Does AGIS Software have map information for region/country X?

We have included a broad-scale map of the world with the current version of AGIS. This is OK for mapping of large areas. Registered users can request an extract from the Digital Chart of the World for a region of their choice in AGIS format for free (size limit of 5Mb). The entire Digital Chart of the World is available for purchase as a separate product if you need access to more regions from this source. We are interested in collecting as many public domain map and data files as possible, and will make these available for free for registered users in a format suitable for plotting using AGIS. This is a considerable task, but it has begun! A list of currently available files is given in the Registered User Area.

Can AGIS do plots of type X?

Probably. The kinds of plots that can be made are almost limitless with some imagination. For example, bubble plots can be easily created by using an unfilled circle symbol for all of the displayed data, and a suitably large list of display ranges and symbol sizes. It would also be possible to display more than one point attribute using a set of symbols which combine to make something new. For example, you could create a display where the symbol for each data point is a Mickey Mouse face, with the colour of each ear indicating something about your data. The screen shot displays show some of these capabilities.

Can AGIS read X format map or data files?

The current version of AGIS can only read text map or data files which have positions specified in decimal degrees. The only import formats currently supported are Arc Export .e00, Arc Generate .gen, MapInfo .mif/.mid, South African National exchange standard .nes and Garmin GPS files. More formats will be added to future releases of AGIS. The native AGIS text format for map polygons and lines is similar to the import format used by other GIS and mapping packages. For now, if you wish to import data that is not in a supported format, it is possible to reformat your information using something like MS Excel to do the job. If you have a requirement that you think might be useful for others, please let us know and we will try and include that format also.

AGIS appears to be for broad scale mapping – is fine scale (e.g. city, city block) mapping possible?

Yes. The scale of AGIS maps can be from 100:1 to 300,000,000:1, which means that you could use it to map the positions of furniture in your house right up to positions across the world – on one map if you wanted to! The only requirement is that you would need to find a source for the information that you would like to plot, or digitize it yourself somehow. If you wanted to make a map of e.g. your farm, you could obtain an aerial photo, scan it and use a public domain utility such as windig to convert the scanned image into lines and polygons that AGIS can plot. See the AGIS on-line help file for more information on creating map files.

Can AGIS be used to plot my hand-held GPS data?

Yes. All that is required is that the data be converted to the text import format. If you need help with this, please contact us. If you have a Garmin handheld GPS, then version 1.55 or later of AGIS can import those files.

My AGIS program only says “Exiting at your request” when I run it

This is a rare problem which occurs on a few systems. It means that you already have some DLL files used by AGIS installed on your system, except they are older versions which AGIS can not use. If you have installed a 16 bit version of AGIS, and you are using Windows 95/98/ME/2000/NT, the easiest solution is to uninstall the 16 bit version, and install the 32 bit version instead. If this is not possible, then you will need to list all of the .dll files in the AGIS directory, and then search your computer for other ones with the same name. The one which commonly causes this problem is bwcc.dll. Once you have found the older version, rename it to something else and copy the newer version from the AGIS directory. If the file is write protected, you might have to exit from Windows and do this from the DOS prompt. If all goes well, this should allow you old program and AGIS to work on your system. If you have further problems, you can restore your old system by deleting the copied file and renaming you old one back again. The 32 bit version of AGIS 1.55 and later should not have this problem, so if you have a 32 bit system, please download and install the latest AGIS release.

How can I digitize my own maps for plotting using AGIS?

If you would like to digitize a map and you already have it stored as a Windows bitmap or have access to a scanner, use the free program called WinDig to convert the image to a file of line and polygon points that can be used by AGIS. WinDig can be downloaded from here. To install windig and the example files, put this digi.exe file in a folder called c:\windig and run it. It will self-extract the windig application. You should be able to double-click on the WinDig application to get started. Please be sure to look at the tutorial available from the download page for a detailed description of how to use WinDig to create files that AGIS can use.

Please note that the WinDig program was not developed by AGIS Software, and was created for use in Windows 3.1, although it works in later Windows versions. Because of this, it has problems opening bitmap image files that have long filenames or long file paths. You must install it in a folder with a simple path name such as c:\windig, and not
c:\Program Files\windig for it to work correctly.

We would like to make maps with our geographically referenced data available to a number of people in our organisation. Is there some way that AGIS can do this?

Yes. If you have an internal network, place the required map and data files on your server and configure the user AGIS directories to point to the server directories. This would make the most up to date information available to all users for reference, while keeping the files in one place for easy updating. It would be best in this situation to make the server directory read-only for most users.

Can AGIS display 3 dimensional information?

Yes and no. If the information can be converted so that the dimensions correspond to lat, long and a value, then yes – see screen shot 1. All map displays are 2 dimensional, so three dimensional terrain displays are not possible, except as contour lines – see screen shot 4. To display contours, these must be imported as lines at this stage. Point contouring will probably be an additional feature in a later release.

When I register, what versions will my password work on?

Your registration password will work for both the 16 bit and 32 bit versions of AGIS up to versions released 12 months from your time of registration. There is no time limit on your registered password, so you can use these versions forever, and you have access to free upgrades for at least 12 months.

I get an error “input file is not an AGIS map file” when adding or editing map layers

When you edit the map layers which form the current map display, AGIS reads through all of the map files in your map directory to make a list of the ones which have matching projections. Only these ones can be added to your current display. If a file is found that is corrupted for some reason, this error message will be shown. To fix the problem, write down the name of the problem file, exit from AGIS and delete it. You will then need to try and create the file again, as your first attempt was apparently unsuccessful. AGIS should not corrupt files while composing map displays – it only reads files, so the message most likely indicates that a problem occurred when the file was originally created.

I get an error “Clippoly – polygon not closed” while plotting a map layer

This message normally means that a set of points identified as a polygon (by using a positive point count) does not have the same start and end points. If you have made a .mpa file and then imported it to the AGIS .mpb format, there is an additional reason that may be the cause. For versions of AGIS from 1.15 to 1.42 the last line in the .mpa file must have a carriage return at the end of it, or it will be ignored – causing this message even though the first and last points are the same. Using a utility such as notepad, please check that the very last line in your .mpa file has a carriage return at the end of it (allowing you to go to the start of the following blank line).

Where can I get the 16 bit version of AGIS for Win 3.x?

To version 1.43 of AGIS, both 16 and 32 bit versions were supported. Recently, requests for the 16 bit version have decreased considerably, and the decision was made to no longer support both versions. The main reason for this is that new capabilities such as scripting and animation were difficult to implement in the 16 bit environment due to memory limitations. Continued development of the 32 bit version is greatly simplified, and more complex features are more easily implemented in the 32 bit environment. If you would like to use the 16 bit version 1.43, you can get an earlier installation for version 1.43 (both 16 and 32 bit) from CNET or ZDNet by searching for “AGIS”. From here you will get a zip file which must first be unzipped before running the installation program.

Is there a Mac/Unix/Linux version of AGIS?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that AGIS may become available for environments other than Windows if commercial versions of the development libraries are released for these other platforms. This depends on future directions of Microsoft and or Borland.

I get an error “The file is not a DOS text file” when importing (usually) a .e00 file

AGIS can only import ASCII text files, and those files also must contain position references as decimal latitudes and longitudes. For some import formats (particularly .e00), many different ‘flavors’ of that format exist and AGIS can not yet read all of them. To check the file that you have, open it using a text editor such as notepad. If the file appears to be mostly binary, then AGIS will not be able to read it. If the file is text with blocks showing where the end of line character should be (and the coordinates appear to be decimal degrees and not UTM coordinates) then you may still be able to import the file. Run the utility unixdos program found here on your file to convert the UNIX line feeds to standard DOS carriage return/line feed sequences. Then try to import the file again.

How do I change the map ocean color?

The color of the “ocean” is actually the background color for the whole map box because there is no map data plotted there from the map files. To change the colors of the map box, select Options/Display Options (or the tool with a blue paint splash). Double-click on Map box in the Map box display styles area. The next dialog allows you to change the map border and fill styles – just choose the colors that you want and press OK, and OK again.

How do I get rid of/change the map heading text?

To get rid of, or change the map heading text (or boxes/ scales), select Options/Display Options (or the tool with a blue paint splash), select the things you want to get rid of from the list, and press Delete (or edit them by double clicking or selecting Edit).

How do I control the size of a map on a printout?

The standard printing directly from AGIS is not intended as a means for printing your final map displays. It is more of a tool for looking at drafts, and does not allow complex formatting. For publication, the best way to get printed maps that you can add Figure numbers and size or put multiple maps on a page is to copy the display as a metafile and paste into another package such as a MS Word document. You can then size the map however you want. For this to work well, make sure that the metafile resolution is set to about 400 under Options/Configure AGIS.

Virus checking program “invircible” reports a virus

A shareware virus checking program called “invircible” falsely reports that AGIS may contain a virus when you try to run it. The authors of the program have confirmed that this is a false report and will implement a fix to eliminate this problem in the next version of their program (August 1999). If you have this software installed, you can run AGIS by inactivating the virus checker from the start bar while you run AGIS. If any other virus checking program reports problems with AGIS, please contact us immediately. We take every precaution to exclude viruses from AGIS releases.

Error “Unknown data file type” when opening a map display

In version 1.61 of AGIS, if you use Tools/Import files to import map data from another format, resulting data files may not be fully closed correctly, causing this error when you open map displays later. The error is not serious, and is corrected by exiting and re-starting the AGIS program (which closes all open files). This error has been corrected in version 1.62 or later.

AGIS hangs when I import a map file

In version 1.61 of AGIS, if you use Tools/Import files to import map data from another format, but do not put the file to be imported into the AGIS maps folder, the import may hang. The error is corrected by pressing Ctrl/Alt/Delete to abort the AGIS program, and ensuring that you copy files to be imported to your AGIS maps folder. This error has been corrected in version 1.62 or later.

AGIS hangs when I run the server example script

In version 1.61 of AGIS, the default installation folder for AGIS was changed from c:\AGIS to c:\Program Files\AGIS to conform with Windows 95/98/ME/2000/NT standards. Installation to a folder with a long file name with spaces in it caused problems with the use of MAPPATH and DATAPATH script macros. This problem has been corrected in version 1.62 or later.

The WinDig program will not open my bitmap file

This is probably because you have WinDig installed in a folder with a long file name, or long file path, or are attempting to open a file that has a long path or name. Please follow the installation instructions given here and copy any image files you would like to use into the same folder that WinDig is installed.

How do I import US map boundary files from the Census Bureau?

On the GIS links page there is a link to US Census Bureau Cartographic Boundary Files under the ‘Vector map data’ heading. In this example, we’ll assume that you want the county subdivision boundaries for Massachusetts. If you select ‘County Subdi. CCD/MCD’ and select ‘Go’ you get a page full of files that you can download for each State. Select the Massachusetts file called ‘cs25_d90_ascii.zip’ from the ARCINFO ungenerate list and unpack it in your AGIS maps folder.

Rename the file cs25_d90_p.dat to ma.gen and cs25_d90_pa.dat to ma.att.

Open a DOS command window and type ‘c:[enter]’, ‘cd c:\progra~1\agis\maps[enter]’, ‘unix2dos ma.gen[enter]’, ‘unix2dos ma.att[enter]’. This converts the files from UNIX text form to DOS text form.

For some reason, numbers in these files use ‘d’ to represent the exponent rather than ‘e’. This is very strange. To change this, type ‘notepad ma.gen[enter]’ (this should say that the file is too large, and then use WordPad). Select ‘Edit/Replace’ and change all ‘D’ to ‘e’ and then also change all ‘ENe’ to ‘END’. Then select ‘File/Save’ and ‘File/Exit’. There is no need to edit ma.att. Type ‘exit[enter]’ to close the DOS command window.

The renaming above allows the AGIS import procedure to recognize the files as the correct types (ARC ungenerate plus an attribute file).

Open AGIS and select ‘Tools/Import Files’ and select the ‘.gen [ARC/INFO Generate]’ format. Select ‘ma.gen’ and press ‘OK’. You will then see a window that says ‘Read 354 polygons, 0 lines and 354 points from c\program files\agis\maps\ma.gen’ which indicates that the file has been imported to an AGIS .mpa file, and also that a data file with names in it has been placed in your AGIS data folder. Select ‘OK’.

The AGIS text .mpa map file must now be converted to a binary file that can be plotted. Select ‘Tools/Map Translator’, select ‘ma.mpa’ as the input map file, and type ‘ma’ for the output map file. Leave the other options as they are. Press ‘OK’. There will be no messages unless there is an error, and the file is converted to binary.

Select ‘File/New’ and press ‘New’ in the map layer options dialog. Select ‘ma.mpb’ for the map file, and press ‘New’ for the display style. The default style is a black border with white fill – you can change this by double-clicking on the box, or just leave the default for now. Select ‘OK’ and change ‘new000.agf’ to ‘ma.agf’ for the file name for the map format file and press ‘OK’. The map file and display style dialog should now show ma.mpb and ma.agf. Press ‘OK’ and the window will draw with a small dark blob in it. Use the zoom cursor to zoom into that area, and you wlll see the county sub-areas. Select ‘File/Save As’ and type ‘ma.agi’ for the file name. Press ‘OK’ and your new map display is complete and saved.

You can add the ma.dat file as a data layer to show the area ID numbers.