I see that Manifold 8.0 is out and sounds like a great leap forward from prior Manifold versions and just a great leap forward period.
I've heard a lot about Manifold lately via various blogs e.g A manifold blogger and just general web stumbling.
For example we see James blog has a lot of rants and raves about Manifold
and Simon Greener, seems to like it and details it in his Mainfold Tips and Tricks, granted those tips are kind of old.
Ironically I haven't physically come into contact with anyone using Manifold. Most of what I get when I ask my GIS neighbors is "What's that?"
Just from my general readings of it - it sounds like a database spatial analysts / .NET Windows developer's dream tool.
- Supports Oracle Spatial, ESRI Geodatabase, Shape, and the new version 8.0 supports - PostGIS, IBM DBII Spatial Blade, and SQL Server 2008 Spatial Katmai which hasn't even come out yet.
- A free Manifold Spatial Extender for SQL Server 2005 that provides spatial index capability to SQL Server 2005
- The price is fairly affordable compared to ArcGIS and MapInfo tools.
- Relatively inexpensive add-ons for doing sophisiticated GIS processing
- A GIS tool that is an honest to goodness 64-bit capable - not running in some WOW64 emulation layer.
- Direct SFSQL and database access - not some funky middleware to hop thru.
- IronPython scripting and I assume other .NET scripting as well.
If this product is even 25% as good as it sounds like - it is a REALLY REALLY good value.
Given that there seem to be very
few of us, at least in my neck of the woods, (those who are intimately familiar and love the power of relational databases but are enamored with the even greater power that a relational database married with GIS capabilities can bring and I'm not talking about a database as a passive storage container for GIS objects) and the fact that I don't think Manifold markets as much as ESRI, I would say I'm not too surprised that few I have run into use Manifold.
I really hope the kingdom of database spatial analysts is growing and I feel it is, which from my cursory guess can only be a good thing for Manifold.
Of course I guess having a checklist of bullets is not the final test. There is stability, speed, ease of use and all that other good
stuff that you can't easily qualify in bullets.
This document that details differences between doing tasks in Manifold and ArcGIS does make it look pretty user friendly.
I am eager to try Manifold out and see how good its new PostGIS and SQL Server 2008 capabilities are in particular.
I'm also equally interested in hearing from people who have used Manifold (especially if they have used the new one and with PostGIS) and how it compares to other tools they have used e.g MapInfo, ArcGIS, Intergraph, QGIS, uDig, GRASS etc.