MapInfo is a software that has been popularized regularly as a competitive alternative to the ESRI domain. A lot has been written about this tool, I want to dedicate this post to do a more trend review than capabilities, which according to the XNAUMX study of Daratech appears in a seventh place according to 2008 sales and sixth in terms of traditional GIS . How would I like to know what participation the platforms have? . Which now have a good level of maturity.
Yesterday: An alternative to ESRI
MapInfo arises in the 80's years to compete from an alliance with Microsoft against the two extremes that meant ArcView and Workstation Arc / Info; both coming from the UNIX environment, one simpler than despicable and the other extremely astral as it will always be considered. So in this scenario, MapInfo appears as a solution a bit cheaper than ArcView, with a more friendly appearance to look like Windows but with versions for both Macintosh and UNIX.
Meanwhile, the rest was in other waves, Bentley was insignificant before the geofumadas that Meant Intergraph, AutoDesk He was fighting his CAD world, GE SmallWorld did not exist even in dreams (and if it were not for GE it would not exist). The one that did exist was ERDAS, which now acquired by Leica and added to the other complements appears in the sixth place.
For the time I just Windows 95 Appears We were surprised very simple things but that were wonderful in MapInfo, like the button e To stop hanging processes, Zoom preview, changes in directories without losing the link, transparencies, ease of associating one to many and many to many. Things that ArcView 2.1 did not do, let's not say the creation of contours, that with Map Map integration, and that only Arc / Info managed but we already know at what cost (between $ 10,000 and $ 20,000).
Then MapInfo at that time was a great alternative to the tyranny of the ArcView 2x can, followed the battle until 3x and then appeared a mental lagoon that few remember what it consisted.
Today, a robust tool
The users of MapInfo defend it swastically, although they know their weaknesses (in previous versions to the 9) in the treatment of images it is accepted that for the generation of output products (maps for printing) it is wonderful. Very attractive some features like AutoCAD, such as layer control and vector editing, among the things that have amazed me the most, personally it is the export to pdf with control of layers, In which layers can be turned off or on with a side panel.
What happens is that MapInfo became a public company, and depending on who has more actions is complicated when compared with private companies such as ESRI and Bentley, to give two examples. Therefore, to see MapInfo, we must consider these different phases: before the 7 version, before the 8 version and before the 9 version. Hence the rigor in its Lifecycle of products.
If we measure Mapinfo against ArcView 9x (without extensions), they go to the penalty shots, and it gains in terms of functionality. If we measured it with manifold, loses in terms of geofumadas and price, but wins in the generation of output products and friendly environment. So MapInfo is a great tool, very robust in OGC standards, it is complemented with MapBasic, MapXtreme and Routing for the construction of customized applications not only for desktop but for the web.
At the client level, Mapinfo supports WMS, WFS, SFS and GML; whereas as a MapMarker server, MapXtreme and Envinsa do their pirouettes. MapXtreme fulfills both as a client and as a server.
The redesign of the 10 version is a great smoked, based on the previous versions but I get the impression that they gave it back like an ice cream vendor sock. It can be observed, rather than doing renewal in the interface, a great effort to make many weaknesses of previous versions come true, even its interaction with Postgre and PostGIS is very significant.
The bad thing about all this is that being a public company, and acquiring the majority of shares for PitneyBowes, MapInfo happens to be One more tool the big company that does not have GIS as a priority. What PitneyBowes is looking for is a tool with which geospatial adaptations can be made to their location platforms, so the purchase could be more harmful than beneficial for the tool.
My prediction is negative, but it is what does not happen to a private company, where its creator not only sees the money it can generate but the pride of having seen it born and not unless the economic crisis is unbearable, it is not his first Exit sell to the highest bidder or settle for unproductive.
Hopefully not, because their participation in the market is significant and more than market, are customers who expect to maintain loyalty in both directions. Many tools that I've talked about here, like CadCorp y Manifold GIS They would like to have that privilege.