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484 post(s)
#18-Aug-21 20:31

"Soon", Starlink will likely help out, but for the time being, we send staff to the bush (mineral exploration) for periods in excess of 30 days, without any internet connectivity. Their sat phones don't have data service enabled on them, I suppose we could purchase that and develop SOPs around using them for dial-up connectivity to prevent our software from kill-switching itself, but yeesh.

We are likely an edge case, I get that, but I implore you to make the internet connectivity requirement on new builds something like 90 days. "At least 10 days" is going to be mayhem for us, requiring computer hardware exchanges on heli re-supply days, additional license management overhead, and obviously remaining on non-current builds forever isn't palatable to us either (though we'll do that for now on Release 8).

ArcGIS Pro allows you to "take license offline" (Start ArcGIS Pro with a Named User license—ArcGIS Pro | Documentation), so in some scenario a SQL4Arc user could have their extension time-out while their desktop GIS continues to operate? Perhaps license "check-out" is a system Manifold could implement?

Thanks for any thoughts on the topic.

Mike Pelletier

1,947 post(s)
#18-Aug-21 21:00

Agreed. This part stinks. I can also see much hassle in the future for people who maybe infrequent users of a laptop they take in the field.

kgf93 post(s)
#18-Aug-21 21:11

Agreed. This will be a big hassle for me. I can have a laptop offline for several months in remote areas.


9,886 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 01:07

It won't be a big hassle for me, but given the uncertainties of the world, I would pay at least double for a licence that didn't need to phone home.

I want my own data at my fingertips, with no exceptions, ever.

(I would say this is about access to data, not access to software. For all its magnificence, software is only ever the means.)


6,852 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 12:21

given the uncertainties of the world, I would pay at least double for a licence that didn't need to phone home.

That's easy to do, if that's all you really want. But usually people want more.

For example, they don't just want a license, they want a license that can be installed and re-installed many times after hardware upgrades, or easily moved to a different machine when you buy a new computer, and so on. And they don't want any "complicated" procedures involved in any of that. They want it all to be automatic, for example, moving to a new computer without having to deactivate on the old (in case the old computer is lost or inoperative). Using Internet makes it possible to profoundly simplify such procedures, to the point they don't even exist.

What Manifold is working on will do all that for completely offline situations as well: very easy, no complicated procedures. Creating that is definitely non-trivial development, so it will take some time.

In the meantime, there's a very simple alternative that could be done immediately, as in the very next build. It's not totally off-grid in that you'll need Internet access when you initially install and activate, but after that, you could go totally off grid and never be in contact with Internet again.

Manifold could introduce a single activation license. Call it an "off grid" or "Expedition" license. Buy that and you get a serial number that can activate a license just one time on one computer. You'd need Internet access to activate the license on that computer, but after that you could go off grid with that computer, with no need for even occasional Internet access.

Once activated, you could uninstall and install Manifold however many times you wanted on that computer. You could authorize new user logins on that computer. You could install new updates, like new Edge builds or Base builds with no need for re-activation. As long as your computer hardware does not change significantly (as is usually the case with portable computers used far away from Internet) and you don't do massive changes to Windows, it could run forever.

You could not move the license to a different computer. Want to run on a different computer? Buy another license. At $95 that's not expensive. Make a massive change to the computer like a new motherboard and totally new Windows installation? Buy another license.

It wouldn't have the conveniences of the current system, like endless regrowth of activations and thus endless moves to new systems, but it would be very simple and inexpensive, and not twice the cost of a current license. If 9 were priced more sensibly, like in the $245 range, such a single activation license would probably sell at a discount. But at $95 there's no room to go lower so it probably would be only $95.

How does that sound as a "no Internet" option?


9,886 post(s)
#20-Aug-21 00:28

I would really like that option Dimitri--literally as an option.

For example, I would buy one licence in that form--activated once, thereafter locked to one computer, to be replaced with a new licence as and if necessary, but always available. I would put that on my most trusted laptop.

On the other hand, I would prefer to keep the current form of licence for my desktops. That is, activate, with it being necessary to keep in touch via internet from time to time, and with some ability to relocate the activation to a different computer within reason.

Manifold has always been very generous with its licensing as well as its pricing.


6,852 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 10:19

I can also see much hassle in the future for people who maybe infrequent users of a laptop they take in the field.

How many people actually doing GIS in the field, who require read/write (not just Viewer), do you know that take a laptop out into the field away from any cell phone coverage for more than ten days? If you have cell coverage, you have a local Internet hot spot for your computer.

The world is so saturated with cell phone coverage that it is difficult to find an itinerary that takes you completely out of cell phone or Internet coverage for more than ten days. That's very, very unlikely in the US in particular. Even in Base Camp on Mt. Everest you have Internet.

For all that, for sure, there are indeed people who travel on expeditions or live off-grid where they will be doing GIS while completely out of contact with Internet or cell phone coverage for more than ten days, and where they don't want to buy a sat phone to get coverage.

But those are a very small percentage of GIS users. How much expense is the other 99.999% of GIS users willing to pay, in the form of reduced conveniences or in the form of extra cost, to pay for the development expense to fit the needs of 0.001 % of GIS users who really are out of cell phone and Internet coverage for extended periods of time?

For those people who are doing real life work in such edge cases, it would be useful to know what they are doing that they cannot do with 9.0.174 in the case of 9 or 8.0.30 in the case of 8. ArcGIS editions aren't a useful comparison, since those tend to come out in much wider intervals than the time required for Manifold to introduce an off-line solution.

Mike Pelletier

1,947 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 15:26

I'm thinking of the tech unsavy out there that are fine with paying $99 for a license (or someone buys it for them) because they occasionallyneed mapping info in the field and need to print or manage a layer. They head out in the morning and grab the laptop. Forgetting they haven't used the laptop in a few weeks, they are now out in the hills without wifi. Maybe they have cell coverage, but often not unless they are along a major road. If they do have cell, do they know how to connect?

Accommodating these type people I think should be a taken seriously. You can sell me one license and I can sell for you tens more licenses if the software works for the occasional user with a small list of uses. Give me the tools to set them up a specific list of procedures for their particular field of expertise. Currently, the software is missing too many basic GIS tools to make this work well.


9,773 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 15:36

What do you think about a single-activation license option that does not need Internet connectivity as discussed by Dimitri above?

We hear you on missing basic tools. We have been working on some and will have some additions in the next build, with more coming later. Hopefully we can change this significantly in the next few months.

Mike Pelletier

1,947 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 16:27

Single activation or some sort of deactivation scheme seems fine but as Dimitri points out maybe neither is necessary for my purposes. That is a good question though for the other posters who have people staying out in the field for longer times.

I know you get the lack of basic tools but I still wonder if Mfd decision makers get the sales potential associated with the scenario described above. Maybe I'm wrong but it sure seems that you convert one GIS guy to Mfd and then because of the low cost it could be put on many other machines within an organization.

Perhaps the thinking has gone away from installed software to web maps for such users, or at least more so in the ESRI world. I think there is room for both and mfd low cost makes the former more doable and would have the advantages of handling more data and more customization.


6,852 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 15:51

they are now out in the hills without wifi. Maybe they have cell coverage, but often not unless they are along a major road. If they do have cell, do they know how to connect?

There are no problems with the above scenario. They get out into the hills, no wifi and no cell coverage, they fire up their laptop and launch Manifold and it works perfectly. Where's the problem?

They only have an issue if after launching Manifold they *stay* out in the hills with no wifi and no cell coverage for more than ten days in a row. You don't get that too often in the US, as most people want to touch base with civilization (meaning phone coverage at least) more frequently than every ten days.

But for people who really do want to have a totally unplugged license, what do you think about using a single activation license (maybe call it a "dedicated" license) so they install/activate once on their laptops and then forget about ever needing Internet?

By the way, using a phone as a hot spot is really easy. For example, android phones have "hotspot" setting in their Settings, under Mobile network. Takes just a few seconds to show how, it's that easy. Balancing the cost of a specialized solution with the cost of half a minute to learn how to use what's already there, using cell phones as hot spots is definitely bang for the buck if it lets you use a default solution.

Mike Pelletier

1,947 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 17:00

Thanks for clarifying how it works. That does seem much better. So they get 10 days of consecutive days or the 10 days could be spaced out over the course over a long time, like a year?

Didn't know hotspot is that easy now, thanks.


9,773 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 17:11

10 consecutive days, but there's no limit to how often you get them. Here's what you can do in case you think you might not have the Internet connection for a prolonged period of time: launch Manifold while you still have the connection (in the office), invoke Help - About, click Check License, get "the license is OK", shutdown Manifold. Then you can go out and even if there is no connection at all, you have at least 10 days of continued function. The moment you touch civilization, you can Check License again to touch base and then you have at least 10 days of continued function again. There are no limits onto how often you go into the wild that way. You just have to check back from time to time.


3,222 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 17:49

what about the guy who goes on vacation for 2 weeks, and doesn't bring his computer/laptop with him. And, lets assume that the laptop/computer is powered off during those two weeks of vacation. How would that play out?


I see that once you are connected to the Internet, the activation will be back (BTW, love the apple trees on the activation help page :-)


3,222 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 18:11

I assume this means you cannot use 2 activations: one for a desktop and one for a laptop. In 8, it was possible to use 2 activations as described here.


6,852 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 19:20

you cannot use 2 activations: one for a desktop and one for a laptop

Correct. See the "Differences from the Legacy System" section of the New Activation page, where it goes into discussing "One License, One Machine."


6,852 post(s)
#19-Aug-21 09:45

From the New Activation page:

"Over time, Manifold intends to introduce new features in the new activation system that will enable people who have no contact with Internet to use Manifold products. Those new features will be developed for users in national security settings where no contacts with external servers are allowed, and for users operating Manifold in very remote regions where even occasional Internet contacts by satellite telephone are not available."

Until that's done an iron clad solution is sticking with 9.0.174 and 8.0.30. That's what you've been using to date out in the bush (can't use an Edge build out in the bush). So, just keep doing that until Manifold introduces off-line options.

Using Internet provides really super conveniences:

That's *way* simpler than the old system, and no need for Administrator login either. :-)

Without Internet you don't get those conveniences or other conveniences. For example, without Internet you can't on the spot download the latest Edge build. You'll always be using a Base build, a few builds behind until you get Internet or until a USB drive can be flown in.

Using the new system, the "at least" 10 days bit is a worse case scenario for people who just pick up a laptop and go, without launching Manifold while still in contact with Internet. If that's not enough for an expedition, then stick with 9.0.174 or 8.0.30, at least until Manifold introduces an offline solution.

There are lots of ways of implementing completely "offline" use, but they are not without complications. Some, like Esri's can involve significant hassles requiring laborious contacts with Esri and such, for example, in the case of a lost computer. Manifold would like to avoid such hassles, and the "offline" system that's planned will do that.


189 post(s)
#22-Sep-21 16:03

Hi Dimitri,

I installed Manifold yesterday and the new activation panel comes up. I've tried using the serial number that I was issued for Manifold 9.0.x in 2018, but it's not valid. I've already sent in an email to tech support, I presume they will be able to provide me with my serial number without me having to purchase a new licence. I'll be upgrading my Manifold 9.0.30 -> 8.0.31 as well, so I'll have to get that serial number as well.


6,852 post(s)
#22-Sep-21 19:10

I've tried using the serial number that I was issued for Manifold 9.0.x in 2018, but it's not valid. I've already sent in an email to tech support, I presume they will be able to provide me with my serial number without me having to purchase a new licence.

Follow the instructions in the Activation Support page and all will be well. Even faster is to follow the advice in the Troubleshooting page.

With the new Activation system being so absurdly simple the only way to get it wrong is a simple error, like copying a serial number and missing a few digits when you copy it, so what you paste is not the complete serial number. Enter an incomplete serial number and, as expected, it will not be a valid number.

That's good, because simple errors are really easy to fix. Just copy the whole thing and then paste.


834 post(s)
#21-Oct-21 17:43

[deleted] Do not use the forum for activation questions: contact Manifold tech support for free activation support.


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