Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Add On Applications for GTViewer 14

GTViewer has supported External Applications from its beginning. These custom apps can be written in VB6, VC++, VB.NET, or C# and will extend GTViewer’s functionality to solve problems specific to your workflow.   External Apps have access to GTViewer’s extensive API (over 400 methods and events) to perform a vast array of tasks.  External Apps appear as if they are part of GTViewer’s interface and show up as menu items and/or on ToolBoxes.   Some examples of External Apps include Pole Inspection, Pole Top Inventory, Joint Use Identification, Upstream/Downstream Network Tracking, Gas Valve Isolation, Loop Makeup, Fiber OTDR, Outage Analysis, and many more.

Traditionally, these External Apps have been specified in your dataset (in the .GTM File) and when a particular dataset is opened in GTViewer, the External Apps are available.   Over the years, there has been an accumulation of External Apps that are generic in nature and could readily apply to any dataset.  For example, the Dynamic Graphics interface (which is an External App) can be used with any dataset, but you have to add its specification to each dataset’s .GTM file before you want to use it.  This task is a trivial, but it inspired a new feature in GTViewer 14 called Add On Apps.

Add On Apps are exactly like any other External Application with one exception; their specification is made at the product level and not in the dataset.   Once an Add On is configured, it is available to all datasets opened in GTViewer without any modification to their .GTM file.  On a technical level, the Add On App has a specification file placed in a in the user’s configuration file directory for GTViewer (%UsersData%/Graphics Technologies Inc/GTViewer/AddOns).  The specification file contains the entry that would normally be placed in the [External Applications] section of the .GTM file.  The installation for an Add On App can also place the specification file in the appropriate directory and the Add On App will be immediately available to GTViewer with no other modification necessary.

Since Add On Apps will be available to all datasets in GTViewer, they should provide generic functionality that applies to all datasets or at the very least perform tests to verify that the functionality they perform is applicable.  GTI has 6 sample Add On Apps available with the release of GTViewer 14:  Show Google Maps, Feature Tooltip Builder, Query Builder, Search Redlines, Where Am I, and GTSpot Importer.  A description of each is given below:

  • Show Google Maps – takes the center point of the active view, converts it to latitude/longitude, and opens a URL to Google Maps centered on the same point.  This application has no interface, and it is also available as sample code.

  • Feature Tooltip Builder – assists in the creating, editing, and testing of Feature Tooltip definitions in GTViewer.  Feature Tooltips show a tooltip for a feature when the mouse hovers over it.  The tooltip contains whatever information was specified in the definition using any of the feature’s tabular attribute values.  While not terribly hard to create, a tooltip definition is prone to error and is tedious to specify especially if you need to create a large number of them.  The Tooltip Builder allows you to select a feature in the map view and all of its attributes are shown to the user so they can point and click to build the desired tooltip.  The tooltip can be tested immediately, and its definition can be copied and pasted into the .GTM file to make it permanent.

  • Query Builder –assists in the creation of a Query Definition File for GTQuery (which compiles the definition into a .qry file and is used by GTViewer for locate, thematic, graphic offset, and connectivity queries).   The Query Definition File has long been veiled in a cloud of mystery because of it minimal documentation and its constantly changed to support new functionality.  However, the Query Builder simplifies the process of defining a Query Definition File and makes it unnecessary to find sample definition files or scour the documentation or blog for information on the many different entries.  Using the Query Builder is simple.  The user selects a feature in the map view and its graphic and tabular information are loaded to help guide the query creation in a point and click fashion.  The end result is a Query Definition File that can be compiled with GTQuery.

  • Search Redlines – provides a search tool for finding any redline text or any string contained in a redline element’s embedded data.  If you have a large amount of redline data, this tool can help you easily find elements similar to the way you find features with a Locate Query.  The search can be limited to redlines in the active view and also provides a variety of text comparison methods (begins with, ends with, contains, and exact match).

  • Where Am I? –shows the user a list of all polygons contain the point click with the mouse.  By default, it will show polygons containing the point using the polygon’s Filter Group Name and Filter Name as an identifier.   This app can also be configured to show only certain polygons and a specific attribute from a polygon’s associated tabular data (instead of the filter information).   Selecting an item in the list of polygons will locate it in the view.  You can also show the polygon’s Attribute Information, and copy the list of polygons to the clipboard.

  • GTSpot Importer - connects to a GTSpot Server and loads all GTSpot records in a dataset’s area.  It then displays the results as Data Monitor symbols in GTViewer and a tabular list of GTSpot records (Category, Note, Date, Time, User, etc.).  Clicking on a record will locate the item in the map view and display its thumbnail image (if available).  Clicking on a Data Monitor symbol will find the record in the tabular list, and clicking on the image thumbnail will display a full size version.


To use any of the Add On Apps, you can download them from the GTI ftp site.  All apps have the zip password: gtviewer

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

GTViewer version 14 has been Released!

 GTViewer 14 has been released.

New Features:

 Pan and Zoom Enhancements
  • By popular demand, the mouse-wheel zoom in and out are now anchored to the mouse point instead of the view center.
  • The regular zoom out is anchored on the first click instead of the view center.
  • The middle mouse button (usually associated with the mouse wheel) can be used to pan.
Style Name Map and Style Definition Id
  • Now supported in GTX file as well as the GTM File
  • Enhanced to allow Abstract Style Names which can be mapped to a list of Zoom Level Ranges and Style Definition names (rather than always being mapped to a list).
  • Support for Style Name Map in the FME Writer Plugin
Session Graphics (Redlines)
  • Drawing Info Dialog has been provided for most drawing commands to show segment length, total length, and Angle.
  • Reference Lines are now shown when drawing Circles and Rectangles, and on element Moves.
  • Draw Text, Draw Dimension, and Draw Symbol dialogs are now non-modal.
  • Draw Text and Draw Dimension dialogs have been updated to make them more user-friendly.
Display Presets
  • Default button has been added to Dialog to return the settings to their original settings (without having to have a preset for this configuration).
  • Default Preset can now be specified in the GTM file.
 Add On Apps
  • Add On Applications are like any other External Application used with GTViewer with the exception that you do not have to specify them in the data’s GTM file.  Once installed, they will appear in the Query or Application menu for all datasets.
  • Available Add On Apps:   Feature Tooltip Builder, Feature Tooltip Definition Builder,  GTSpot Viewer
Coordinate System Changes
  • A new system for projecting coordinates from the data's coordinate system to latitude/longitude and vice versa have been implemented.
  • Coordinate Systems are now specified as a Proj.4 string which is much easier than the previous method.
  • This change requires the coordinate system to be respecified in your data.  See this post for more information or contact GTI Support.
Dynamic Graphics
  • Feature Counting will now work with Dynamic Graphic elements.
  • Command to copy Dynamic Graphics to the Session Category.
  • Dynamic Graphics can have the display of its Actions controlled by ToolBox buttons.
Miscellaneous New Features
  • View Location History now stored in session.
  • New Command-Line options:  -indColor, -sess
  • Separator Lines can now be specified in the Application menu list.
  • Data Encryption now supported with the Tabular Data files.
  • The Thematic Query dialog now supports a Total Length command.
  • Data Monitors now support s Symbol elements.
  • Admin Key combinations added:  Shift-Ctrl-Alt-S will enable the select of all filters and categories, Shift-Ctrl-Alt-E will enable the Edit Style button on the Attribute Info Dialog’s Element tab.