Import and Export

Drawings, images and terrains may be imported into a Manifold project from a very wide range of formats using menus under File - Import . Different formats and variations thereof amount to over one hundred different types of files that may be read by Manifold.


Manifold organizes importers by type of component. To import a file, choose File - Import and then the type of component desired in the sub-menu. For example, in the image below we are about to import an image.




In the Import dialog that follows choose the appropriate file type desired from the pull-down list available in the Files of type list box.




For example, in the screen shot above we have chosen JPEG file types. Note that some importers use the same file type choice for filenames that have similar, but different extensions. For example, the same JPEG file choice / importer is used for image files that have .jpg as well as .jpeg extensions.


The Files of type choice acts as a filter for what is displayed in the browse pane in the Import dialog. Simple file types are imported directly from the Import dialog by choosing the desired type in the Files of type box. More complex imports from data sources such as databases are imported by choosing Data Sources () in the Files of type box and then using the Data Source dialog.


When importing a simple file type, browse over to the file desired and click on it and press Open to import it, or simply double click on the file in the browse pane to open it and commence the import. We can import several files at once by using CTRL-click to choose more than one file when browsing in the Import dialog. We can also click on one file and then SHIFT-click on another to highlight all the files in between if we wish to choose several files for import.


Some importers are designed for use with files that are saved from specific applications. For example, the MapInfo MIF importer is used to import MapInfo files saved to .mif/.mid format. This format uses two files, a .mif file and an accompanying .mid file, to save a GIS drawing. To use this importer we need choose only the .mif file.


A few importers, such as the VMAP and the TIGER/Line importers are designed to work with very complex formats that provide information in many layers or drawings within one or more files. VMAP for example, is an extremely complex format involving numerous subfiles that are indexed by a main DHT file. Such formats are normally imported as numerous drawings at one time and automatically organized into one or more maps within the project.


Some formats, such as .e00 may contain drawings, surfaces or images. .e00 importers therefore appear as choices within the import dialogs for drawings, surfaces and images.


SDTS format may contain either drawings or surfaces. Import both types of components using the File - Import - Drawing choice even if you know the SDTS contains a "DEM" surface. A surface will automatically be created if the SDTS contains terrain elevation DEM data.


Not all importers are documented within this Help file. Many importers (especially for images) have no options are and operated by simply choosing the file to be imported. Other importers import data from very complex formats that require documentation beyond the scope of this document. Please consult the originator of the format for documentation on features.


Strings are Trimmed on Import


An option set in Tools - Options by default trims leading and trailing white space from strings. This may be turned off if desired. The trim function trims white space so that strings like " a b cdef " (with spaces before the a and spaces after the f) are trimmed to "a b cdef". Internal whitespace is unaffected.


Text Components Import / Export as ANSI Text


Manifold supports imports and exports of text components such as comments, scripts and queries. All such imports and exports are accomplished using ANSI text, not Unicode.


Text components may be imported or exported using any file extension. For example, .hdr "header" files are often plain ASCII text files that provide information about other files being imported. These may be imported as text to create a comments component.


Exporting Maps


A map component may be exported as a .dxf file, in which case all drawing and label layers will be exported into .dxf layers. Maps may also be exported to KML or KMZ format.


Otherwise, the layers that form a map should be exported into appropriate formats, for example, images exported into image formats, surfaces into surface formats, drawings into GIS or CAD drawing formats and so on.


XML Files Created upon Export and Used on Import


Not all formats to which Manifold can export have the ability to correctly save projection information. As a safety measure to ensure that projection information is never lost, Manifold always writes an accompanying .xml file when exporting drawings, images, labels, maps or surface components to a file. The accompanying .xml file contains coordinate system information and some other metadata. The XML file is created for all formats, even those that correctly save coordinate system information.


When Manifold imports drawings, images, labels or surfaces, the system will check for an accompanying .xml file that might have been written by Manifold. If such an .xml file exists, Manifold will read it and use the information it contains to load a correct coordinate system.


See the XML Accessory File Format topic for details on the internal organization of this file.


Important Note when Using 64-bit Manifold Editions


Due to a lack of required Microsoft facilities in 64-bit Windows systems, Manifold in 64-bit mode cannot export, import, export or link to DB, HTML, MDB, XLS or WKx format files. This includes no access to the MDB parts of Manifold MFD and MapInfo TAB imports. The workaround for importing or exporting such files is to launch Manifold in 32-bit mode by using the Manifold System (32-bit) shortcut, perform the export from or import into a .map project file and then re-launch Manifold in 64-bit mode using the Manifold System (64-bit) shortcut. Linking is more complex: the data must be in some format usable in 64-bit mode within 64-bit Windows systems, such as a SQL Server database. Alternatively, the data can be kept within a Manifold .map project file and linked using the Manifold ODBC driver.


Tech Tips


At times we would like to fetch a component that's been saved in a .map project file for use in another project file. One way to do this is to open a second instance of Manifold and to open the saved .map project. We can then Copy components from that project file, switch to our current working instance of Manifold and Paste them into our current project. Another way is to use the File - Import - Component command to import a component directly from a .map project file.


Whenever importing projected data (drawings, images or tables) from formats that do not provide projection information, be ready to visit the Edit - Assign Projection dialog after the import to make any necessary adjustments. See the Import a Shapefile example topic for a simple example and the Import Drawing - SHP, Shapefiles topic for a more extensive example of using Edit - Assign Projection to adjust projection parameters after import. See Creating Drawings from Geocoded Tables for information on table imports and usage when the table contains geocoded projected or unprojected data.


See Also


Importing Drawings

Importing Images

Importing Surfaces

Importing Tables

Linking Tables

Exporting Drawings

Exporting Images

Exporting Layouts

Exporting Surfaces

Exporting Tables