What to Buy

The Best of Both Worlds

Key Questions

The first choice is whether you need Manifold's revolutionary new Release 9 GIS, or a classic, low-cost Release 8 GIS, or both. Taking advantage of special offers for reduced pricing, many people will get both.

Release 9 is built on the massively parallel Radian spatial data engine, putting an incredibly broad range of formats and data sources at your fingertips, more than any other GIS or spatial tool. Nothing comes close to 9 for working with larger data at phenomenal speed. Release 8 does not have the raw power, speed and phenomenal DBMS sophistication of Release 9, but Release 8 exceeds any other non-parallel GIS, while providing far lower costs than ESRI and significantly lower life-cycle costs for many people than freeware.

As a mature product, Release 8 benefits from many thousands of features added for every last possible detail of doing GIS. Release 9 starts with a far stronger foundation but does not as yet have the vast, seemingly endless set of features found in Release 8 for cartography and presentation. Both Release 8 and Release 9 are famously bulletproof, with totally reliable quality.

Release 9 is gaining features at the rate of a few hundred per month: already 9 is a superior choice for anything having to do with data manipulation or analytics, and 9 already is a good choice for cartography and presentation. In addition to all the new, hypermodern and advanced features 9 has that 8 does not have (such as total CPU parallelism and automatically parallel spatial SQL), 9 will likely soon surpass even the enormous Release 8 feature set. Release 9 licensing commenced in December, 2017, based on reports from experienced Manifold users that they had already transitioned to using Release 9 beta builds for most of their GIS work instead of Release 8.

Which Manifold product is right for you depends on your priorities:

  • I work with spatial and non-spatial data in my organization's database servers - Get Manifold Release 9. You might also want to choose a Release 8 edition as well.
  • I'm happy with my current GIS (Release 8, ESRI, MapInfo, etc.) but I need more horsepower to crunch data - Get Manifold Release 9.
  • I don't work with GIS or spatial data but I do a lot of work blending and manipulating data - Get Manifold Release 9. It's a bargain at twice the price even if you never touch spatial data.
  • I am mainly interested in presentation and map making - Try the free Manifold Viewer to see if Release 9's existing cartographic and presentation capabilities are a good fit. If they are, go straight to 9. Otherwise, choose a Release 8 edition if you have a tight budget, and get both Release 8 and Release 9 if your budget allows.
  • I need to convert formats or review large images or vectors - Definitely Manifold Release 9 to get large capacity, and probably Release 8 as well.
  • I work with data and databases but I don't know SQL. Is Release 9 OK for me? - Yes. You'll use point-and-click Release 9 templates instead of SQL.
  • I have a very limited budget. What's the right choice? - You cannot beat Release 8 for an absolutely vast range of capabilities at an incredibly low price.
  • I just need to look at data somebody else created. What should I buy? - No need to buy anything. Get the free Manifold Viewer.

People in an organization who know they need to get into GIS but are just getting started will take advantage of special offers to get both Manifold Release 9 and Release 8 Release 8.00 Universal x64 Edition. The bundle covers all bases and provides an almost unimagineable breadth and depth of capability at a revolutionary, low price. Nothing else comes close.

Exploring Archaeology in France See Release 9 technology in action Watch the Exploring Archaeology in France YouTube video to learn how to enjoy the pre-built, beginner-friendly project for Viewer that lets you discover thousands of archaeological sites and monuments throughout France, from giant Neolithic stone constructions to a Roman amphitheater hidden just off a road that tourists zoom by without even knowing it was there. Try it yourself with Manifold Viewer.

Manifold Product Options

Manifold ® Release 9 is easy to buy: there is one Universal edition that provides absolutely all Release 9 capabilities for one low price. Release 8 has a wider range of options that have evolved over time to serve various customer niches.

Manifold ® Release 8 is available in editions as listed in the Products page. Different editions provide choices for the following factors:

  • Personal or Universal - Release 8 Personal x64 Edition appeals to individuals on a budget. Most organizations and advanced users will choose Universal x64 Edition to "get it all" at what is still a very low price.
  • 32-bit or 64-bit - No need to choose: Manifold in the past charged extra for 64-bit versions but now, all Manifold licenses provide true 64-bit operation in Windows x64 64-bit operating systems as well as 32-bit operation in 32-bit Windows. You must have 64-bit Windows to run 64-bit Manifold.
  • All Inclusive or Optional Extensions - Release 8 Universal Edition and Release 8 Ultimate Edition include all Release 8 extensions. Release 8 Personal Edition does not include some specialized features that are available via three optional extensions: Business Tools, Geocoding Tools and Surface Tools.
  • Internet Map Server Included or Not Included - All Release 8 editions except Release 8 Personal Edition include the Internet Map Server (IMS). Get IMS if you plan on running a web server that is GIS-enabled.
  • Runtime or Full License - Release 8 Runtime licenses are for programmers or web developers who create applications that call the Manifold API. Developers will buy one or more Release 8 Universal licenses for their development needs and then will buy Release 8 runtime licenses to deploy the applications or web sites they create.
  • Products for Large Organizations - Release 8 License Server and Release 8 Ultimate x64 Edition have special capabilities that appeal to large organizations with many Manifold licenses.

All three optional Release 8 extensions are built into Release 8 Universal and Release 8 Ultimate editions. If you need those extensions Release 8 Universal Edition is a better value than Release 8 Personal Edition. The optional extensions are offered so users with licenses other than Release 8 Universal can add more features if over time they decide they need them.

  • For more details on the Business Tools extension see the Manifold Business Tools page.
  • For more details on the Geocoding Tools extension see the Manifold Geocoding Tools page.
  • For more details on the Surface Tools extension see the Manifold Surface Tools page.
  • Buy the products on this page using a Visa, MasterCard or EuroCard credit card on the Online Store.
  • All prices are in US Dollars. Prices are subject to change without notice.

COVID-19 Response

Three Free Activation Keys in 2020 - To support installation on work at home machines, Manifold licenses will automatically qualify for three free additional activation keys in 2020. Additional keys are automatically granted when activation is requested for a license that has run out of keys.

Manifold Release 9 Prices

$95 - Manifold Release 9 Universal - Includes all Release 9 features. Every Release 9 serial number enables 64-bit operation in 64-bit Windows systems, 32-bit operation in 64-bit Windows systems (used for compatibility when integrating with other software that is limited to 32-bit operation), or 32-bit operation in 32-bit Windows systems. This is a fully paid license and is not a limited time license or a lease. Best buy.

Legacy Bundle - Buy Release 9 together with Manifold System Release 8 for total legacy compatibility:

$175 - Manifold Release 9 Universal + Manifold 8.00 Ultimate x64 - Includes both Manifold Release 9 and Manifold 8.00 Ultimate x64. Includes two standard tech support incidents by email.

The best classic GIS ever - Release 8 is the world's best classic GIS providing seamless desktop, enterprise, programming and web serving GIS in totally integrated product:

$95 - Manifold 8.00 Ultimate x64 - All features of the classic Manifold 8.00 product line in a single package, at the best price ever.

 Click to begin shopping

Deciding between Release 8 Personal and Universal Editions

Most individual users beginning with Release 8 will choose between Release 8 Personal Edition and Release 8 Universal Edition. The rule of thumb is if the extra cost of Universal is not a big deal then Universal is definitely a far better value. Universal includes all Enterprise level features, all three optional extensions and IMS. That is more power than legacy GIS companies typically sell for tens of thousands of dollars, so in terms of sheer power and "everything included" convenience you cannot beat Universal Edition.

For all that, do not think that Release 8 Personal Edition is some sort of limited tool: it's not, and it includes more than most legacy GIS products will deliver for thousands of dollars. Personal will connect to a vast array of different GIS file types, both raster and vector, and connects to an immense array of DBMS products as well. It includes Spatial SQL at a level that no other GIS product except Release 9 at any price can match. If you do not need to work with specialty "spatial" DBMS, do not need to work simultaneously with others in your organization on the same data sets, do not need IMS or the specialized features in the three extensions, then you can get an immense amount of breadth and depth of GIS power in Personal edition for a very low price.

Some users are not sure if they will ever want to use IMS or other features so they get Universal Edition to give themselves the option at some future point of exploring IMS or anything else that can be done with Manifold. The price difference is slight so the "all inclusive" convenience is worth that to many users.

Choosing Release 8 Universal Edition

More advanced individual users, almost everyone involved with GIS as a business and almost all organizations buying Release 8 will choose Release 8 Universal Edition.

Enterprise features included in Universal make it much easier for users to share data if there is more than one GIS user within an organization. These same features greatly assist in organizing data in many projects, so that even single users who work with a lot of data will use Enterprise features to save time and to stay organized. Enterprise features also provide direct connection to spatial DBMS and export to .e00 format.

For the small difference in price from Personal to Universal, almost all business or organizational users will choose Universal Edition.

Do you need Geocoding?

The Release 8 Geocoding Tools package is built into Release 8 Universal and Release 8 Ultimate editions but is not included in Release 8 Personal Edition. The Geocoding Tools package is $25 when ordered as an optional extension for Personal Edition or for Manifold editions previously sold such as Professional or Enterprise Editions. Many business users in the US will choose Geocoding Tools, either as an optional extension or as part of Universal.

Geocoding Tools provide street address geocoding, enable street address navigation, enable web-based geocoding server data sources (such as Virtual Earth), enable third party geocoding data sources (such as MapPoint) and turn on the ability to use the Manifold US Geocoding Database as a source for automatically-created maps of any US county.

Illustration, above right: An example using area overlays to extrude building heights from a drawing of buildings. The base terrain has also been overlaid with a satellite image for background realism. Created with Personal Edition.

The Manifold Geocoding Database is a free data set but you must have Geocoding Tools capability to use that database. It may be acquired by free download from the Product Downloads page. The download is large, 801 MB, but given the popularity of broadband, high-speed Internet most users will be able to download the Geocoding Database for free with no problems.

Users outside of the US will also take advantage of the Geocoding Tools bundle, but normally will do so for street address geocoding purposes using an external, auxiliary geocoding data source such as a web-based geocoding data source.

Do I need a 64-bit Edition?

All Manifold licenses now offered provide full 64-bit capability if you are running 64-bit Windows. That's a very big deal since true 64-bit operation makes a big difference in performance. Don't even hesitate about this. Get a 64-bit edition of Windows and run 64-bit Manifold.

You need a 64-bit, x64 Windows operating system to run 64-bit Manifold. When Windows boots up you'll see a clear "x64" as part of the Windows logo if you are running 64-bit Windows. Note: Surprisingly many computer system vendors will sell 64-bit processors with 32-bit Windows installed. In that case, as far as Windows is concerned you have a 32-bit processor.

A 64-bit Manifold license can be run either in 32-bits or 64-bits, and the serial number issued for a 64-bit Manifold license can be used to activate either a 32-bit or a 64-bit Manifold installation. This allows Manifold licensees to run their Manifold licenses both on a 64-bit desktop and on a 32-bit notebook. (The Manifold license allows use on both a main desktop computer as well as on a notebook computer so long as the two installations are not run at the same time - See the Licensing page for a summary.)

Should I order Optional Release 8 Extensions Today?

If you plan on procuring Release 8 and you think you might need any of the optional Release 8 extensions the rule of thumb is simple: don't buy them today together with Release 8 Personal Edition but instead buy Release 8 Universal Edition. Release 8 Universal Edition is a much better buy than Personal Edition plus optional extensions, even if you only plan on getting a single extension. The three extensions are offered as options to upgrade previously purchased licenses that do not have those features. They are also handy in case a Personal Edition licensee later on wants to extend Personal Edition.

Visit the Business Tools, Geocoding Tools and Surface Tools pages for details on these extensions. If you think you might ever need them, the cost difference to Universal is so small that it is probably a good idea to get Universal.

Illustration, above right - Per capita homocide rates in US states, shown in a terrain using extruded area overlays to create a 3D bar chart, with a satellite image overlay taken from Virtual Earth providing a base map. Created using Personal Edition with no other extensions required. Click on the illustration for a more detailed view.

Keep in mind that Release 8 Personal Edition includes a vast array of features even without extensions. For example, a common misconception is that one must order the Surface Tools package to give Manifold the ability to work with surfaces and to show surfaces as 3D views. That is not true, as 3D visualization is a built-in part of every Manifold edition, including Personal. The Surface Tools package extends those capabilities and adds new features, such as a sophisticated surface computation dialog, watersheds capability, visible area computation and the ability to see profiles and elevations.

What Should I get for IMS Applications?

Easy: Get Release 8 Universal x64 Edition. See also the What to Buy for IMS page.

Should I Get a Release 8 Runtime License?

Probably not. Release 8 Runtime licenses are for programmers and for web developers who already have learned Manifold using full licenses and who will know when it is time to start buying Runtime licenses. If you have a full license such as Personal Edition or Universal Edition, you can do program development with that license because a full license also exposes the same API a Runtime license does (a full license is a superset of a Runtime license).

Important: A Runtime license does not have the console GUI, so it is impractical to attempt to learn Manifold using only a Runtime license. If you are planning on creating an application based upon Manifold, get a full license to learn Manifold and develop your application. Get Runtime licenses as needed when it is time to begin deploying your application. Almost all developers will utilize a Universal Edition license for development.

Note that runtime licenses are all x64 licenses: runtime license serial numbers may therefore be used to activate installation in either 32-bit or 64-bit Manifold installations.

Advice for Applications Developers

Every Manifold license is a development environment. There is no need to buy some separate "objects library" because each Manifold license exposes the Manifold API. In fact, every Manifold license from Personal on up includes sophisticated development facilities as well, such as the Manifold Debugger, the ability to script in .NET or ActiveX languages within Manifold with full syntax highlighting (coloring) in script windows. Developers may also use standard development environments such as Visual Studio to work with Manifold objects. Developers create applications that utilize Manifold Release 8 in one of two ways:

  • Standalone Applications - The classic way of developing applications that are then distributed to run locally on customer computers. Order one Manifold license of the desired type (from Personal on up) for each developer. Deploy the application to your customer by installing a Manifold Runtime license with each customer.
  • Web Applications - Create your application as a web site utilizing Manifold IMS. There are many advantages of creating an application as a web application, not the least of which is that your cost of GIS becomes nearly zero. The requirements are the same as for an IMS application, discussed above.

Release 9 does not yet offer IMS capability, so applications developers working with the Release 9 API will create standalone applications. If you plan on developing standalone applications, without doubt you should go straight to Release 9 as the Release 9 API is far more sophisticated, far more powerful, and far easier to work with than Release 8. See the Release 9 API Documentation.

See the following for information of interest to developers:

Other Release 8 Editions

Release 8 Ultimate x64 Edition provides Administrator Console for more advanced database administrator work to configure spatial DBMS data stores and to batch upload into Oracle. Ultimate Edition is normally used in organizations that have many Universal licenses used by many users to connect to a centralized spatial DBMS. In that case, a few Ultimate licenses will be acquired to enable administrators to configure the DBMS for use by others. See the Database Administrator Edition topic in the User Manual for details.

Release 8 License Server provides floating licenses in organizations where many people need to use Manifold. Floating licenses can provide a very large cost savings in larger organizations. Because License Server costs $495 plus the cost of the floating licenses loaded into License Server, it is normally not used to provide only a few floating licenses in cases where it would be more cost effective to use standalone licenses.

However, there have been many License Server installations sold with only one or two floating licenses. That happens when an organization has one or two very valuable GIS staffers who need to be able to use Manifold on any computer in the organization, so the organization acquires License Server with one or two licenses. Users making such purchases remark that even with the cost of License Server such a Manifold installation is still much less expensive than legacy GIS software. See the Manifold License Server topic in the User Manual for details.

Complete Details

For complete details on all Manifold products see the User Manuals page - Manifold user manuals provide thousands of pages of lavishly illustrated, detailed information on every aspect of the product. Hundreds of examples show how to use Manifold facilities.

Product Downloads

Manifold products are delivered by download over Internet. See the Product Downloads page.

Manifold.net provides a very large range of free downloads that will enhance your use of Manifold on the Product Downloads page and the links it contains. For example, the free downloads from the Image Servers and Geocoding Servers page provide some of the most extraordinary and most popular features in Release 8, unavailable at any price from other GIS vendors, like the automatically downloaded and composed images and maps seen at right of Sydney, Australia, and London, England.

Must I buy Maintenance or Support?

Routine maintenance for a Manifold release consist of free updates that may be downloaded at any time. No "maintenance" charge or other fee is required to download such updates. It is very important to take advantage of free updates. Free updates provide product improvements and fix bugs. If you have not installed the latest Manifold update you will not be able to utilize Manifold Technical Support.

All Manifold technical support is paid, with two prepaid incidents of standard technical support by email provided with a license. Additional incidents are very inexpensive, providing the lowest cost and highest quality technical support in the GIS industry. However, experience shows that users who read documentation in the suggested order and participate in the Georeference forum or other online communities will never use a technical support incident, not even one of their two free incidents. Most users, therefore, will not buy any technical support products until they need them. For information on technical support, please see the Support page.

Routine updates are published from time to time for a given release to fix bugs and to add new features. Manifold on startup will check via Internet for any updates and will notify the user that a new update is available. Routine updates may be downloaded and installed at no charge.

From time to time a major new Manifold release will be published. By tradition, a new release has been offered for a limited time to licensees of the previous release at a greatly discounted price. New releases have many benefits. They include many improvements, typically hundreds of new items, and they provide a fresh serial number with five more activations.

Although upgrading to a new release is not required, technical support is available only on the current release. Because of the low cost of upgrading and the many benefits from upgrading to a new release, almost all Manifold licensees will take advantage of the initial discount offer to upgrade.

When launched, Manifold will check the web for you and notify you if any updates are available.

Additional Activations

Manifold products are copy protected using a Serial Number and Activation Key system as described in the Licensing and Serial Numbers pages. A serial number allows installation on one machine, but there are up to five activations allowed to deal with tasks like replacing a failed hard disk, upgrading to a new Windows edition or re-loading Windows or moving the installation to a new computer. If Manifold is installed on one computer as licensed, normally five activations are plenty to enable use of a Manifold license for many years even without utilizing occasional upgrades to newer products that may be offered.

However, some users will run licenses for extremely long spans of time, perhaps in the case of a runtime license embedded in a legacy application that runs well and will not be replaced. Other users may have exceptionally bad luck with disk drives or hardware. To assist with such needs manifold.net provides additional activations in two forms: automatic free additional activations and manually purchased additional activations via the $50 Extra Activation Keys product available in the Online Store product list Services section.One year after issuance each Manifold serial number automatically gains the ability to get one more activation key, if requested. If that does not suffice, beginning one year after a serial number is issued users may purchase two additional activation keys via the Extra Activation Keys product for the current edition of Manifold once ever year thereafter.

This enables even very old Manifold licenses to continue being used despite the passage of many years or despite equipment failures or Windows upgrades. See the Additional Activation Keys page for details

Extra keys do not authorize extra users: Each activation key does not authorize an extra user. It simply authorizes a re-installation for the same single user in the event of a hard disk crash or other required re-installation. If you use extra activation keys to attempt to use the same serial number to run Manifold on more than one machine by more than one user at the same time, sooner or later Manifold will detect a licensing violation and your serial number will be revoked and you will lose all licensing rights.

Before purchasing the Extra Activation Keys product users should check their serial numbers on the Serial Number Status page. The page will report the date the serial number was issued and how many activations have been used. If any activations are available, do not purchase the Extra Activation Keys product. Instead, use the free activations that are remaining. If no activations are available and it is more than one year since the serial number was issued, do not purchase the Extra Activation Keys product either: if you request an activation for the serial number it will be automatically granted as an additional key for that year. Only purchase the Extra Activation Keys product if you have used up the free additional activation key granted each year.

Important: A license for a Manifold product provides only five activations. The provision of either a free additional activation key every year or the availability of a paid Extra Activation Keys product is a voluntary marketing promotion by manifold.net that is provided at the sole and exclusive option of manifold.net and which may be withdrawn at any time for any reason or for no reason or for any licensee. By way of example and not limitation, the voluntary provision of free additional activations or availability of paid extra activations will be rescinded for those licensees who do not cooperate with published procedures, such as the tech support process or limitations on that process. Manifold.net would like to provide additional benefits to responsible users and will take measures to protect responsible users from higher costs imposed by irresponsible users.

Do I Need a Money-Back Guarantee?

Manifold products are not refundable. If you are not sure about Manifold Release 9, please try the free Manifold Viewer to see if Release 9 is right for you. If you are interested in Release 8, please spend $95 to order a 30 Day Lease product for Release 8 so you can work with Manifold Release 8 for 30 days to decide if Manifold Release 8 is right for you.

30 Day Lease - Manifold Release 8

If you would like to evaluate Manifold Release 8 in depth, buy the Universal 30 Day Lease product. For only $95 the lease allows you to run Release 8 Universal x64 (which allows either a 32-bit or a 64-bit installation) on as many computers as you like for 30 days. Try before you buy, or just use the Lease for short term or one-off projects.

Experience Release 9 Power in a Massively Useful, Free Tool

See Manifold Viewer in Action. Manifold Viewer is a read-only subset of Manifold Release 9. Although Viewer cannot write projects or save edited data back out to the original data sources, Viewer provides phenomenal capability to view and to analyze almost all possible different types of data in tables, vector geometry, raster data, drawings, maps and images from thousands of different sources. Manifold Viewer delivers a truly useful, Release 9 technology tool you can use for free to experience Release 9 power firsthand. See Viewer in action Watch the Manifold Viewer Introduction YouTube video.

Get Manifold Viewer

Buy Now via the Online Store

Buy Manifold products on the Online Store. The store is open 24 hours / seven days a week / every day of the year. Orders are processed immediately with serial number email sent out in seconds. Use Manifold products today!

COVID-19 Response

Three Free Activation Keys in 2020 - To support installation on work at home machines, Manifold licenses will automatically qualify for three free additional activation keys in 2020. Additional keys are automatically granted when activation is requested for a license that has run out of keys.

Manifold Release 9 Prices

$95 - Manifold Release 9 Universal - Includes all Release 9 features. Every Release 9 serial number enables 64-bit operation in 64-bit Windows systems, 32-bit operation in 64-bit Windows systems (used for compatibility when integrating with other software that is limited to 32-bit operation), or 32-bit operation in 32-bit Windows systems. This is a fully paid license and is not a limited time license or a lease. Best buy.

Legacy Bundle - Buy Release 9 together with Manifold System Release 8 for total legacy compatibility:

$175 - Manifold Release 9 Universal + Manifold 8.00 Ultimate x64 - Includes both Manifold Release 9 and Manifold 8.00 Ultimate x64. Includes two standard tech support incidents by email.

The best classic GIS ever - Release 8 is the world's best classic GIS providing seamless desktop, enterprise, programming and web serving GIS in totally integrated product:

$95 - Manifold 8.00 Ultimate x64 - All features of the classic Manifold 8.00 product line in a single package, at the best price ever.

 Click to begin shopping


Suggestions to improve Manifold are always welcome. Please see the Suggestions page for tips on making effective suggestions.

Alaskan vegetation types in an ESRI BIL raster.
Data from an ESRI Band Interleaved by Line (BIL) format file. The image shows a BIL file that codes different types of Alaskan vegetation zones as raster color values, using a false color palette colored on the fly by Release 9. Displayed in a Release 9 map with a Bing layer for background and context.

About Manifold

Manifold products deliver quality, performance and value in the world's most sophisticated, most modern and most powerful spatial products for GIS, ETL, DBMS, and Data Science. Total integration ensures ease of use, amazing speed, and unbeatably low cost of ownership, for only $95. Tell your friends!

Questions? Contact sales@manifold.net. We're happy to help!