Exporting Files

In the final section of this Introduction to Global Mapper course, we effectively come full circle. In one of the first lessons, we covered the various methods for loading data into Global Mapper and, as is often the case with GIS workflows, we end the course by looking at the process of getting data out, or exporting files.

In this lesson, we will consider three possible destinations or audiences for the map data or files that we need to share. The first and most straightforward is other Global Mapper users, the second is users of other GIS applications, and the third is non-GIS software users.

Exporting Files for Use in Global Mapper

When sharing data with another user of Global Mapper, there is only one file format that should be used: Global Mapper Package (*.gmp). Designed as an efficient way to transfer data between instances of the software, GMP files effectively compress the entire contents of the workspace, including the data layers and any configuration that has been applied, and compress the contents into a single file. GMP files have many benefits when compared to non-proprietary file formats:

  • They can contain all data formats supported by Global Mapper (raster, vector, elevation formats, lidar, etc) in a single file
  • They are efficiently compressed
  • They can contain any linked files such as external photographs
  • They are forward- and backward-compatible (except in cases where specific file formats are not supported in earlier versions of Global Mapper)
  • They recreate the workspace structure in the recipient’s version of Global Mapper

Follow these steps to create a Global Mapper Package file from multiple loaded layers:

  1. From your My Maps folder, load the Black Mountain workspace that was created early in the course
  2. In the Control Center, enable the display of all of the layers except the OSM (online) data

  3. From the File menu, choose Export > Export Global Mapper Package File…
  4. In the Global Mapper Package File Export Options dialog box, leave the default settings and click the OK button
  5. Save a GMP file called Black Mountain in your My Maps folder
  6. After the Export is complete, unload all of the data (Ctrl+U) and load the Black Mountain.gmp file

    Note the size of the workspace file is 20 KB while the GMP file is almost 100 MB. This is because, unlike the workspace, the GMP file contains the actual data, not just the directory path to the original files.

  7. After loading, note that the Contol Center includes the same data as the original workspace

Global Mapper Package Files are also useful for creating backups of workspaces on an external drive, allowing the workspace to be easily recreated in the event of a hardware failure or data loss

Exporting Files for Use in Third-Party GIS Applications

When exporting data that will ultimately be imported into another application, the choice of format and the necessary settings and supplemental files that might need to be created will be determined by the requirements of the target application. In this exercise, we will export a portion of the imagery layer as a GeoTIFF, and the corresponding parcel data as a shapefile.

  1. With the Black Mountain GMP file still loaded, zoom in to the center of the town (scale approx 1:5,000)
  2. In the Control Center, right-click on Black Mountain Imagery and choose Layer > EXPORT
    This method of export allows a specified layer, or in this case, a group, to be exported
  3. Click the OK button to confirm the image tiles that will be exported
  4. From the format dropdown list, choose GeoTIFF and click the OK button
    Because the export process is based on raster data, this list is limited to the supported raster formats
  5. In the GeoTIFF Export Options dialog box, apply the following settings:
    • File Type: 24-bit RGB
    • Sample Spacing: 1 meter (X & Y)
    • Generate TFW (World) File: Check this box
      Leave all the other settings in their default state

  6. In the Export Bounds tab, select All Data Visible on Screen
  7. Click the OK button, name the file Black Mountain Image Export, and save it in your My Maps folder

    Now we will export the parcels data for the same area as a shapefile

  8. Right-click on Black Mountain Parcels.shp in the Control Center and choose Layer > EXPORT
  9. Click the OK button to confirm that the parcels layer will be exported
  10. From the format dropdown list, choose Shapefile and click the OK button
  11. In the Shapefile Export Options dialog box, check the box next to Export Areas, make sure your My Maps folder is the target destination, name the file Black Mountain Parcels Export, and click the OK button
    This process simply defines the output path; the data has not yet been exported

  12. Back in the Shapefile Export Options dialog box, leave the default settings and click the Export bounds tab
  13. Select All Data Visible on Screen and click the OK button

    Finally, we will load the two exported files

  14. Unload all of the loaded layers using the Ctrl+U keyboard shortcut
  15. From your My Maps folder, load Black Mountain Image Export.tif and Black Mountain Parcels Export.shp

You will have noticed that there is no option to define the projection of the exported files during the export process. This is because all exported layers inherit the on-screen projection, which can be established in the Projection section of the Configuration dialog box

Exporting Files for Non-GIS Software Users

When sharing data with an audience that does not have access to GIS software, the options are more limited. Printing a map in hardcopy form might be an alternative, but this will obviously not be viable if the map needs to be transferred in a digital format. Capturing the map as an image file might also be a solution. The Shift+C keyboard shortcut in Global Mapper allows the map view to be saved as a JPEG, Bitmap, PNG, or TIFF image for this purpose.

Perhaps the best option for sharing the map with as wide an audience as possible is to export it as a PDF. In the previous lesson, we discussed the process of saving a PDF version of the map layout, but this can also be done directly from the map without the layout and design elements.

  1. With the imagery and parcels still displayed on the map, click the File menu and choose Export > Export PDF file…
    Note that both the imagery and vector polygons will be in the same file
  2. In the PDF Options dialog box, apply the following settings:
    • Paper Size: A4
    • Fill Page: Check this box
    • Orientation: Landscape

  3. Leave the remaining settings in their default state and click the OK button
  4. Name the file Black Mountain Parcels.pdf and save it in your My Maps folder
  5. Open the PDF in your default PDF reader

Adobe Acrobat includes options for turning off and on layers, displaying the coordinates while moving the cursor across the map, and measuring areas and lines using ground units (meters, feet, etc.). For this reason, the PDF represents the most interoperable and usable format with which data can be exported and shared from Global Mapper.


  • Global Mapper’s interoperability is reflected, not only in the number of data formats that can be imported, but also in the wide variety of formats that can be exported
  • When sharing data with other Global Mapper users, there is only one choice: Global Mapper Package files
  • For non-GIS users, exporting a PDF is a perfect way to share the contents of a workspace
  • Click here for more information

This concludes the Printing the Map and Sharing Data lesson, the final lesson in the Introduction to Global Mapper Course. Before completing the course, click here to take a five-question quiz.