MapInfo Pro - Advanced Tip - Fast point rendering

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Advanced tip: Fast Point Rendering and querying performance improvements


The 64 bit versions of MapInfo Pro, starting with version 15.2, offer a new Fast Point Rendering option. This option can significantly speed up the display of point objects. In addition performance improvements when filtering data have also been added to MapInfo Pro.

The purpose of this article is to provide examples of the performance improvements as well as to explain the implications of the Fast Point Rendering capability. There are some use cases where this new setting should not be used.

Fast Point Rendering performance improvement

The Fast Point Rendering option is pretty easy to understand. In the case where you have multiple points on the exact same coordinates, MapInfo Pro will only draw one of the points.

Performance comparison: Opening a workspace with Austria Point of Interest (POI) data

To demonstrate the differences between MapInfo Pro v15.0.1 (a 32 bit version) and MapInfo Pro v16.0.1, we will use a point of interest (POI) dataset. This data set is a native MapInfo table with 601,561 records. The data is from the World Point of Interest data from the Pitney Bowes data portfolio.

Point of Interest data from TomTom® MultiNet® data of Austria: © BEV, GZ 1368/2003
Point of Interest data from TomTom® MultiNet® data of Austria: © BEV, GZ 1368/2003

The circle is a polygon of 100 km radius around Vienna. This is used for the query tests which follow.

Performance comparison:

The following tests were run five times each and the average taken.

 Time to open the workspace
MapInfo Pro v15.0.1 1 minute 45 seconds
MapInfo Pro v16.0.1 (no Fast point rendering)59 seconds
MapInfo Pro v16.0.1 with Fast point rendering7 seconds

Note that MapInfo Pro v16.0.1 performs better than v15.0.1 even without the Fast Point Rendering setting. This is due to additional improvements to the software.

The Fast Point Rendering setting

The Fast Point Rendering setting is found in the Output Preferences dialog box. Click on the PRO tab, go to the Options page and click on Output Settings.

When MapInfo Pro is first installed, this setting is turned on by default.

Output Preferences

When not to use the Fast Point Rendering setting

The Fast Point Rendering setting suppresses the display of multiple points on the same coordinates. As such, if you need all of your points to display then this setting should not be used.

One example is in wireless telecommunications where a dataset representing wireless cell towers can have different cell tower sectors being displayed on the same coordinates. Another example is if you are taking advantage of the Dispersed Groups font to show multiple points on the same coordinates.

The Fast Point Rendering setting is a system level preference. It is either on or off for all maps and all layers at once.

And there’s more! Querying performance improvement

MapInfo Pro (starting with version 15.2) can run queries that filter a dataset more quickly as compared to the 32 bit versions. This optimization improves performance for queries done with the map selecting tools as well as with the Select or SQL Select commands.

In the following, the Boundary Select tool is used to select all the points within the circle object on the map.

The table also shows some other display related operations such as browsing the table and clearing the selection.

Selecting point objects within 100 km of Vienna

Each of the following tests were run five times.

 Version 15.0.1Version 16.0.1
Use Boundary Select tool3 minutes 1 second18 seconds
Browse the table35 seconds18 seconds
Invert the selection6 minutes 4 seconds3 seconds
Clear the selection1 minute 42 seconds6 seconds

The same computer was used for these tests. It is a Dell E6420 laptop with an Intel Core i7 processor (4 dual core 2.2 Ghz processors) with 8 GB RAM. The Operating System is Windows 7.

Want to see it?

Here is a link to a short video where you can see a side-by-side comparison of some of the above tests.

Article by Tom Probert, Editor of "The MapInfo Pro" journal
When not writing articles for "The MapInfo Pro" journal, Tom enjoys talking to MapInfo Pro users at conferences and events. When not working he likes to see movies with car chases, explosions and kung-fu fighting.

UPDATED:  July 20, 2017