Rummaging in the Toolbox: The Table Manager

MapInfo Pro™ Monthly Journal
Rummaging in the Toolbox: The Table Manager

In the Pitney Bowes Software Ideas portal, a suggestion came through for a way to see various pieces of information about a table, such as its location, the number of rows, number of columns etc. MapInfo Professional comes with a tool called the Table Manager which provides this sort of information. 

Introducing the Table Manager

To run the Table Manager Tool, click on Tools > Tool Manager.

To see information about your tables, click on Tools > Table Manager > Manage Tables.

The following dialog box will appear. It will allow you to see information about any tables that are open. This screen shot will tell a large part of the story: 

User-added image 

About the Metadata Capabilities

Metadata can be thought of as data about your data. Examples of metadata include some of the items listed in the opening paragraph as well as lots of other information such as the vintage (age) of the dataset, the person created the dataset, who is responsible for it and just about anything you might want to track. 

The Table Manager tool can be used to allow you to create and edit metadata for your MapInfo Professional tables. For those technically inclined, the metadata is stored in the TAB file. Sometimes MapInfo Professional or other add-ons may create metadata as a way to store and re-use settings. One example of this is that it is possible to store thematic map settings for automatic re-use when a table is opened. The settings are stored in the TAB file as metadata. MapInfo Vertical Mapper, Crime Profiler, the Engage 3D products and the Encom Discover products also create metadata to store and re-use settings.

Metadata templates

Let's say you have a large number of tables that are all related in some way. This might mean you have some similar metadata values for all of the tables. The Table Manager includes the ability to specify a metadata template that can be used to easily apply multiple metadata values to a table.

Creating a Metadata template

Selecting and applying a metadata template is done in the main dialog box, as pictured above.

To create a new Metadata template, the menu command is Tools > Table Manager > Metdata templates.

User-added image 
The interface for creating a new metadata template for the MapInfo Table Manager.

What this metadata capability is NOT

Yes, I am now going to talk this capability down a little bit. In this journal we are trying to create awareness of MapInfo Professional capabilities but we also wish to present a practical view. The metadata creation and storage capabilities described here are entirely within each individual table. This capability is not an aggregation of metadata into a central searchable catalog. 

Overall, this capability is mainly useful for individuals and small groups. It is not an enterprise metadata solution. 

For developers, the use of metadata within MapInfo tables is invaluable. Of course you do not need the Table Manager tool to create metadata but you might find it a convenient way to view metadata while you are developing your application. 

I am not aware of many customers making a great use of the metadata capabilities built into the Table Manager tool but if you do have a story, please let me know.

Shameless plug: What if I want a big central searchable library of all of data?

Given the limitations mentioned above, please allow me to make you aware of MapInfo Manager from Pitney Bowes Software. MapInfo Manager is a server based solution which allows you to easily build a library of all of your organisation's mapping data. This library helps everyone who needs data to understand what is available, where to access it and lots more. 

More info is available from our Web site here

Article by Tom Probert, Editor of "The MapInfo Professional" journal

When not writing articles for "The MapInfo Professional", Tom is a Product Marketing Manager for Pitney Bowes Software. When not working he likes to see movies with car chases, explosions and kung-fu fighting.
UPDATED:  July 13, 2017