Like any other GIS, CS MapDrive is designed for highly efficient inputting and editing of spatial and attributive data stored in a unified DBMS.
As opposed to MapInfo Professional and ArcView applications, CS MapDrive GIS lacks its own proper format for data storage, which in itself is by no means a deficiency case, but, on the contrary, appears to be of a certain advantage for this technology. As being format unbound, CS MapDrive chooses the right DBMS depending on the data amount and the project development stage. Small-sized pilot projects employ Microsoft® Access DBMS storages, whereas larger amounts of data and greater number of users only need a mere switch-over to an Oracle® server DBMS requiring no additional CS MapDrive components. This DBMS substitution is available through a multilevel data source architecture enabling a single project to use spatial and attributive data from various storages, access to which is managed by data servers.
All CS MapDrive supported data storages use either MapInfo TAB, ArcView Shape, ArcInfo, AutoCAD file formats or take advantage of Microsoft® Access, Microsoft® SQL Server, and Oracle® DBMS. File storages can be ‘read-only’ accessed, while DBMS based storages allow a multi-user ‘read-and-write’ access. The real-time multi-user access capability provides a powerful and highly effective means for users to work collaboratively on middle-sized and large projects.
Abstraction from database specifics ensures a consistently high and equal functionality for all data sources. For example, spatial queries are supported not only for Oracle® Spatial® high functionality storages, but also can be made for MapInfo, ESRI, and Autodesk file storages. Moreover, cross-queries are available where data from various databases serve as a query source and criterion.
Among the wealth of various database types, CS MapDrive adopts and takes advantage of Oracle® DBMS as its fundamental data storage. Not surprisingly, this choice is stipulated by large GIS-related data amounts. To say more, Oracle® DBMS uses its own means to perform a major part of spatial data queries. Additionally, only storages of this type support a retrospective view feature that enables users to trace data life-line from past to now.
CS MapDrive provides a wide range of data-exporting capabilities. Data can be exported either in a database specific file format, such as ESRI Shape, or be migrated directly to an opened database. While the first capability is available for all types of storages, the second option is only available for DBMS databases.
CS MapDrive employs three different window types to operate data, i.e. a map window, a data window, and a report window. Map windows support multi-level hierarchic legends permitting styles for legend items and their current scale display.
CS MapDrive delivers an ample variety of styles and style settings. On top of various symbols, hatchings and line styles, there is a possibility to use functional attributes, i.e. functions yielding argument based results.
Different object creation modes as well as vector and raster snaps contribute to a lot greater capacity and simplification of work with spatial data. Attributive and spatial search commands used to locate objects on the map have also been made available for the user.
Spatial filters help omit redundant information that does not refer to user-defined area on the map and allow operation of large data amounts covering the whole region, as an example. CS MapDrive supports four spatial filtering types, two out of which can be easily set up by simply clicking the map in the center of the specified area.
Large projects can mount up to hundreds of feature classes. To avoid confusion in a huge number of source data and entrenched connections, there is a capability to use categories to operate the project. Categories help organize feature classes in a multi-level hierarchy based on user-defined criteria.
Map windows provide the user with a capability to calibrate vector and raster objects by placing them on specified reference points.
As opposed to map windows, data windows allow display of attributes of a single data source only, i.e. of a single feature class or a single query. Data windows provide a great number of ways to operate attributive information including extended ‘search’ and ‘replace’ options along with traditional navigation and data sorting.
Filtering options simplify work with data to a great extend and allow display of only those rows meeting the specified criteria. Multiple filtering is available, where each consecutive filtering excludes irrelevant information from the data window.
CS MapDrive relations are used for the benefit of a simpler and more effective way of reference-assisted attributive data inputting. The user is provided with the ability to select a value from the list instead of typing it in. To serve this ability, CS MapDrive has been equipped with a relations editor that locates a specific reference and identifies a feature class related to it as well as data to be chosen from it.
Report windows are used to create and publish reports. The highly-popular Crystal Reports has been integrated within CS MapDrive to operate reports.
Attributive data can be retrieved and integrated into a report from any CS MapDrive data source or/and from any currently open data windows. Extended map printing option allows the user to insert spatial data into a predefined report template. All Crystal Reports external data source access mechanisms are operational.
CS MapDrive’s core fundamental rests on the use of the open architecture that involves new additional capabilities to expand CS MapDrive functionality.