ProRaster

Welcome to the ProRaster family product page!

For help, please visit the ProRaster help page.

ProRaster is a new application for Windows that helps GIS users, geospatial professionals, and scientists render and explore raster data.

The goals of ProRaster are to –

  • Provide the highest quality pixel-perfect raster rendering at any scale.
  • Provide a high-performance rendering engine for exploring raster datasets.
  • Make it easy to generate raster imagery for interpretation and presentation.

ProRaster creates and edits rendering algorithms, which it stores in XML format in files with an MRD extension. A rendering algorithm is a recipe for rendering one or more rasters in a wide variety of ways. ProRaster implements a high-performance rendering engine that provides a real-time map preview of the algorithm as you build and edit it.

ProRaster is available in three product tiers – ProRaster Essential, ProRaster Premium, and ProRaster Scientific (*coming in late 2022).

ProRaster Essential is designed for users of MapInfo Pro 2021. If you have a MapInfo Pro 2021 subscription, or you have purchased a copy of the latest version of MapInfo Pro, you will be able to load the MRD files created by ProRaster into MapInfo for visualisation. A streamlined user interface with a restricted set of capabilities provides an easy way for business users to render rasters in MapInfo Pro.

ProRaster Premium is designed for all GIS users. It provides a full set of rendering algorithm editing tools and can export rendered images to standard file formats like GeoTIFF for display in a wide variety of GIS and scientific applications.

ProRaster Scientific (*coming in late 2022) will build upon the features of ProRaster Premium and will add powerful satellite multi-spectral imaging tools that will streamline satellite multi-spectral raster data display.

ProRaster Core Features

  • A rendering algorithm consists of one or more layers, and each layer contains one or more enabled components that are linked to a raster source. Save your algorithms to an MRD file for viewing and editing in ProRaster, exporting to located imagery^, and for displaying in MapInfo Pro 2021.
  • The LUTColor layer uses a data-color transform and a color lookup table to determine the color of each pixel, which can then be modified by Intensity and Opacity components.
  • The RGBColor layer uses a data-color transform for each of each of the Red, Green, and Blue components to determine the color of each pixel, which can then be modified by Intensity and Opacity components.
  • The Image layer acquires color from a color data band in a raster to faithfully reproduce the color of each pixel, which can then be modified by Intensity and Opacity components.
  • Intensity (hill-shading) is integrated directly into the rendering pipeline for high-saturation, vividly rendered raster layers.
  • Opacity (transparency) modulation allows the transparency of every pixel to be algorithmically determined based on a data-opacity transform.
  • Create reusable resources for inclusion in any algorithm. These include raster sources, data conditioning filters, color lookup tables, and data transforms.
  • Preview the current rendering algorithm in an attached and collapsible map window.
  • Publish the MRD to MapInfo Pro 2021.
  • Export the rendered MRD to a located image^ raster in MRR or GeoTIFF format.

^ not available in ProRaster Essential, # only available in ProRaster Scientific

This playlist of four videos will introduce you to ProRaster. They will give you an understanding of the fundamental capabilities of the software and help you get started operating the software.

Algorithm creation and editing features

  • Open multiple MRD rendering algorithms for editing and exploration simultaneously.
  • Create new default rendering algorithms for a raster or raster source.
  • Use an existing MRD as a raster source in a new algorithm.
  • Add, delete, and reorder layers^.
  • Undo and redo edits.
  • All edits are immediately reflected in the preview map window.

^ not available in ProRaster Essential, # only available in ProRaster Scientific

Algorithm rendering features

  • Preview the current rendering algorithm in an attached and collapsible map window.
  • View the current rendering algorithm in a resizable, external map window^.
  • View the current rendering algorithm in multiple resizable, external map windows#.
  • Smoothly zoom and pan the view.
  • Report the raster value at the cursor location in a tooltip.
  • Double click for a complete raster value report at the cursor location^.

^ not available in ProRaster Essential, # only available in ProRaster Scientific

Algorithm and layer properties

  • Control Color, Red & Green & Blue, Image, plus Intensity and Opacity components for each layer and turn on or off layers and components as required.
  • Render the algorithm in any specified coordinate system or projection and specify or override the coordinate system of rasters. Use the Projection Explorer dialog to select coordinate systems.
  • Control or override raster interpolation settings at all levels of the algorithm.
  • Intensity components integrate hill-shading into any layer. Control the shadow and specular highlight, and the intensity of shadow by layer or for all layers.
  • Set blending modes to control the application of alpha bands and opacity. Control layer transparency and modulate pixel transparency via data transforms^.
  • Balance color and intensity (hill-shading) for any layer for visual effect.
  • Apply the Valid cell by Component rule to determine whether pixels will be rendered based on the validity of data in the contributing components.
  • Control the buffer background color and opacity and the invalid pixel color.

^ not available in ProRaster Essential, # only available in ProRaster Scientific

Component properties

  • Link a component to a raster source, field, band, and event range.
  • Apply a data conditioning filter to any component^.
  • Choose from a wide variety of data-color transforms for Color, Red, Green, Blue, and Opacity components, or select a prepared user defined transform.
  • Select a color table for Color components.
  • Base the data-color transform on the statistics of a different raster source^.

^ not available in ProRaster Essential, # only available in ProRaster Scientific

Algorithm Publishing

  • Publish the MRD to MapInfo Pro 2021. This will open a new map window in MapInfo Pro and load the MRD into that map where it is displayed as a located image raster.

Image Exporting

  • Export the rendered algorithm to a located image raster at any resolution^.
  • Export the full extent, manually defined extent, map extent or clip to a polygon^.

^ not available in ProRaster Essential, # only available in ProRaster Scientific

Raster Source Editor

  • Group one or more rasters together into a raster source which can then be used by a layer component. Save the raster source for reuse at any time in any algorithm.
  • Validate, clean, and prepare overview pyramids and statistics for raster sources.
  • View raster information and statistics in a comprehensive text report.
  • Define load-time raster preferences for raster sources to modify the way the raster engine mounts and interprets the raster.

Color Table Editor

  • Choose from a wide variety of color tables shipped with ProRaster.
  • Use simple color tables, color tables that are combined with a data mapping, or color legends that link data, data ranges, or strings to color definitions.
  • Link to other color tables installed with other software.
  • Build your own collection of user-defined color tables.
  • Create new color tables and edit existing color tables.

Data Conditioning Editor^

  • Define, store, and edit data conditioning filters that you can use in any algorithm. Data conditioning filters modify and clean raster data before it is rendered.
  • Reject individually specified values.
  • Reject (or only accept) ranges of values.
  • Reject (or only accept) colors or ranges of colors specified in RGB space.
  • Convert invalid values to a specified background value.
  • Cap values to a minimum and/or maximum value.

^ not available in ProRaster Essential, # only available in ProRaster Scientific

Data Transform Editor^

  • Define, store, and edit data transforms that you can use in any algorithm.
  • Data transforms can be based on the statistics of the raster they are applied to, or they can use static key values that ensure they act in the same way on any raster.
  • Choose from a wide variety of transforms or manually define transform tables.
  • Preview the effect of the transform on a selected raster.
  • For a selected raster, view statistics and histograms as graphs and tables.

^ not available in ProRaster Essential, # only available in ProRaster Scientific

Support raster formats

    ProRaster supports a wide variety of raster formats. For a complete list of the supported formats, please visit this help page.

    What is raster data?

    A raster dataset is a matrix of cells (or pixels) that are geolocated using a coordinate system, where each cell is associated with one or more values that represent some measurement made at that location or some other kind of derived data. Measurements can be continuous, meaning they vary continuously from cell to cell, or discrete, meaning the cell is assigned a value by some analytical process. Discrete data is sometimes called classified, categorical, or thematic data.

    Raster data includes aerial imagery (drone, aircraft, or satellite), multi-spectral and hyper-spectral imagery (aircraft or satellite), land use or built environment classifications, terrain and bathymetry, topographic maps, geophysical measurements like the Earth’s gravitational or magnetic fields, meteorological measurements like surface temperature, business analytics like traffic movements or population density, and just about anything else that can be observed, gridded, and presented in a raster form.

    For further reading, here are a couple of links to Data Carpentry and ESRI ArcGIS documentation.

    What can you achieve with ProRaster?

    ProRaster takes your raster datasets and transforms them into superior quality raster imagery which you can publish in any GIS application of your choice. Before you publish your data, you can explore it using the built-in high-performance render engine in a map preview window. The speed, interactivity, and quality of the rendering will help you gain new insights into your raster datasets.

    • Render huge rasters of unlimited size at any scale.
    • Combine raster data of any scale or coordinate system.
    • Use the LUT Color layer to color modulate raster data in a myriad of ways.
    • Use the RGB Color layer to combine color modulated red, green, and blue components.
    • Use the Image layer to render color data faithfully without color modification.
    • Apply hill-shading (draping) to every layer with unrivaled image quality.
    • Control transparency between layers and harness the power of opacity modulation.
    • Keep a library of resources including raster sources, data transforms, color tables, and data conditioning filters, for use and re-use in any algorithm.
    • Publish your MRD algorithm to MapInfo Pro 2021.
    • Export your MRD algorithm to a located image at any resolution in a variety of industry-standard formats.

    What are the key advantages of ProRaster?

    ProRaster provides many advantages, whether you are using free GIS software, or you have invested in a comprehensive geospatial data visualisation and processing software suite.

    • Draped presentations (imagery or modulated color data combined with hill-shading) with superior color saturation and contrast.
    • Shaded relief, with automated and manual control over the ‘depth’ of shadow, automated adjustment as you zoom in and out, specular highlights and color-balance control.
    • Rendering quality, with two interpolation phases to provide the highest quality rendering at any scale, and a multi-threaded hardware-accelerated rendering engine.
    • Data-color transforms, with a rich variety of transforms and a high level of customisability.
    • Blending, with per layer and per-pixel transparency control, and light table simulation mode.
    • Persistent resource storage and reuse, including raster sources, color tables, data transforms and data conditioning filters.
    • Ease of use with a responsive user interface.
    • The pleasure of discovery as ProRaster opens worlds of raster datasets to you.
    • Simple layer types help you to achieve exactly what you need to.

    Why do you need ProRaster?

    The GIS software application you are currently using will already have some capability to display raster data. Purchase ProRaster and take your raster rendering to a new level. ProRaster is easier, it is faster, and it has capabilities that no other software provides. And the speed that it renders rasters of virtually unlimited size on modest hardware will open your eyes and provide you with new pathways for data discovery, understanding, and interpretation. Download a free evaluation version and give it a go!

    What version of ProRaster is best for you?

    If you have a subscription to MapInfo Pro 2021 (or later version) or you have purchased a license to the latest version of MapInfo Pro, then you can consider ProRaster Essential. Otherwise, you should acquire ProRaster Premium or ProRaster Scientific (when it becomes available).

    The latest version of MapInfo Pro can load an MRD file published by ProRaster and render it in a map window. It does this by exploiting capabilities that are in the “MapInfo Pro Advanced” raster plug-in. This raster plug-in provides industry-leading raster rendering and processing capabilities. If you have purchased a MapInfo Pro subscription you will have the “Advanced” raster plug-in included. If not, you can purchase it separately. However, even if you do not have the Advanced raster plug-in, the latest version of MapInfo Pro can still render the MRD files you publish from ProRaster.

    ProRaster Essential is designed for business users who want an inexpensive, easy, and fast solution for rendering rasters in the highest possible quality in MapInfo Pro. It has a streamlined user interface, and restricted functionality, and can only publish to the latest version of MapInfo Pro.

    For all other users, ProRaster Premium is recommended. It is a complete solution for creating high-resolution, high-quality raster imagery.

    How can you evaluate ProRaster?

    Each ProRaster product tier has a free version which you can download and install from the Microsoft Windows Store. The free versions have all the features of the paid applications, except that they do not allow you to save a rendering algorithm MRD file, publish an MRD file to MapInfo Pro or export a rendering algorithm to a located image for display in other products. In other words, you can fully explore the product, but you cannot save any hard exports from the free version.

    How can you purchase ProRaster?

    You can purchase any ProRaster product application tier from the Microsoft Windows Store. ProRaster is available for purchase all over the world. To make a purchase on the Windows Store you will need to have a Microsoft account. Depending on your country of residence, you may be able to pay with a credit card, debit card, bank account, PayPal account, or mobile phone.

    What languages does ProRaster ship in?

    ProRaster uses English exclusively. All user interface elements, help, documentation, and support videos are in English.

    How does ProRaster compare to other applications?

    ProRaster limits its functionality to raster rendering. It does not pretend to be a raster processing solution and it is not a GIS application. It is designed – and priced – to be used in conjunction with the other GIS or scientific analysis applications you currently use. It provides a complementary set of capabilities that focus on high-quality and accurate raster rendering. Having said that, we can make some comparisons of the ProRaster functionality with other applications.

    ProRaster vs MapInfo Pro (version 14 or earlier)

    Prior to version 15, MapInfo Pro had very basic grid and raster visualisation. Users augmented this capability by buying Vertical Mapper, which is no longer available. Vertical Mapper was primarily a raster processing toolkit, but it also provided improved raster rendering in MapInfo Pro. Exploration and mining geoscientists may have used the Discover plug-in for MapInfo. Discover is still available and can be purchased from Datamine. The raster rendering and processing tools in Discover are now largely obsolete for anything but small rasters.

    ProRaster vs MapInfo Pro (version 15 or later)

    MapInfo Pro 15 users onwards have been able to augment the raster visualisation tools with the MapInfo Pro Advanced raster plug-in, which was sold separately. This provides support for huge rasters and includes easy-to-use and much-improved raster rendering. MapInfo customers who purchase a subscription will find the Advanced raster plug-in is bundled in.

    The ProRaster rendering system was designed to replace the rendering system in MapInfo Pro Advanced. It overcomes the chief problems with that rendering system, namely:

    • Inability to source component data from different rasters in a layer.
    • Issues with different field types and cell sizes being mixed in the view.
    • Poor reprojection performance.
    • Limited data-color transform options and control.
    • Limited and difficult to use fixed color data-color transform capability.
    • Difficulty rendering images without modifying the color data.

    Because of resource and time constraints, algorithm rendering in MapInfo Pro has never made it to the top of the development wish list, and it is now unlikely to ever do so. ProRaster now provides that capability for MapInfo Pro users.

    ProRaster vs QGIS

    QGIS relies on the GDAL open-source library for raster processing tools. It has a reasonable raster rendering capability. My main criticism would be that it is frustrating to use, and the quality of the rendered imagery is poor. Draped layers lack color saturation. There is little support for color tables and poor control over the data-color transform.

    QGIS does provide some basic color manipulation controls (contrast, saturation, etc.) and it renders contours as well as pixel-based imagery.

    ProRaster vs ESRI ArcGIS

    ArcGIS has a comprehensive raster management system, raster rendering, and raster processing toolkit. The Appearance ribbon for a raster layer provides an elegant interface for controlling the raster rendering. The rendering toolkit that ArcGIS provides is similar to ProRaster, with the addition of some higher-level functions for multi-spectral satellite data rendering. Data-color transforms are more limited. I am unable to comment on either the quality of the rendering or the performance.

    ArcGIS provides Dynamic Range Adjust (where the color stretch is based on the statistics of the portion of the raster in the view and changed as you pan and zoom) and polygonal Masking. It provides the Mosaic raster dataset for combining imagery.

    ProRaster vs Hexagon Geospatial

    Hexagon Geospatial sells ERDAS Imagine and ERMapper.

    ERMapper was a pioneer software package in raster rendering and processing, and for many years provided the benchmark for capability and performance. It used an algorithm approach back when hard disk space was at a premium and on-the-fly processing was a preferable solution. Hexagon now focuses on ERDAS Imagine, and ERMapper has become a footnote in history.

    ERDAS Imagine is a comprehensive geospatial data processing tool suite. Deciding to invest in this product will not be made based on raster rendering capabilities alone. Do your research, and you may find that ProRaster is a valuable addition to your software solution.

    ProRaster vs L3Harris Geospatial

    L3Harris Geospatial sells the ENVI suite of image processing and analysis software. Deciding to invest in this product will not be made based on raster rendering capabilities alone. Do your research, and you may find that ProRaster is a valuable addition to your software solution.

    ProRaster vs PCI Geomatics

    PCI Geomatics sells a variety of products under the Catalyst brand. Deciding to invest in this product will not be made based on raster rendering capabilities alone. Do your research, and you may find that ProRaster is a valuable addition to your software solution.