Yes! By all means, we support Unicode in Cartographica. To the extent possible, we want to make sure that people of all languages have access to great GIS capabilities on the Macintosh.
From a practical perspective, Cartographica does the following in order to support Unicode characters:
- Importing ESRI Shapefiles uses the .cpg files as well as the internal character set identifier to determine the character set of the imported data, allowing Cartographica to import data from almost anywhere
- All XML-based formats are imported in Unicode using the standard XML parsers built into OS X
- ODBC Access uses Unicode (and some tricks in the case of Filemaker Pro) to read data of any character set from remote databases.
For output, Cartographica will provide flexible character set selection during Feature Export (for Shapefiles). For all XML-based file formats, we export the data in UTF-8.
For 1.2 and beyond, Cartographica also provides the ability to override file encoding on some formats (notably MapInfo and ESRI Shape Files, but others as well) in the event that files are mislabeled. Just use the Character Set menu when importing to declare the particular character set you know the data to be encoded in, or leave it at Automatic for us to determine it from the markings in the file.