Exporting Files

The following workflow uses the Black Mountain.gmw file that was saved at the end of the Accessing Online Data topic.

In the final lesson 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. We will consider three possible destinations or audiences for the map data or files that we need to share:

  • Global Mapper users.
  • Users of other GIS applications
  • 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, Global Mapper Package 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. For saving and sharing data to be used within Global Mapper, Global Mapper Package files have many benefits when compared to non-proprietary file formats. Key advantages include:

  • The ability to contain all data formats supported by Global Mapper (raster, vector, elevation formats, lidar, etc) in a single file.
  • Efficient compression of data to create more manageable file sizes for easily sharing data.
  • Options to contain any linked files such as external photographs to better share all data associated with the map.
  • Forward- and backward-compatibility within Global Mapper (excluding cases where new options within the format were added and may not be supported in earlier versions of Global Mapper).
  • Upon loading, a Global Mapper Package file recreates the original workspace structure in the recipient’s version of Global Mapper.

Complete the following workflow to create a Global Mapper Package (*.gmp) file from a previously created and saved workspace.

  1. From your My Maps folder, load the Black Mountain.gmw workspace that was created early in the course.
  2. In the Control Center, enable the display of all of the layers except the OpenStreetMap (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 using the Ctrl+U keyboard shortcut 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, but perhaps the best choice for sharing the map with as wide an audience as possible is to export it as a PDF, and Global Mapper offers two ways of doing this.

For a simple what-you-see-is-what-you-get PDF of the current map display, the File > Export menu includes an Export PDF File option. For a more professional quality map with cartographic layout and design elements, the Map Layout Editor, which includes both print and PDF export options, is the preferred method. In the final topic, we will create a map layout and export the result as a PDF file.

To simply capture the contents of the map display in an image file, the Shift+C keyboard shortcut can be used to save a JPEG, Bitmap, PNG, or TIFF file.

  • 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.
  • The Global Mapper Package format makes it easy to share an entire workspace with other Global Mapper users.
  • For non-GIS users, exporting a PDF is a perfect way to share the contents of a workspace.
  • Click here for more information on the supported export formats and options available in Global Mapper.

Click on the Mark Complete or Next Topic button to learn more about Using the Map Layout Editor in Global Mapper.