Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Fun with Manifold GIS

This post may not fall strictly within the Enterprise GIS topic but I have just completed my first project with Manifold GIS . This was a little piece of work to create a series of maps for a county sports partnership in the UK; we chose Manifold purely based upon price, and curiosity...

First off - Manifold was upto the job and the client was delighted with the results.  As someone who has used GIS technologies of all shapes and sizes for almost 20 years I have to admit that I was rather stumped by the user interface but, with patience, I was able to find all of the functionality that I needed.

Highlights for me were:
  • A great price, at just USD$400
  • Windows based client application 
  • Is able to read and write a variety of file and database formats
  • Includes a host of analysis functions
  • Supports several Windows scripting/programming languages
Limitations for my purpose were:
  • Was not intuitive for me to use
  • Help documentation not always easy to find and used unfamiliar terms
  • Cartographic facilities were not bad but didn't provide fine grained control
  • Some processing steps went into long loops and failed
  • Exports to PDF but not to GeoPDF yet
I think the Manifold team have done a great job producing this functionality at the price.  Next I want to explore Manifold further to get a better understanding of the customisation facilities and scalability for larger batched processing.