The New Operations:
The Bevel Effect
Is the World Flat? (Elevation Effects)
The Classify Operation uses multiple image
maps and a user defined 'training' map to perform supervised
maximum likelihood classifications. The user can employ single or
multiple band images for this process. The training map is used to
show the program what types of areas are represented by the data.
These areas are then treated as 'digital fingerprints' by MFworks
to examine the entire data sets and isolate other regions of the
image which have similar characteristics.
This helps you extract areas or features
of interest from satellite or aerial photos and is the foundation
for remote sensing applications. It can also save a great deal of
time and frustration by having the program do significant portions
of the geocoding (heads-up-digitizing) process.
The basis of advanced network analysis.
The Incremental Linkage Operation easily identifies and classifies
end nodes, intersections, forks, and other linear features. It
does so by examining the network in the target map. It then
classifies each cell of the network according to the relative
situation of that cell with respect to it's neighbours.
For example, if a cell is the terminus of
a line it will be recoded with a value representing an end point.
If the cell is the junction of three or four radiating lines, then
it will be recoded to represent the number and formation of that
union. This Operation can identify types of intersections, forks
in paths, turning points, and other network conditions.
Incremental Linkage represents the
foundation of any form of network analysis. It could be used to
identify and measure the junctions of roads, river morphology,
trail conditions, or intersections of any linear feature.
THE BEVEL EFFECT
THE WORLD FLAT?
Incremental Length provides a very
accurate measurement of linear features which can take the
underlying surface and grid bevelling into account. Whenever a
raster grid is applied to a surface for mapping purposes, each
cell must represent an overall average of the underlying land. As
a result, a raster cell might indicate an area that is slightly
more or less large than the feature that it represents would
actually be in the real world. For more information, see The
Bevel Effect below.
Incremental Length will take that
'bevelling' into account as it calculates the length of each
cell in a linear feature such as a stream or a road. Instead
of simply counting the number of cells in the feature and
multiplying this by the cellular resolution, Incremental Length
will perform a much more complex and accurate calculation to
achieve a more precise answer. The Operation will refer to cells
which are adjacent to the target cells and investigate their
properties. This bevel area can provide information which will
make length calculations much more accurate.
The results of the Incremental Length
Operations can be effectively used with the Score Operation in
MFworks to provide a wide series of spatial statistics such as
Sum, Max, Min, Average, Standard Deviation, and regional
THE BEVEL EFFECT
THE WORLD FLAT?
Incremental Partition provides a
description of a zone's boundary characteristics. A polygonal area
might be long and narrow, tapered, or roughly square in shape
while all having the same area. Incremental Partition is able to
describe the nature of a zone with regards to it's shape.
This Operation could be applied in land
use planning or environmental management contexts. For example, a
new warehouse might be planned as an infill building project in a
city. The local GIS technologist was asked to provide a map of all
vacant lots in the city with an area of 5000 square metres or
The resulting map indicates a number of
vacant lots where this area is available. However, while some of
the lots have a suitable shape for the warehouse, others are oddly
shaped. Incremental Partition could help identify and eliminate
zones that may meet the strict area criteria, but are long, narrow
lots which would not be suitable for a warehouse. This same
Operation can help identify the lots which have a shape which is
roughly square and which would be ideal for a warehouse.
Another application would be a form of
greenspace inventory. If a wildlife mandate requires that any
treed area be sufficient to support particular species of birds,
and that species needs a certain 'depth of woods' in order to
survive, this Operation could easily eliminate the area of
woodlands which are not suitable. For example, a thin band of
trees along a riverside might be attractive, but would not have
the right 'depth of woods' to support that species of bird.
Incremental Partition could identify those regions for exclusion
THE BEVEL EFFECT
Incremental Area provides a very accurate
measurement of a zone's area taking the underlying surface and
grid bevelling into account. Much like Incremental Length,
Incremental Area can calculate the area of polygonal shapes while
taking into account both the underlying surface elevation and the
slight over or under valuing of the grid data structure.
With this Operation it becomes very easy
to calculate the true area or coverage of land use in uneven
terrain. For example, many parks are located on or around
mountainous regions of the world. The area that the perimeter of a
park describes on a flat map is far less than the true surface of
the earth which is within the boundaries of the park. Incremental
Area will calculate the area of the surface of the park
including the hillsides and valley walls.
THE BEVEL EFFECT
THE WORLD FLAT?
Incremental Frontage provides a very accurate measurement of a zone's perimeter taking the underlying surface and grid bevelling into account. Much like Incremental Length and Area, Incremental Frontage will return a value for each cell in on the boundary between zones which represents the true length of that area in the real world including the variations in the terrain on which the boundary sits. The cell values in the result can be used with the Score Operation to calculate any number of spatial statistics for each polygon.
This Operation would be suitable for use
when calculating the perimeter of any area on a rough surface. For
example, the park described under the Incremental Area section
(above) would require the Incremental Frontage Operation in order
to get an accurate perimeter measurement. If the park ranger were
to want to put a fence up around the park, they would have to
account for the rise and fall of the terrain when ordering the
fence materials. If the ranger were to just measure the perimeter
from a flat map (or vector GIS) then the results would not take
the elevation of the surface into account. Incremental Frontage
would include the elevation into the perimeter measurement and
provide a more accurate answer.
THE BEVEL EFFECT
THE WORLD FLAT?
This previously independent Operation is
now included in the MFworks 2.6 for the MacOS update. The Warp
Operation allows one map layer to be reprojected based on its
geometry and the geometry of a second target map.
This Operation is very useful when the
user wishes to adjust a DEM or an image to fit well with an
established projection of linear or land use coverage information.
Warp may also be used to help mosaic two DEM's which, although
they are physically adjacent, might be projected into two
differing UTM zones.
The Bevel Effect
Whenever data is represented in a raster grid, there is some
inherent averaging that takes place. For example, if the data has
a cellular resolution of 10 metres on the ground, each cell in the
grid will represent an average of the data in that 10 square metre
area. If the information being represented is elevation, then that
cell (valued at x metres above or below sea level) is said to have
an average elevation in that region of x metres. This value is
then put into the cell as grid data.
In this example it is possible for the
cell to have a widely varying elevation over that 10 square metres
but most calculations using that data will simply use that average
value. In calculating the area of a feature, the cell resolution
is multiplied by the number of cells in the feature and the
results are shown on a new map layer.
The new Operations in MFworks 2.6 for the MacOS significantly
improve upon this averaging technique. By reading the values of
the surrounding cells, MFworks will now calculate a bevel effect
which can far more accurately represent the true characteristics
of that data. This increased the ability of users to present more
scientifically precise information to their audience.
Is the World Flat? (Elevation
The world is obviously not flat. However,
most GIS packages assume that it is. MFworks 2.6 for the MacOS is
leading a revolution in thinking about the world in real terms.
Several of the new Incremental Operations take advantage of any
elevation data you have for your area of study to provide
physically accurate information which takes elevation into
For example, a bicycle trail along a
river valley will wind between trees and vary greatly in
elevation. The hills and depressions in the trail contribute to
the actual overall distance that a rider must cycle. Incremental
Length would be able to provide a true measurement of the real
distance that the cyclist will ride as they move along the
Linear features or polygons with
elevations changes can only be accurately measured using this type
of Operation. The new Incremental Length, Area, and Frontage
Operations all provide the user with an option to include
elevation data along with the the two dimensional data.
Applications which would benefit from
these improved calculations include river morphology studies, road
surfacing projects, and trail length measurements, fertiliser
quantity prediction. fencing projects, and any form of travel
The Information window has always been
important for many users. This window has now been updated to help
make some of the more repetetive taskes a lot easier. On the lower
right area of this window, you will find two new buttons. These
are the Auto Align and Auto Cell Resolution buttons.
These two new functions replace tasks that
were formerly done by hand. Auto Align simplifies map preparation
prior to a Cover/Mosaic Operation. Auto Cell Resolution will help
users who create their own maps based on scanned or digitized
This is an addition in the Information
Window of an MFworks map layer. Clicking this button opens a new
dialog box where the user can align this map's Origin based on the
geometry of another map.
For example, if a user were to import a
series of SDTS Digital Elevation Models from the United States
Geological Survey (USGS) into MFworks, each map would arrive with
a complete geometry but with an Origin of 0,0 for the top left
corner. Until those Origins are corrected, the user could not
mosaic those maps together to form a single layer for analysis.
In this example, if one map was the
western half of a country, and another were the eastern half. The
user would have to look at the total number of columns in the
western map, and then manually set the Origin of the eastern map
to match the column number of the first map plus 1. This can be
tedious and is easy to make a mistake on when working with many
The Auto Align function will examine the
geometries of all the maps and will set the Origin of the target
map so that it will automatically fit beside its neighbours when
the user runs the Cover Mosaic Operation.
Many maps are imported with a particular resolution for each cell. Some data and images are even described
according to their cellular resolution. However, some maps do not
have this information. Maps such as scanned base maps, hand drawn
or digitised maps, and tabular data, have no resolution despite
sometimes containing geometry data. Other image types such as GIF,
TIFF, PICT, of BMP files contain no geometries at all.
The Auto Resolution feature will read the
maps geometry and will automatically calculate a suitable average
cell resolution based on that information. This is another example
of a previously tedious manual task which has been automated in
MFworks 2.6 for the MacOS . The Auto Resolution feature can be
found in the map Information window.
MFworks 2.6 for the MacOS has been strenuously tested and many
small improvements have been made to MFworks 2.0. Amongst these
are a less demanding memory allotment and improved speed and
Also new to MFworks 2.6 is the ability for
users to set the geometry name upon file export. The user may
choose to either use the default name given to the geometry by
MFworks, or they may enter another name entirely. This is useful
when the user is exporting the file created in MFworks to another
program which has particular expectations for Geometry names.
Therefore, the projection and datum information can be set
manually by the user. This would be particularly useful when
exporting GeoTIFF files and similar data.
The Dynamic Data Exchange -
This exciting new feature allows an
external program to pass information to MFworks for processing.
This allows a consultant or solution provider to build a custom
graphic user interface for their client, and use the proven power
of MFworks to perform analysis on the data.
The MFlink (DDE) will accept Operation
script statements from outside of MFworks provided that the
external program send the expected set of script statements. Since
almost all of the MFworks features are accessible by scripting,
this external program could make MFworks perform any of the on
board Operations and processes.
The external program can be created in any
language at all. This includes popular programming languages such
as Visual Basic, Visual Basic for Applications, C, C+, JAVA, and a
series of other environments.
A sample project could be a consultant who
deals primarily with a forestry related industry. They are hired
by a client to provide a solution to a constantly performed type
of spatial analysis. The consultant could create a customised
front end which is particular to their client.
The client can then use this specially
created interface to launch a series of pre-built scripts which
would be handled by MFworks in the background. This function would
allow the consultant to create a series of speciality applications
without having to build the entire processing engine from
This function is an optional extra feature
of MFworks 2.6 for the MacOS which is suggested for use by
consultants and solution providers. MFlink comes with a special
DLL for programmers to issue commands easily to MFworks.