As we move toward the beginning of the summer of 2021, we're looking at the early stages of the Cartographica 1.6 release. This release will contain a number of significant changes which should help move the product forward and maintain compatibility while also evolving the internals to keep up with best practices in the industry. This will also usher in some changes to both our support and service offerings and supported formats.
Service & Support changes
Heading into late 2021, we're implementing some changes for Cartographica's licensing and services:
Versions from 1.6 are going to require an active maintenance contract at the time of release to be eligible for the upgrades/updates. We may, from time to time, choose to release bug fixes on older releases, but going forward, support will be required for any new release.
After many years of working with Microsoft's Bing for our online services, we are expecting to change those services by April of 2022 in order to more appropriately align costs with revenue. We are investigating a number of alternatives going forward, and you will see these show up in newer releases of Cartographica as optional services. In the future, it should still be possible to use Bing, as we plan to support the use of a user-provided authentication key with those services.
We will be adding some limitations to the Geocoding services. Beginning this summer, we will be instrumenting Cartographica's use of these services and will move toward limiting the number of geocodes included with the software to 10,000 per license year. For most users, this will be sufficient, but we are aware there are some users who have higher-volume needs for Geocoding. If you have concerns about these limits, please contact me via our support page as I'd like to understand the use case better. Going forward, Bing geocoder should still be available with a a user-provided authentication key.
Operating System support for macOS will be moved to macOS 10.15 and higher (including macOS 11). Our development and testing will be concentrating on then-current (and available future) releases. Going forward, we expect to keep a sliding release schedule with support for the current version of macOS and the immediately-prior releases.
Cartographica will be available as a subscription. For those who have existing perpetual licenses, nothing will change; we'll continue to offer the current maintenance plans. For those who find the purchase price of Cartographica a bit steep, the new subscription plan will provide a way to pay for Cartographica as you go—with the caveat that, unlike the perpetual license plus maintenance, once the subscription ends, Cartographica is no longer available for you to use. This is an option that we've always had for students, but we are now extending that offer, with different pricing, to non-educational customers.
Maintenance payments must be continuous, or must be "caught up". When we began enforcing maintenance for services and support last year, policies on renewal were very relaxed, due to the newness of the enforcement. After July 1, 2021, we will require that maintenance be continuously in place, or that existing maintenance be "caught up" (maintenance paid back to the time of the previous expiration) in order to resume. Although there may be grace periods, as a rule reinstating maintenance will be at the cost of the next year's maintenance, plus the any portion of previous maintenance not yet paid.
Based on recent changes to how GDAL maintains drivers for import and export, we're going to follow their lead so that we can keep up with more frequent updates to the libraries.
As such, a few Raster drivers are being removed:
Considering that NTv1 and IGNF height grids were mostly used for height datums, and since those adjustments are now being imported in GeoTIFF formats instead, those should have little effect.
Similarly, a few Vector drivers are also being removed:
As with the Raster drivers above, these vector drivers are seldom used.
If you'd like to make a case for keeping one or more of these drivers supported in future versions, please reach out through our support page, as I'd like to understand the use case better.