Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Update from GTI

I've done a poor job of keeping the GTViewer Blog up-to-date, so I hope this post makes up for what you've been missing. My lack of communication isn’t a sign that nothing is going on, quite the contrary. Here is latest on what’s been up at GTI :

GTViewer for iOS/Android version 5.0

We launched GTViewer for iOS and Android over 7 years ago, and we're now on the fifth major version.  
  • Updated to use the new Enhanced Security Mode in GTViewer Data Server version 5.0.
  • New Redlining Drawing commands: ShapeLinestringDimensionLeader Line, and Symbol.
  • You can now use predefined symbols to use as redlines (similar to the Symbol Palette feature in GTViewer for Windows).
  • Redline Text now supports multi-line text and can be rotated (as well as scaled and moved). You can now edit Text as well.
  • New Redline Edits are available for all element types (move, scale, rotate).
  • A new Display Manager is available (in iOS only for the moment, but coming soon to Android). Besides the Preset List, a Category List allows you to toggle individual GTViewer Categories on or off.
  • More Detail File Support added. The Detail URL feature has been enhanced to match GTViewer for Windows. Support for a Detail View was also added (with a back button to return to the Geo View).
  • GUI enhancements include the user’s ability to rearrange the Project List, and Tablet versions show status bar text you can set to show the number of elements displayed or the Zoom Level. There was also a reorganization of the Map Page’s Menu to group items together (View, Raster, Data Collection, Session Graphics). The menu had grown so large it was difficult to find something without a lot of scrolling.
  • Support for a Bing Address Query with auto-suggestions was added (requires a paid subscription from Microsoft). We may support more Services (like Google and Here) for address queries in the future if there is a demand.
  • GTViewer for iOS/Android has been localized for German.  If you are willing to help with the translation, we will add more language localizations.

There are several new features planned for future versions:
  • Thematic Query support.
  • Customizable Symbols for the Data Collection Markers (beyond Arrow, Box, Circle).
  • Spatial Index for Data Collection records and Redlines (so the apps can handle unlimited numbers of each).
  • Continued expansion of the Data Collection/Web App interface to make creating more complicated applications easier.

GTViewer Data Server version

We're now on the fifth major version of the GTViewer Data Server
  • A brand-new Enhanced Security Mode is now available. While SSL (HTTPS) is still strongly recommended, the Enhanced Security mode should protect all of your data and credentials without it. There is also a new ZIP password scheme for the data files on the server, and it is significantly more difficult to crack the passwords. There are also new features allowing the GTViewer data to be stored outside the IIS data structure on the server and the ZIP mime type can be removed to prevent any direct downloading of the data files.
  • The Web Service interface to the GTViewer Data Server continues to grow by providing more methods and better security.
  • The GTDSAdmin.exe utility (a command-line tool using the Web Service to interface with the GTViewer Data Server) can now support full data management workflows. The goal for it was to do everything GTShareViewer could do (and more) from a script.
  • GTShareViewer has been upgraded to support the Enhanced Security mode. It also received a significant performance enhancement when dealing with large numbers of records. You can now export both Data Collection and Redline records to a GTG File, and you can import CSV files into a Project (as Proposed Records, for example). The long-term goal is for it to use the Web Service to interface with the GTViewer Data Server, but that will not affect the functionality of the app.
  • The GTViewer Data Client (Windows app) has been updated to use the new Security mode and several minor enhancements and fixes.
  • Everything (Server and Client) has been updated to use .NET Framework 4.8.
  • The GTViewer Data Server Box has also been updated. It is a self-contained, battery-powered box capable of distributing data to GTViewer for iOS/Android via WIFI. You can use it as a backup for when your server cannot be reached in emergency situations.

GTWeb Server version

It has been several years since we’ve had a major upgrade to GTWeb Server, but version 12 is currently in beta and provides several new features customers have been requesting.
  • The biggest enhancement is support for three different Map Services (Google, Bing, and Here) to use as a source for Background Imagery. Previously, the only supported background imagery was from the GTViewer data (in the form of ECW and/or MrSID files). Using a Map Service requires a paid subscription, but it is now an option when you don’t have imagery to use.
  • You can also use the three Map Services (Google, Bing, and Here) for an Address Locate Query. Using the address lookup service also requires a paid subscription (and it may be a separate fee from the Map Imagery subscription), but it can provide you with a very flexible Address Locate when your data does not support it.
  • The GPSRange entry in the GTWebService.gtm will now default to the GTViewer Data’s range.
  • A second Project Description property (Description2) is now supported to show additional information in the Info pop-up on the Map Page. You can use it for Dates, data version information, or other supplemental information that is not part of the Project Description.
  • GTWeb Server allows you to provide your own Privacy Policy accessible in GTWeb Client under the Menu on the Login Page and from the Map Page’s Info pop-up. You can provide your own Privacy Policy information if your data is accessible to the public.
  • The JPG Image Compression rate for the map images sent to the GTWeb Clients is now configurable.
  • The Coordinate System Library used by GTWeb Server has been upgraded to use the same Coordinate System definitions (CoordSys and CoordSysParm1) used by GTViewer. You no longer need 2 sets of definitions to specify the coordinate system for GTWeb.
  • Many of the Configuration parameters in the GTWebService.gtm file will now default to simplify the setup (like ServerName, LogfileDir, CacheDir, VirtualDirectory).
  • The GTWeb Browser Client (version 3.0) had an upgrade to give it a fresher look and to support the new Map Service functionality (background imagery and address query). It also supports a new feature called Project Groups which allows the Project Selection List to use a hierarchy of items to better manage many data Projects.
  • The GTWeb for Android client app (version 3.0) has been upgraded to support the Map Service and Project Group functionality and many other minor enhancements and fixes. Not available on Google Play yet, but is available for testing.
  • The GTWeb for iOS client app is still in development but will be available soon. The current version will still support the new GTWeb Server, but it will not provide access to the new functionality.
  • GTWeb Server has been upgraded to .NET Framework 4.8.

GTech Loader version

The GTech Loader has had many enhancements in the last couple of years to provide even better support for the export of GTech data. Most of the enhancements in the last several iterations deal with supporting GTech Dimension Elements. In 2017, version added basic support for Simple and Orthogonal dimensions. It was probably only about 5% to 10% of the dimension element functionality for those two types, but it conveyed the basic information. Since February, we have had a major effort to increase support for these elements, and after 5 months (of me mostly pulling my hair out) and with the gracious help of Hexagon Germany, the dimension element support has jumped up to 80-90% or more for Simple, Orthogonal, and Polar Dimension elements. We can probably support Radius-of-Two Points dimensions too if we can find anyone who actually uses them. There were several other enhancements as well:
  • Internal support for Point Thinning has been added (for Linestring and Polygon elements with more than the maximum number of points for a GTViewer element). You can enable thinning at the feature level.
  • Enhancements were made to the Global Properties feature (where you can apply feature level settings to an entire Category or Feature Group). It now includes Style Expressions, Group Expressions, and Point Thinning in addition to Filter Expressions and Record Filter Expressions.
  • Several fixes to better support HI_DPI and LOW_DPI screens.
  • Support for GTech LTT_USER Configuration settings and Metadata Language (LCID).
  • Many fixes for Foreign Language Characters.

GTViewer for Windows version

GTViewer for Windows is 20 years old this summer (Wow! What a ride!). A lot of customers are still running version 14 (and some are on version 11). It’s time to upgrade.

There have been a few fixes to GTViewer for Windows and a few enhancements in the last year. Most of this work was focused on packaging and Add-On app updates.
  • A new Installation has been created to be more Windows 10 friendly (at the expense of not supporting some older versions of Windows). This new setup is available for testing, but not officially released.
  • A new GTViewer Add-On Pack is available for testing. It includes many updates and fixes and has been repackaged in a new installer.
  • GetImagery – updated to support Google, Bing, and Here Map Services for Address Query and Background Imagery (similar to what the new GTWeb and GTViewer for iOS/Android support). It still requires a paid subscription but has been significantly improved.
  • Minor fixes and updates to the rest of the Add-On Apps: Dynamic Graphics Interface, Import Data, Preset Builder, Query Builder, Tooltip Builder, Search Redlines, Find Feature, and Show Google Maps.

There are many plans in store for GTViewer for Windows:
  • Update the Coordinate System functionality to use a newer PROJ4 Library. This shouldn’t change anything from the user’s perspective, but it will get a more current implementation of PROJ4 into the app.
  • Update the Raster Backdrop Libraries (ECW, MrSID). Long overdue and also difficult.
  • Try to integrate the GetImagery Add-On App’s functionality into GTViewer.
  • Try to integrate the Redline Sharing Add-On App’s functionality into GTViewer so it can share with GTViewer for iOS/Android natively without an Add-On App.
  • Drop out some unused functionality.
  • Jump all the way up to the latest Visual Studio. It is several versions behind.

GTData version is

GTData has grown so large that some lesser-used tools have been removed from the main installation. The smaller installation is called GTData Core to differentiate the two setups. Also, GTData Core is just a set of files instead of a full installation (this simplifies the process of getting the updated files to where you need them).
  • The most notable update for is a better GTIndex. It should produce a slightly better spatial index than it did before and possibly run a little faster (depending on your data). You should get up to date on just this one utility if nothing else.
  • Many minor fixes/enhancements to the tools: GTPreset, GTFont, GTIndex, GTStyleMgr.

There also some tools not delivered with GTData yet, but are available now.
  • GTExtractFiles is like GTExtract, but it generates the component files and not a GTX file, so the extract can be used with GTViewer Data Server and GTViewer for iOS/Android. It can extract by polygon (as well as range) and can search for the polygon in a GTG file based on its key. Other new options were added as well.
  • The GTReproject tool can reproject the graphics in a GTG file using PROJ4 Coordinate System strings as input and output parameters. There are some limitations, but it can reproject between many coordinate systems.

FME Reader/Writer Plugin version

This version of the plugin was compiled for FME 2019 (32 and 64 bit), but it will work with current FME versions. Each new version of FME used to require a new build of the plugin, but that has not been required for a while.
  • Version is newer than the one delivered with FME, and you can download and upgrade your FME with it.
  • A version compiled specifically for FME 2020 is in the pipeline. Unless there are requests for new functionality, we will maintain the current functionality as long as needed.

Let us know what you are interested in for future versions.