Release 9 for Fast GIS

Release 9

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Faster and easier than any other GIS

Georeference Rasters and Vectors

Georegistered drone photo

Manifold® Release 9 includes a spectacular georeferencing facility for automatically casting either raster images or vector drawings into a desired georeferenced coordinate system.

Georegistering rasters and vectors with Manifold is much faster and easier than georeferencing in ArcGIS Pro, MapInfo, or QGIS. The same, simple process is used for both rasters and vectors. Save many hours and even days of effort for only $145.

Fast and Easy Georeferencing for:

  • Aerial photos
  • CAD layers
  • Historic maps
  • Scanned paper maps
  • Scanned blueprints
  • GIS data with unknown coordinate systems

Taking photographs from drones? Manifold is the easiest way to georeference those photos so they match up with Google satellite, OpenStreetMap, or other web layers, and so they line up with shapefiles, parcel maps and other spatial data in GIS packages.

"I am very impressed with the new georegistering process. In a previous life I had the dubious pleasure of being responsible for the georegistration of building floorplans on an industrial scale and I can say that the new process is simpler and quicker than the process in arcgis, mapinfo or qgis. Bravo." - Forum post

Image at right: A nadir drone photograph georegistered into into Pseudo-Mercator projection to match a Google Satellite layer using just a few clicks in less than five minutes.

Manifold Release 9 is a new GIS that makes spatial work easier, faster, and way more effective for both experts and non-experts alike. Manifold unleashes your insights with superior quality, speed and bulletproof accuracy, all at a cost of ownership lower than even free software. Get georeferencing along with hundreds of other features in the world's most powerful, fastest desktop GIS. You get it all for one low price, only $145.

Georeferencing Videos

Curious how Manifold workflow compares to ESRI workflow? See the fast and easy way to georeference drone photos for use in GIS and online web mapping in the 5 Minute Tutorial - Georegister a Drone Photo video. The video provides a narrated, video version of the Example: Georegister a Drone Photo user manual topic.

See how easy it is to georegister (georeference) a drone photo to line up with Google imagery for full GIS use and for use within Google Maps and other web mapping applications. The video uses exactly the same drone photo used in ESRI's ArcUser example of how to georeference a drone photo in ArcGIS Pro. Watch the short video and then read the ESRI example to see how Manifold is much simpler and easier than the painfully inconvenient ESRI workflow.

Georeference a Vector Drawing - See the 5 Minute Tutorial - Georegistration video, as well as the corresponding Example: Georegister a Vector Drawing user manual topic. Vector georeferencing works the same as raster georeferencing using exactly the same dialogs, and you can even georegister a mix of vector and raster layers using the same set of control points. Super!

5 minute Tutorial - Georeference Many CAD Layers - Georeferencing CAD layers is a common task in any GIS. Manifold Release 9 makes it a lot easier with fast, simple workflow that avoids extra effort and lets us recycle what we've already done.

This video shows how we can add a few control points just once and then georeference an entire stack of CAD layers imported from a DWG without adding more control points or repeating any work. If the DWG contained a hundred layers we could do them all!

This is much easier than the complicated, more labor intensive procedures in ESRI or other GIS packages. All this works in the free Manifold Viewer too.

Georeference a Scanned Paper Map - In only five minutes of actual work we use Manifold Release 9 to georeference a 157 MB scanned paper map so it can be used as a layer in GIS. The scanned map is a historic map showing Davy Crockett National Forest in Texas, downloaded from the Library of Congress website.

Compare Manifold workflow to ESRI workflow and you'll agree it's a lot easier, quicker, and less confusing in Manifold. Fast GIS is fun GIS!

Georeference a Whole World Image - We see a map we like on a web site so we make a screenshot. How to use that map in GIS? Easy! We georeference it using Manifold. The video shows how to georeference an image scraped from the web that shows the geology of continents as they were 200 million years ago.

We mark four control points in the image, then we roughly mark four corresponding control in a Manifold map using Bing as a background layer. In the Register pane we edit the coordinates of those control points to be even +/- 90 and +/- 180 degrees, and then we press Register. Done!

The video also shows how we can import and georeference a second image similar to the first, without needing to add any control points, just re-cycling the ones we created before. Less work is great!

Georeference a Historic Map using a List of Cities - We use Manifold Release 9 to georeference a scanned paper map downloaded from the Library of Congress that shows slave populations in Southern States in the 1860 census.

The scanned map shows locations of cities, which we will use as control points. We create a drawing to quickly mark the locations of cities in the scanned image. Next, we download a modern map of cities in the US and their locations. We can use the list of cities in the modern map as a source of control points for the target, saving us from having to enter them manually.

Manifold automatically matches names, ignoring those that are not needed, from the modern map during the georegistration process. Super! Watch Manifold georeference a 10,500 x 8,380 scanned raster in a few seconds.

Save and Load Control Points - Georeferencing in Manifold uses control points to match features visible in the raster image or vector drawing to be georeferenced with corresponding features visible in a known-good reference. This video shows how with a single click we can save or load control points.

Because Manifold saves control points as ordinary vector drawings, we can take advantage of that to make mass changes to control points if we like. In the video we use two versions of a scanned map, one with a gap in the middle and in the other where the gap is closed. Control points that were placed in the version with a gap can be easily adjusted, dozens at a time, for use in the other version, saving a lot of repeated work. The video also shows Manifold georegistering a large scanned image in moments, using all 24 hypercores in a 12 core Ryzen processor. Amazing!

Georegistration Previews

On the fly preview

Manifold uses the incredible speed of full CPU parallelism to provide dynamic previews that let you see how a layer will be georegistered, a way better user experience than blind georeferencing as with other GIS packages.

Previews appear in blue color in the target display window. They can be made partially transparent or can use a split screen to make it easy to compare the preview with ground truth. Use previews to guide the placement of more or fewer control points, and to choose the algorithm that gives the results you want.

Previews allow panning, zooming, or adding layers to the display. You can even edit vector layers while guided by a preview. You can zoom into details, like the illustration at right, with a split-screen preview to compare how a drone photograph will line up with roads and other features when georegistered. The preview compares a drone photo georegistration to a Google satellite image layer.

You can see right away how the georegistered raster will line up with Google. The control points and method used provide very good alignment to road lines, power lines, sidewalks, and other features in view in Google. Clients will be pleased!

Advanced, Fully-Parallel Algorithms

Manifold provides a full suite of advanced georeferencing methods that are available with a point and click from the pull down menu in the Register pane, and all work with both raster images and vector drawings. Unlike similar methods seen in other GIS products, the Manifold versions are fully, manycore CPU parallel, running at astonishing speed and using more advanced parallel algorithms.

For example, Manifold's parallel thin-plate spline georegistration works with both raster images and vector drawings, using a manycore CPU parallel spline algorithm to position source control points exactly on matching target control points, with smooth warping of positions between control points, all at incredible parallel speed.

Unlike some older GIS packages that offer spline transformations, Manifold's parallel spline algorithm automatically uses sub-pixel interpolation for higher, military-grade accuracy when transforming raster images, as well as enhanced accuracy vector transformations. It's a great way to georegister scanned images, like the scanned image of a historic paper map of the Gettysburg Battlefield from the Library of Congress collection, seen below. Parallel spline georegistration often provides superb results with far fewer control points than triangulation methods.

Elliott Map of Gettysburg BattlefieldGeoregistered Elliott Map

Images above: Using the thin-plate spline method to georegister a scanned, paper Elliott map of the Gettysburg battlefield using 37 control points. The original is at left and the georegistered result, overlaid with partial opacity on an OpenStreetMap background layer is at right. Control points are placed at road intersections and bridges still visible in modern GIS layers, as well as at the positions of farmhouses marked on the Elliott map that still exist today and can be seen in Google and Bing Satellite layers.

Elliott Map of Gettysburg BattlefieldGeoregistered Elliott Map

Images above: The thin-plate spline method matches control points exactly.  Once the Elliott map image (original at left) has been georegistered (at right), we can use it with endless other GIS layers, such as a terrain elevation layer created from one-meter resolution LiDAR data, as seen above.  Partial opacity in the georegistered Elliott layer blends with the terrain elevation layer to provide hill shaded relief and better understanding of the Elliott map information. Features have been labeled in a third layer. The ability to use multiple layers in both source and target windows allows choice of GIS layers, like high-resolution LiDAR layers, that may placement of accurate control points using features, like historic stream beds or ruins, that match features shown in the Elliott map but which otherwise are not shown on modern map layers.

Elliott Map of Gettysburg BattlefieldGeoregistered Elliott Map

Images above: The fields of PIckett's Charge, an uphill Confederate infantry charge over open fields against Union artillery.  The Elliott map original (at left) shows the locations of battlefield graves in the week after the battle, with each small line a Confederate grave, and each crossed line a Union grave, graphically illustrating staggering Confederate casualties.  The georegistered image (at right) appears in partial opacity above a Google Satellite layer to show the location of burials relative to modern development.  Although most battlefield burials were moved to  memorial cemeteries, some graves remain where soldiers from either side fell.

Georegister Direct to Web Layers

Manifold georegistration allows you to georegister raster images or vector drawings direct to web layers. Manifold's vast array of web data source capabilities provides hundreds of thousands of web served layers, including all popular servers like Google and Bing, and all popular technologies like WMS, WMTS, WFS, ArcGIS REST, and many more. You can pop open a source window featuring a Google Satellite display and place control points directly in that window, allowing a direct match with control points in a drone photo.

Instead of searching around for a known good reference, it's way faster and easier to pop open a Google, Bing, or other basemap or satellite display. Being able to do direct matches to web sources means your georeferenced photo will line up exactly with the background with which it will be used.

Matching control points

Georegistration Highlights

  • Way Faster - Even extremely demanding georegistration using mathematically complex algorithms happens fast, so fast you have no hesitation about doing whatever you want to get the best possible results.
  • Simpler Workflow - Older packages require a lot of manual setup and jumping through hoops before you can even begin adding control points. None of that is necessary in Manifold: the system takes care of details for you.
  • Agility - Manifold makes it fast and easy to try georeferencing using adjusted control points or a different method with just a click, either a preview or creating a georegistered result. There's never a risk of irreversibly damaging source data.
  • Previews - Lightning fast Manifold parallelism provides fast previews of what current settings will do. Pan and zoom, using transparency and split screen views to see all details, to guide efficient placement of control points without wasting time and effort.
  • Same workflow for rasters and vectors - Manifold uses exactly the same interface, the Register pane, to georegister both raster images and vector drawings, even doing both as layers in the same source map. No need to learn two or three different systems, one for rasters and something else for vectors, like ESRI or other GIS packages.
  • Fully Parallel - Manifold is fully parallel software throughout, from data access to computation to display. Georegistration is so fast because Manifold will use all the threads and cores your computer can provide. Have a 24 core Threadripper CPU? Watch Manifold use all 48 hyperthreads to georegister a big raster or vector faster than any other GIS.
  • Georegister Big Data - Georegister huge rasters and vectors incredibly fast on ordinary desktop PCs without fear of a crash. Manifold easily georegisters tens or even hundreds of gigabytes of data. No need for expensive rigs.
  • Fast Merge for Mosaics - Once you have your individual drone photos georegistered, Manifold's incredibly fast and easy Merge facility lets you merge many photos into a single mosaic in seconds. Super!
  • Export to all the right formats - Manifold exports to popular image formats and vector formats, including geospatial formats like GeoTIFF that require coordinate system tags be embedded in the image file, as well as popular GIS formats like GPKG. Even export to spatial databases like PostgreSQL/PostGIS, Oracle and SQL Server.
  • Georegister to any coordinate system - Manifold knows each and every projection in the vast EPSG system - thousands! - plus many thousands more, including all State Plane coordinate system used throughout the US and hundreds of national systems used around the world. Whatever coordinate system you want your georeferenced drone photo to be in, Manifold can get it there.
  • Georegister multiple source layers - You can have many source layers, hundreds if you want, that are mix of raster and vector layers in the same source window, and all can use the same source control points. That makes repetitive georegistration fast and easy, like when you want to georeference many different CAD layers from the same CAD project.
  • Align using multiple target layers - Target windows can provide an unlimited number of layers, including a mix of raster and vector layers, to guide placement of target control points. When features aren't visible in one layer, like a vector drawing, they might be visible in a different layer, like a web served satellite layer, or in a terrain surface raster layer created from detailed LiDAR data. You can use all of them at the same time to set up the best possible georegistration of your source layers.
  • Handle CAD layers with ease - Manifold has no clumsy limitations like ESRI ArcGIS Pro on georegistering CAD layers. Layers from CAD systems are a snap to georegister, just like any other layer.
  • Ultra High Precision - Manifold provides military-grade, sub-pixel accuracy every time for raster imagery transformations, and ultra high precision transformations for vector data for superb, state of the art, accuracy. Manifold also includes high precision grids for NADCON, HARN NADCON and NTv2 grid-enhanced coordinate transformations in all the countries that use them, including USA. You might not get a billion dollars every year in GIS funding, but you can get the same accuracy (or even better) as those who do.
  • Automatic Raster Scaling - Manifold automatically casts georegistered rasters not only into the correct coordinate system, but also gets all the necessary optional parameters right without any need for manual corrections. Results images automatically are matched to the raster dimensions of the source, with no need for manual matching.
  • Automatic Coordinate System Details - For both raster images and vector drawings, Manifold automatically sets local scale and local offsets with no need to manually specify key parameters.
  • All the Right Algorithms - Manifold has the most advanced math in GIS, with a wealth of georegistration algorithms at your fingertips in a simple pull down menu, including first order affine transformations, transformations with curvatures, second order and third order polynomial transformations, spline transformation, and triangulation transformations.
  • Easy Automation - Press a button and Manifold will instantly write for you an SQL query that automates the georegistration that's been setup. Use that query as written, customize it, or incorporate the functions it calls into scripts to fully automate the georegistration process for repetitive georegistration.
  • Programming - If you like to code, call Manifold georegistration functions in any of the 11 standard languages Manifold supports, including Python, V8, C# and Microsoft standard languages. Mix and match scripting inline in different languages on the fly within SQL expressions, and mix native SQL from DBMS packages like Postgres or Oracle within the same query as native, parallel, Manifold SQL. No limits, just ease of use and awesome power for GIS developers.
  • Handle Mixed Source Coordinate Systems - Not only can Manifold handle a mix of raster and vector source layers, those layers can all be in different coordinate systems and Manifold will adjust automatically, reprojecting data on the fly as necessary for optimal georegistration results.
  • Handle Mixed Target Coordinate Systems - Manifold users can take advantage of multiple layers using different coordinate systems in the target window to guide control point placement. No need to reproject all the different layers into the same coordinate system. Use layers as convenient and leave them in whatever coordinate system they are and Manifold will automatically reproject them on the fly so they can be used together to guide the georegistration process.
  • Faster Launch - Only a 70 MB download, Manifold launches in half a second, ready for action. Get straight to work with no need to wait around for tens of seconds or even minutes. Manifold is available both as a Windows Installer and also as a portable installation, for effortless download and immediate launch.
  • Instant Opens and Saves - Georeferencing projects often involve dozens of large data sets. Even 100 GB Manifold projects open instantly, in 1/10th second, with no waiting around for long minutes. Manifold projects save instantly as well, so you can save intermediate versions without hesitation.
  • Everything is Built In - Manifold includes georeferencing built into Manifold as part of the same, single, unified, highly orthogonal package that saves you time and money. No need to hunt for difficult plug ins or to install a patchwork of clumsy, third party packages. It's all built into Manifold for instant use with a point and click.
  • Super Documentation - Numerous videos provide a fast and easy start, and a lavishly illustrated, online User Manual written by full-time, professional, technical writers covers every detail of Manifold with hundreds of step by step examples.
  • Honest Quality - Enjoy better quality with near-zero bugs. Bugs never pile up but are immediately eliminated within a week or two. No need to buy a maintenance contract - bug fixes are always free.
  • Never Crashes - You can expect to run Manifold all day, every day, for twenty years without seeing a crash. Phenomenally bulletproof, Manifold executes the toughest jobs with blistering speed and total accuracy, with never a crash. Tired of software that crashes in the middle of a big job? Get Manifold instead for rock-solid reliability.
  • Community Driven - A highly active user community guides the product, and has played a key role in specifying and evolving georegistration capabilities. No other GIS has such a direct connection to user community requests.
  • Affordable - Everything is included and built-in for only $145. You can easily afford integrated ease of use, vast and comprehensive capabilities, results that are always correct, crash-free reliability, and eye-popping parallel speed.

"What a good start to the New Year. Just when I need it to develop a historical map, Georegistration arrives and so does a good explanatory video. The Norwich 1500 (the UK city) map is now in place and I can get on with placing features. Thanks to all. I'll leave you pros to debate the finer points - I'm more than pleased." - Forum post

Example: The Elliott Map

During the American Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg raged for three days during July 1-3, 1863, resulting in the largest number of casualties of any battle in the war. Illustrations show the region of the battlefield near Round Top and Little Round Top. Click on the thumbnails nearby for full resolution images.

The dead were buried in temporary graves where they fell or nearby, with surveys in the weeks after the battle marking every grave. From November to early 1864 the majority of temporary battlefield graves were relocated to a new Soldiers' National Cemetery.

In 1864, S.G. Elliott created and published a detailed map based on those surveys that shows the original grave sites as well as the battlefield as it was when the battle was fought.

The pattern of graves marked in the Elliott map graphically show those places where fighting was most intense, with the greatest casualties. They also show locations where graves may still exist, since not all of the battlefield graves were located and moved to the National Cemetery.

115 control points were used to georegister the scanned original image into a target map consisting of many reference layers, including a terrain elevation surface created from sub-meter LiDAR data, satellite imagery layers, and contemporary maps showing features and structures still in place from the time of the battle.

Images in order:

  • A portion of the original map near Round Top and Little Round Top showing control points. The source image was georegistered from a map with multiple layers, including vector layers showing roads and paths drawn on the Elliott Map.
  • The georeferenced result overlaid with partial transparency on a thematically formatted, hill shaded terrain surface. Adding hill shaded relief immediately provides better comprehension of the battle's terrain. A layer with place labels shows famous locations in the battle.
  • The georeferenced result with control points turned off, overlaid on grayscale terrain, with georeferenced Elliott map roads layers added. The same tool georeferences both raster and vector layers in Manifold using the same control points.
  • The Style pane allows us to "knock out" pixels in between dark marks, to create a version of the georeferenced map that has transparent pixels between dark text and graphics in the Elliot map. The result is shown over thematically formated terrain elevation, with places labeled and roads.
  • The transparent pixels styling of the georeferenced Elliott map is particularly useful when combined with modern web served map layers, such as OpenStreetMap in this illustration, or Google Satellite or Bing Satellite layers. When visiting or doing work in battlefield locations there is no need to guess where a grave or other feature shown on the map is located: instead, we can see the location with the Elliott map georegistered in place.

Manifold runs parallel on all cores

Faster by Design

Manifold is 64-bit and fully parallel throughout, automatically unleashing the incredible power of all of the CPU cores in your system. Four cores or sixty four, Manifold uses them all. Even faster, Manifold automatically launches massively parallel computations using thousands of available GPU cores for supercomputer speed. Running on a 24 core processor? Manifold will use all 48 threads.

Image at right: Manifold running 48 threads with 100% utilization on an inexpensive 24 core / 48 thread AMD Threadripper. Running 48 threads with 100% utilization Manifold takes only 9 seconds to compute Path Distance. ESRI's Spatial Analyst on the same machine takes 12 minutes, using only nine threads with poor utilization. Add Manifold to your ESRI toolset for faster geoprocessing.

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Georegistration preview

A georegistration preview menu when previewing the georegistration of a drone photo. Starting with the same nadir drone photograph as in ESRI's ArcUser example the illustration shows a preview in blue color of georegistering that photo to a known good target layer, a Google satellite layer. Right clicking on the preview bar calls up a menu that controls the display of the preview, allowing it to be seen with partial transparency or with a split screen effect to the left or right side of the display window, with the dividing line between the preview and the rest of the window draggable to the left or right. The preview shows what a simple affine georegistration using six control points will do.

About Manifold

Manifold is a deep technology company creating advanced, parallel algorithms, next-level technology, and computation know-how that powers faster performance and smarter operations.

License Manifold® technology to power your company's products, or take advantage of Manifold's off-the-shelf commercial products. Jump decades ahead of your competition.

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