MapInfo Pro in 64-bit is well and truly up and running!
From early on in the development and release process to now and in the future, Critchlow have been involved in helping Pitney Bowes test the design concepts and functionality of all MapInfo Pro releases.
And now that more and more MapInfo Pro users are switching over to the 64-bit version, we want to make sure that you're up to speed with how it works and are getting the most out of it.
We've compiled some helpful tips to get you started...
This blog is the final of four in our 4 Steps to Mastering MapInfo Pro 64-bit series and focuses on understanding how this new release is the best of the new and the old.
Mastering MapInfo Pro 64-bit
#4 The Best of Old and New
In a previous blog I discussed how the brain creates habits as a way of allowing the brain to work efficiently and therefore having "spare capacity" for times when it needs to work quickly (like when there is an earthquake).
In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that habits are a neurological loop that consists of three parts: a cue, a routine and a reward. Because existing habits are actions or routines that brain perceives to be the most efficient way to get something done or achieve an outcome they can be really hard to change.
To change a habit you need to replace the “routine” with another routine that results in achieving the same reward. However, the brain needs to think that the new routine takes less effort than the previous routine for it to become the core of the habit.
MapInfo has been around for a long time and consequently there are some long-time users with some very ingrained habits. For these users (and those not so long-time users) you won’t be able to escape it – you’ll have to learn some new routines. However, you’ll quickly adopt these new routines as they offer significant benefits to the old routines – the floating toolbar for the Map Window and the label gallery on the new ribbon are great examples of where you'll create more efficient routines.
The outcome is that with a few solid hours use over a couple of days you will master these new routines and be on your way to being more efficient and productive.
So what is the best of the old and the new when it comes to MapInfo Pro 64-bit? In which areas are you going to need to learn new habits and where can you still run on auto-pilot? Let's take a look...
The best of the new.
It goes without saying that in most cases the new and updated functionality is where you’re going to have to make the most changes to your habits. But, as discussed in the previous posts – you’re going to quickly learn these new habits as they offer significant productivity and efficiency gains.
These are the main areas where are you going to have to learn new tricks:
- Window management (Tabbed, floating and docked windows, the new Explorer window)
- Floating map toolbar (for accessing some of the most commonly used tools)
- The ribbon (understanding that context will control what you see)
- The Layout Designer (the layout window will no longer be available in MapInfo)
You'll be surprised at how quickly you learn the new habits required to work efficiently in the new MapInfo and it will be the accumulation of all of the new habits together that will really drive your efficiency and productivity.
The best of the old.
So while there will be some new tricks to learn, the 64-bit release is underpinned by the desire to make the transition for users as easy as possible. As such the files that most people use in MapInfo (.tab and .wor) will open just as they do in your current version.
That’s right, there’s nothing to do for you to start working with the new version and learning new habits apart from starting it up and opening your current files. Further to this, just about all of the functionality and MapBasic tools that shipped in previous versions of MapInfo have been ported across to the 64-bit version.
While the engineering team at Pitney Bowes have been busy migrating the existing tools to run and be positioned correctly in the new ribbon interface, MapInfo users also made it clear that there are a significant number of MapBasic tools that they had created over the years were essential to how they used MapInfo. Well, the great thing is that the majority of these tools will still run in the new version without any changes to the tools.
Speaking of MapBasic, there is a fantastic update for those that use the MapBasic window inside MapInfo, but I’ll leave that for you to discover once you’ve started using it.
There will be some MapBasic tools that will only run in the 32-bit version until they are updated or replaced. In this case it is great that both 32 and 64-bit versions of MapInfo can be installed and used at the same time on the same PC. They even use the same serial number and access code so you won’t have to worry about making sure you have the right key for the right version. This is just another example of making the transition as easy as possible and allowing users to remain productive while they do it.
A perfect balance.
MapInfo Pro 64-bit is the perfect combination of the old and new, which makes it a fantastic release and one that users will quickly migrate onto.
You will need to learn some new tricks but as I say to my two young children at dinner time when we serve up someting new - “try it and you’ll like it”. The same is true of MapInfo 64-bit. Try it, and you'll LOVE it.
We’ve covered a lot in this blog series so make sure you check out the other blog posts in the 4 Steps to Mastering MapInfo Pro 64-bit series and check out the Getting Familiar with MapInfo Pro 64-bit webinar series below. We're sure you'll like what you see!