M4 Solutions Team


This week we’re showcasing a department that is critically important here at Mapcom, yet is often behind the scenes. I’m talking about our fabulous Solutions Team—those who work hard digitizing projects and bringing them to life in M4. This week I had a lot of fun catching up with the Kessinger ladies (Betty and her daughter Erin) who are digitizing pros. Check out these cool M4 tips from some ladies in the know!


What is the best part of your job as a member of the Solutions team?

Betty: I love making the project look its best, and as accurate as possible. Making the client happy is what it’s all about!

Erin: I love producing positive results for the client.  When they tell me that I have made their job so much easier by producing an accurate and clean project, it makes it all worth it.  I also enjoy helping my co-workers find solutions to problems and figuring out things together.


What are a few of your favorite Function keys? What do they do?

Betty: My favorites are the commands “by_angle 0” and “precision off”. The first makes it possible to place lines perfectly horizontal or vertical, and the second turns the function off so that lines can be drawn at any angle. This is particularly helpful when drawing leader lines.

Erin: F8 and F9. Haha, just kidding!  There are so many things to pick from, but I would say something like toggle_google_maps which allows you to turn on and off google imagery in the background of the project. Being able to access a tool in M4 with the simple push of a button is so efficient.


What’s one tip you would give M4 users about working in their project?

Betty: If you wish to change the layer of an element, make sure that the layer you’re changing FROM and the layer you’re changing TO are in the same database table!

Erin: Clean up the data once and maintain it for full functionality.  Once you get information in the project correctly and it has been verified, use a markoff layer that is created on another map for reference.  Doing this will quickly show you what has been done and what is still left to do.  Once you get all of your records correct, let M4 do all the work.


What advice would you give someone new to working in M4?

Betty: If you are not clear on how something works, please ask.  A lot of problems between the elements and the database can be avoided if you admit you don’t know, and make the effort to find out the correct way.

Erin: Remain patient and dig in.  There are multiple ways to do things in M4, so don’t sell yourself short by not investigating all that M4 has to offer.  There are endless possibilities and keeping an open mind will allow you to use M4 to its full potential!