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Plot2GE MapInfo Tool v1.

7 Users Guide
rTools MapInfo Tools Pack

Figure 1 - Example Google Earth plot

Figure 2 - Plot2GE Configuration

May 2010


This tool is under development and giving no warranty , it may be not working or even working wrong in some circumstances. Use at your own risk. Please report any error or inconvenient result with non-confidential but maximum details. MapInfo , Pitney Bowes , Google , Google Earth belong to their respective owners.


Getting Started
What is Plot2GE designed for?
The aim of creating this tool is visualizing 2D mapped of any distributed data in the 3D world of Googles amazing world simulation program called Google Earth.

What kind of data can be used?

Any numerical data introduced to MapInfo Professional that will not be devided more than 7 ranges can be used.

What is the benefit of Plot2GE over other tools?

Plot2GE tool came out of necessity of visualizing data in Google Earth colorized according to defined ranges. So it is being prepared especially for this case.

Downloading And Installing

Where to find?
You may find the tool in my personal websites plot2ge corner. Or directly from following link.

How to install and run?

You will not need to install the tool. Just use your favorite program to unzip the downloaded file. To load the tool in MapInfo Professional just double click on .mbx file or select Run MapBasic Program from Tools menu and select the .mbx file from the tool directory.

Figure 3 - Tool Menu


How to load the tool automaticaly?

I would recommend you to configure the tool from Tool Manager Menu to autoload when you start MapInfo Professional. Write a title and select the location of the .mbx file. If you add the tool into Tool Manager and select it to be autoloaded , you will not need to load it anymore, it will already be there when you open MapInfo Professional.

Figure 4- Tool manager window


Getting Around
What will change when the tool loaded? You will see a new menu on MapInfo Professionals menu bar called rTools. In this menu you will find Plot2GE menu. And also a Button Bar will be extended with 3 icons for Plot2GE.

In cases that you will need to work different data types and ranges you will not need to change the configuration every time you use the tool for different ranges , colors or totaly different purposes. For every different reason of dividing into ranges and colors , you may create a profile so next time you will be using the same ranges , colors and configuration you can just choose previously created profile and go straight ahead with it.


Figure 6 - Plot2GE Button Bar Figure 5 Plot2GE Menu

What are profiles used for?

How to choose profile

From Plot2GE menu , choose Select Profile and from the menu choose the profile that you want to be active profile. Your active profile will define the current configuration and any change on current configuration will be written on active profile.

Figure 7 - Select Profile Dialog

How many profiles i can have?

You may have up to 9 different profiles. This is for now hardcoded limit just because there was no need for more. It may be later increased in case of necessity.

Changing name of a profile

Firstly select your profile you want to rename. And from Plot2GE menu select Rename Profile. Write your desired name for this profile that may remind you about what purpose you used this ranges , colors and configuration for.


Configuration window

Figure 8- Plot2GE Configuration Dialog

First thing to decide when making a profile is what you want to see as a result. If you dont know where to reach neither this tool nor any other will help you. So now be sure you have a clear goal to achive.

Defining ranges
Define your data ranges and firstly see how many ranges you want to have. Write down it to Number of Ranges. Define the limits for each range and write it down to correspoding box for the range upper or lower limit. The lower limit of one range will be the upper limit of the next range. Choose the color you want to use for each range.

Defining Invalid Value

An invalid value is a number you may not want to see in your results that normally should not be in there but somehow may appear in your data. Write down the desired value to Invalid value box. If you dont have any invalid value , just write there some number that will not be in any of ranges you decided to use. Be careful , if invalid value will fall in one of your ranges , it will discard the data that has same value. PLOT2GE USERS GUIDE 6

Changing the point size

You can change the size of the point that will be plotted in Google Earth with writing your desired value into Point Size box. In cases you will have dense data 0.2 value seems to be a reasonable value. The bigger the value , the bigger the size of the point will be.

To show values in Google Earth

In cases it is not enough for you the color that let you know in which range your value is , you may enable Show value option which will write also the exact value on the top of the point in Google Earth.

To show legend
If you want to see a legend in Google Earth that shows what are the limits for ranges and what color used for each range, you may enable Show Legend option. It will put the a legend on top left of the window in Google Earth.

Plotting average values

If you have more than one object in the same coordinates , you may have different values for each object. If you enable Calculate Average option , the tool will calculate the average for consequent data that are at the very same coordinate. In cases you use Calculate Average option , Plot Overlaps option will be discarded as you will have only one value per consequtive data that shares very same coordinates.

Plotting overlapped data

In cases you will have object at very same coordinates , but each may have different values , you may enable Plot Overlaps option , so the tool will plot the same amount of objects as your data. Keep in mind , if you enable Calculate Average option you will have only one data which makes this option discarded.

Automatic hiding of the points

Be careful about using this option , it may make your data not appear at all with wrong values. If you will have large amount of data to plot to Google Earth , you may face performance problems for loading or viewing your data. In such cases you may choose Enable Hiding option. That will let you decide in what zoom range your points will appear and disappear. Area Expand option will add extension to your coordinates so your point will be expanded to an area. The area will be calculated with adding and substracting this value from latitude and longtitude, so you will have a rectangular area.


Figure 9-Area Expanding

After you decide what your Area Expand Value will be you may think of this area being zoomed in or zoomed out in Google Earth. Visible Min value will define what is the minimum pixel numbers that your area should fill in the screen. If it will go below this value Google Earth will automatically hide your this point from your screen. Visible Max value will define what is the maximum pixel numbers that your area should fill in the screen. If it will go above this value Google Earth will automatically hide your this point from your screen. It may be little bit challenging to find appropriate values for your taste , but once you find it will bring the user experience in Google Earth to a smoother degree. I recommend you have a look on your free time.


The prerequisite for plotting a data is that to have a table with at least a column with values that will fit in to defined range of active profile. The coordinates will be fetched from the map itself so you do not need to have longitude, latitude values in your table. Once you configure your profile and open your table , you are ready to go with plotting. Choose Plot to GE from the menu or click to the Plot to GE icon on Button Bar. The tool will ask you to choose the table to use. After you choose the table , it will ask you the column to use. After that , it will ask you the place and the name to save file to.
Figure 11 - Column Select Dialog Figure 10- Table Select Dialog

Now you will have your file saved . And we are done.

Figure 12 - Save Dialog


Frequently Asked Questions

What version of MapInfo Professional needed to run Plot2GE? Version 9.0 or any upper version will be fine to use the tool. Will it work with lower versions like 8.0 or 8.5 or even earlier ? No, unfortunately it will not load in versions earlier than 9.0 because it is being compiled with MapBasic 9.0 and Pitney Bowes , the company behind MapInfo Professional, for technical reasons or strategical purposes decided not to load the tools compiled by MapBasic 9.0 in earlier versions of MapInfo Professional. Complain to Pitney Bowes about this issue. How can I request a feature or recommend an idea? Any request or idea is welcome , as far as not going over any type of limitations, like technical , copyright or timing limits. Just drop an email to my email box, i would be glad to hear back from any of users.

You may take a look to my website for any further improvements or corrections of the tool or contact me from my mail address. Ramazan YAGMUR