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MapInfo Pro™ Monthly Journal
Interactive thematic mapping in MapInfo Pro v16.0

Raster MapInfo Pro v16.0 is scheduled to be released in September 2016. For those of you who are curious to see what is coming, this article will preview the new interactive thematic mapping capabilities. We think a lot of you are going to like these improvements!

Getting Started

Creating a thematic map in MapInfo Pro v16.0 works the same way as before. Use the Add Theme button on the Map tab and go through the dialog wizard process.

Map tab

One tip is that the choices you make can be changed later. What's more, you will find changes are easier to make than before so do not worry too much if you are not satisfied with your initial thematic map.

For the purposes of brevity, this article will not go into the details of creating the first thematic map. All you have to do is go through the three step dialog wizard. Once you have your thematic map created, you can explore the new interactive capabilities. This is where the magic happens...

Interactive Thematic Mapping

The following screenshot provides an overview. To use the new interactive ribbon tab, select the thematic layer in the Layer Control window and click on the Theme tab.

annotated screenshot

On the Theme ribbon tab, you can interact with the thematic map. In this example a ranged thematic map is shown. You can change the range calculation method, the colors and styles used and how the ranges are rounded off. You can even choose a different column to base the thematic map on. This can be a big time saver!

You are also able to turn the range bins off and on in Layer control, as desired. This is very interactive! There is an example of using the interactive range bins further in this article.

The Theme ribbon control adapts to the type of thematic map being created. Here is what the ribbon tab looks like for a graduated symbol map:

grad symbol
The Theme tab showing the options to modify a Graduated Symbol thematic map.

Make beautiful maps using the ColorBrewer color palettes

The Ranged and Individual values thematic map offer new new color palettes. These new palettes are based on the excellent ColorBrewer web site which you can check out here: http://www.colorbrewer2.org.

Here are the palette options for the Individual Values thematic map:

ind value palette

And here are the palettes for Ranged thematic maps.

range palettes

You can apply these color palettes to any ranged thematic map. If you have a ranged thematic map based on a point file it will keep the shape of the symbols as displayed and apply the colors from the palette. The same is true for a table of line objects as well.

Interactive range bins

Here is a technique you may wish to explore. This pertains to the Ranged type of thematic map.

As mentioned above, it is possible to turn the individual range bins on and off in Layer Control. This capability, combined with the ability to change the data column being used in the thematic map, can be used to good effect to do analysis.

In the screen shots below a table of United Kingdom (UK) Output Area boundaries (these are small census boundaries) are shaded according to two different population variables. One is the count of people in the age group 30 to 34. The second is the population of 60 to 64 year olds. All but the top range have been turned off. This is a very quick way to cycle through different demographic variables to do comparisons. In this example, the top areas for 60 to 64 year olds are clearly outside of the city center while the top range for the 30 to 34 year olds has gravitated to the city center.

And to emphasize how easy this was, once the first map was created, the second thematic was generated by just changing the data column. All that was required is two mouse clicks!

interactive ranges
Background map data is StreetPro UK © TomTom BV. The UK Output Areas contains National Statistics data © Crown copyright and database right 2012 and contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2012.

A couple of additional comments:
  • In the example shown above, the ranges are being re-calculated for each thematic map. That happens "on-the-fly". If you would prefer a consistent set of ranges to compare across different data columns, that is possible by creating a set of Custom Ranges.
  • Keep in mind the first time you create a thematic map for any given column, an index will need to be created. If your dataset is large that could take some time. Once indices have been created then subsequent thematic maps will be created more quickly.
Of course, there's more...

MapInfo Pro v16.0 will have a lot of additional improvements. This includes many enhancements to MapInfo Pro Advanced. We'll cover these in future issues but a couple of hints include WMTS and WFS v2.0 support, improvements to the Layout Designer, support for multi-file gridding (in MapInfo Pro Advanced), and other usability and performance improvements. Stay tuned!

Want a great resource to help you learn the 64 bit version of MapInfo Pro?

The MapInfo Pro Journal archive page includes a list of resources for the 64 bit version. You can visit it here: http://web.pb.com/mapinfopro-archive/everything-64-bit/

It includes articles, short form and long form video tutorials, a command reference and more!

Written by Tom Probert, Editor of "The MapInfo Professional" journal
When not writing articles for "The MapInfo Professional", Tom enjoys talking to MI Pro users at conferences and events. When not working he likes to see movies with car chases, explosions and kung-fu fighting.