Mergin Maps

Mergin Maps: a year in review (2022)

The year 2022 is coming to its end, and in this post, we wanted to summarize major product news this year. Despite all the trouble in the world in the past couple of months, this has been a very successful year for Mergin Maps.

Our vision is to make Mergin Maps a great companion for QGIS. We would like to provide tools for teams and individuals to easily work with their data - whether they are in the field or at the office - and keep pushing limits of what you can do with open source GIS tools.

Mobile app

A whole lot of great new features landed in the mobile app this year:

  • Use your high-accuracy external GPS / GNSS receiver for the location in the app. One can connect it via Bluetooth and enjoy up to 1 cm accuracy.
  • Stake out points. After picking a point, the app will navigate you to it (using a direct line). It works well with high-accuracy receivers too, showing more details when you get less than one meter away.
  • Controlling visibility of map layers. Earlier, the only way to change map style in the app was to use predefined map themes. In the recent versions, you can also browse the list of layers and show/hide them as needed. As a bonus, it is possible to see the legend of each layer too.
  • Automatic sync of project data. When enabled, the project gets synchronized every time you modify some data. No need to worry about syncing data regularly!
  • Use lower resolution of pictures if needed. With the high resolution cameras in phones and tablets, pictures can easily take up a lot of space. You can now set lower resolution and save some storage and network bandwidth.
  • Editing of geometries got greatly improved: you can now set up snapping, edit vertices also with line and polygon geometries and split existing geometries.

Left: editing of a polygon geometry. Middle: Stake out of a point. Right: Controlling layer visibility.

On top of all that, there has been a stream of bug fixes, making sure that the app is easy to use and robust.

QGIS Plugin

The plugin for QGIS is very important for all project admins to set up projects and to analyse data.

Before pushing your local changes to a Mergin Maps project, it may be useful to first check if all the changes you wanted are there and vice versa - that no unwanted would get included. Now there is a convenient way to check your local changes, in both map and tabular view.

For those working on larger projects with more users doing editing of data, the reporting tool may come handy. It is integrated in the QGIS Processing toolbox and allows extraction of detailed information about project edits from Mergin Maps version history - all that exported to a single CSV file.

Talking to the users, we have identified various places where it is easy to get things wrong when setting up projects. To avoid such issues, we worked hard to improve validation checks of projects: when you try to sync a project in QGIS, the project status dialog may report warnings about anything that looks suspicious.

Server

This year we have introduced support for web maps of Mergin Maps projects. This opens a whole lot of new use cases which we are very excited about. Web maps are currently in Beta and we are still polishing rough edges. If you would like to try web maps, please let us know.

While the server-side components did not get many other user-visible features, we have been constantly working on improving the service and scale it up with the ever increasing number of users.

Mergin & Input became Mergin Maps

A major change for us and for our users has been rebranding of the product in the first half of the year. We have previously used Mergin (for server) and Input (for the mobile app), but that has been causing some confusion as for how these two are related. So now it is just Mergin Maps - a single product that encompasses everything.

Wrapping up

The team at Lutra Consulting has grown again this year, adding a couple of new colleagues, to help us make the product even better. A special shout out to our colleague, Alex Bruy, who lives in Ukraine and who has been experiencing hardship together with millions of other Ukrainians, suffering from the unprovoked war and terror started by Russia.

Looking forward to 2023, our roadmap already includes many exciting features we are hoping to deliver. We also love to hear feedback from our users - whether it is about things you love in the app, or things that need improving - if you have any comments, please do not hesitate to contact us at the community chat. Enjoy the Christmas holidays and stay tuned for more news next year!

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