compatibility and performance.

For export, we've fixed a bug involving line style export to Illustrator and enhanced the Save window to include file extensions that appropriately default for the selecte file type.

ESRI File Geodatabases can now receive the entire map instead of being broken into a set of GDB files per layer.

Live Maps

The big change for live maps is that Custom OSM layers can now point at basically any tile source that uses a similar format to OpenStreetMap but isn't actually an OpenStreetMap server.   For those of you with access to tiled services from an ESRI ArcServer map, this means that you can access those tiles from Cartographica as well. For an OpenStreetMap server, you can just use the URL of the service in the box.   For other services, you'll need to use a more complete URL with {zoom}, {x}, and {y}, representing the zoom level, x tile id, and y tile id.   Here are some examples:

For ESRI ArcServer maps, end the URL with {zoom}/{y}/{x}, so if the base URL of the map is


the URL you would use is:


For Google-style maps, the URL is more complicated, so if the base URL of the map is

the URL you would use is:{x}&y={y}&z={zoom}&scale=2&s=Ga

At the moment, all of the key services are using the same CRS, which is the Web Pseudo-Mercator and thus Cartographica will automatically determine the right information and display it correctly.

WFS Layers

We continue our improvement of support for WFS layers.    This release includes better handling of WFS 2.0.0 servers (such as most recent versions of GeoServer) as well as backwards compatibility with older 1.1 and 1.0 services.   We also fixed a bug in handling single polygon layers in GMLv3 layers (multipolygon layers were fine).   

The Web Feature Layer Attributes window (available from Layer > Web Feature Layer Attributes... and when you add a new web feature layer using File > Add Web Feature Layer...) has been enhanced to allow limiting of requests to the server (necessary for some servers that don't know their own limitations) and the introduction of manual filters.    We hope to make filters easier in future versions, but for now if you know the XML filter language (or can have somebody work up a filter for you), then you can paste that directly into the Filter box and it will be applied to layer requests.

The Future

We have many plans going forward, including improvements to our existing features and additional features for analysis, presentation and exploration.   We sincerely appreciate your support.

Introducing 1.2: Adobe Illustrator Export Enhancements

Exporting maps to Adobe Illustrator gives you the ability to enhance GIS output for presentation and publication. Cartographica 1.2 offers new enhanced features that give more specificity in what is exported to Adobe Illustrator from Cartographica. The new features give you the ability to choose line segment labels, to determine how polygons will be labeled, and it gives you the choice to export data along with the map. The segment labels option gives you choice in labeling lines with multiple segments. You can choose to label each line segment of label only the first segment. Also you are able to chose whether polygons will be labeled internally or if the label will be next to the polygon. Finally, you have the choice to export data along with the map, which give you the ability to do extra enhancements once inside Adobe Illustrator. The enhanced features of exporting files means that Cartographica is very adaptable to your needs in terms of what you want to be exported to Adobe Illustrator.

Introducing 1.2: Bounding Box Invisibility

A new feature of Cartographica 1.2 is layer bounding-box invisibility. This makes it easier to use a single large background map for multiple mapsets without having to be constantly zoomed in. Given that Cartographica now has the ability to import live maps you will find that this tool is very useful because it allows more flexibility with zoom commands when working with a large background map such as a Live Bing map.

Introducing 1.2: Adding and Editing Features

A great feature of Cartographica is the ability to add features to a map. This gives you the ability to quickly create new layers and add information to already existing layers. In conjunction with Cartographica's table tools (add coordinate, length, and area columns) the Add Feature option allows you to quickly georeference new layers, and it also can provide valueable information about the space used by the layer you created. These bits of information are important so that you can verify that the layer you created is a valid representation of the object being represented.

Introducing 1.2: Exporting KML Files

Cartographica has been able to export to KML since it first shipped. Cartographica 1.2 has an enhanced KML exporter that makes it even easier to make your maps shine using Google Earth, Google Maps, and other products that use KML. The software now exports all raster and analysis layers, as well as the precise point types that you use in your maps in Cartographica (as opposed to using the default pushpins that are part of Google Earth's repertoire).

Introducing 1.2: Map Layout and Design

Cartographica 1.2 offers new enhanced map layout and design capabilities with improved functionality and workflow.A new feature of 1.2 is the new layer control in Map Layout windows. Now, the visible layers in both Map objects and Legend objects may be edited separately from their original maps. This gives you the freedom to choose which layers displayed on your map will be shown in the design of final map output.

Introducing 1.2: Projection Management

Cartographica supports many projection systems and now support the ability to add your own unique projection system to the program. The ability to add your own projection allows you to very accurately represent data on a map, which make for more accurate geospatial analysis. Cartographica has supported many projection systems in the past and the ability to add your own projection system gives Cartographica to accurately project data anywhere in the world.

Introducing 1.2: Re-Geocoding Data

A new feature of Cartographica 1.2 is the ability to re-geocode data that are already added to a map. This new option allows for additional information to be added to a dataset that describes the address used to match the point, a score indicating how accurate the geocoding process was, and a column that describes the source data used for geocoding. These pieces of information are important for keeping track of what went on during geocoding process, which allows for more accurate reporting of analysis results and procedures. Knowing how accurate the geocoding process was along with the specifics about what was matched, gives users the ability to closely monitor their geocoding so that they can ensure that their data is accurate and reliable for use in geospatial analysis.

Introducing 1.2: Computed Columns

New to Cartographica 1.2 is the ability to compute columns in a data set (this includes adding computed columns to WFS layers!). Computed columns give users the ability to quickly create new variables that incorporate information from other data fields in the same data set. This allows users to quickly create rates, ratios, and proportions by using a simple drag and drop method. Cartographica currently supports a large number of basic math and geometric functions.

See Below for the Step to Create Computed Columns

Introducing 1.2: Geocoding Updates

Cartographica 1.2 offers several new geocoding features that will enhance user's ability to effectively geocode several forms of spatial data. Some of the new geocoding features include the ability to geocode with bing, the ability to geocode layers that have already been imported, and the ability add spatial information to data sets that are incomplete, or not spatially defined. Cartographica can geocode both address and coordinate data and has the ability to add spatial information such as X and Y coordinates to layers that are not georeferenced.

Introducing 1.2: Symbol Support

Version 1.2 of Cartographica has a new way of selecting symbols that allows the use of just about any image or drawing as a symbol, either from the built-in symbol browser, or from another source such as the internet. This is really handy as essentially any object that has an Identifiable symbol can be found on the internet and used (keeping in mind copyright ownership of the symbols).

Introducing 1.2: Color and Palette Management

A new feature of Cartographica 1.2 is the new color and palette management system. The system was complex and effective before, and now it has even more functionality! In previous versions users had to manually select color schemes from several color palate options in order to create choropleth maps, but now users have access to both pre-defined and user created color palettes.