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NLP

Natural Language based Plug-in for MapInfo Professional

The intent of the hack is to change the way we interact with the computer systems. Today, Software programs can perform a variety of complex tasks for us but to make them do what they are really programmed to do is a tedious task. We still don’t have a good/effective way of communicating with a computer program. Apart from the development cost, we incur a lot of training cost to learn the language that the software understands. To make it easy for us human beings, software can be taught the language that we speak, the language that we read and the language that we write, i.e. our own natural language. Even after the PC revolution, computers belonged to a different class of people viz. researchers, programmers etc., they didn’t come as close to the masses as they could have if they were programmed to understand the language that we speak. We don’t need to change ourselves to fit into the world of computers, the computers need to be programmed to fit in our world and understand our instructions.

 

Using the Natural Language based plug-in for MapInfo Professional* a user can interact with the software by issuing commands in Natural Language. The plug-in has a command box (shortcut ctrl+space) for the user to type in the commands. The user can type in the commands for any mapping function that he/she needs to perform on the current map object. For instance, if a user wants to “Show” or “Hide” any layer(a Map consists of different layers of different objects like streets, bridges, buildings, capitals, countries, oceans etc.) then he/she just needs to type the command: “Show Layer <layer-name>” in the command box. The user can find a location by issuing Find <location>” and a specific location nearby a particular location by typing-in “Find <location-2> nearby <location-1>”. The user can also instruct the plug-in to apply a ranged theme (to create a Thematic Map) on a particular geography based on certain parameters like: population density, income etc. Before committing a command (by pressing enter) the user can see the changes in the preview window (that opens just below the command box) in real-time. The plug-in has an auto-complete feature which helps the user with command syntax and getting the dynamic data like <layer-names>, <ranged-theme-parameters> etc.

 

* MapInfo Professional® is a powerful Microsoft® Windows®-based mapping and geographic analysis application from the experts in location intelligence.

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