Sensor Web, Geoprocessing, Security & GeoRM, Geostatistics, Semantics, 3D, Ilwis, Earth Observation

What to expect of Ilwis 3.8

March 26th, 2012 @ 08:04 by Martin Schouwenburg
Posted in ILWIS

Though Ilwis 3.8 is still some 3 weeks away it seems appropriate to recapitulate what can be expected of 3.8. This blog entry will not be a detailed description, that will come with the readme of 3.8. It is a relatively big release and if not for (internal) political reasons (don’t ask :p) I would have called it 4.0 or something.

The main reason why 3.8 is made is of course the updated graphics but there many other changes/extensions that also improve the software. The changes fall into the following categories.

  • Update graphics system. The whole system of how Ilwis draws maps has been rewritten. Nothing remains of the old system. With this comes an extensive system of options how to manage the visualization and tune it for visual analysis. Animations and 3D have become equal partners with the regular 2D visualizations in terms of functionality and ease of use.
  • As a consequence of the above the old display options form has disappeared and the whole set of options are now controlled by the layer tree on the left side of the mapwindow.
  • The MapWindow gained its own commandline with which maps can be calculated and directly added to the mapwindow.
  • A set of basemaps has been added that act like a kind of system objects(maps) and can be used everywhere as extra layers in a mapwindow.
  • The old pixelinfo is now a regular part of the mapwindow
  • New applications. A set of applications, mainly aimed at maplists in some form has been added. Because Animations have become more important the need for some operations that worked on whole maplists (apart from what can be done through MaplsitApplication) has increased.
  • Translation system has been revamped and a spanish translation has been added.
  • A webserver system has been added and ilwis can now function as wps server.
  • The whole help system has moved to a set of html files that can be freely changed. Internally they were already html files but because they were bundled in the microsoft help format they were dificult to edit.
  • The old layout system has been removed. Printing is now done by a WYSIWYG copy/paste into an appropriate program that you can use for printing.
  • The Time domain has been added to Ilwis ( basically a date-time).In Ilwis it is now possible to define time in a correct way.
  • The operation list of the catalog has been extended with a finder option to filter quickly through the long list of applications that ilwis has.
  • Updated SEBS module.

Note that many of these changes are described in detail in a number of blog entries that I have produced since September 2011 on the 52n web site.

There are also a few things that have not(yet) been done and will have to wait until the 3.8.1. I could have waited with the 3.8 until these things were also finished but it is for me not practical to delay the 3.8 further. So what is missing?

  • Polygon editor. I have now the technology to make a full fledged polygon editor but it is quite a time consuming task to make this good enough. So I postponed it.
  • Sample set editor. I have version but that is not very stable nor very good. So I must revisit this for after the 3.8

As far as I know these are the only things that are missing.


There are few consequences to all these changes.

  • The help files with respect to the mapwindow are not correct anymore. I don’t have the time nor talent to update these files.
  • Newer applications don’t have help. This is a bit annoying as it may not always be obvious how an application works.
  • Ilwis now needs graphics board/chip with at least 128 mb of graphics memory. This is a consequence of using OpenGL has graphics engine and because we wanted high performance graphics. As far as I know this mainly impact animations and 3D which heavily rely on the graphics memory. More memory enables to use of bigger data sets in these cases.

So that is it. It took longer than I hoped ( as always 🙂 ) but I did include more than I originally planned. Together with my coleague Bas Retsios (who did invaluable work on the raster engine) I think we can be satisfied with the result. If there are no further hickups you will be able to see the final result on april the 17 th. regards,

Martin Schouwenburg



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