Bob Honn is a Director of Product Marketing at Canon Solutions America, Large Format Solutions Group. He is responsible for managing both the Technical Document and Display Graphics reseller programs, is the acting software portfolio product manager along with managing all the demand generation and … More »
How GIS Professionals Can Create a Flexible, Mobile Workflow
July 15th, 2015 by Bob Honn
The demand for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) services and tools continues to rise. This was reflected in a recent industry survey in which 73% of respondents noted experiencing a growth in demand for GIS services. Many of the respondents already include GIS in their survey workflow or offer it as a service, and when asked which GIS tools have the most potential, 42% reported Mobile GIS Applications, with cloud-based GIS Applications/Web Portals next at 27%.1
As the use of GIS becomes even more pervasive, the work environments for organizations that rely heavily on these applications are becoming even more mobile and collaborative. As a result, the need to share, view and print GIS documents in the field using a broad range of mobile devices is growing.
Today’s mobile print applications and cloud computing capabilities make this collaborative, on-the-go approach easier by leveraging the mobile device’s Internet connection to access and print to large format enabled printers. Now, GIS professionals can share, manage, and print content when and where they need it – helping them adapt to the changing work environment.
Collaboration Through the Cloud
Cloud computing is an ideal approach for the mobile and highly collaborative work environments of GIS professionals, which frequently entail the communication and analysis of detailed information – often in the field. High volumes of documents including GIS maps, satellite photos, spreadsheets and PDFs can be stored online or “in the cloud”, where they can be easily downloaded, edited and uploaded. This can be critical to enabling an efficient workflow as project teams can leverage the cloud to share information over the duration of the project.
Two ways in which data can be easily shared in this collaborative work environment using a large format multifunction device are: scan to FTP, or desktop publish to the cloud via an online storage service like ADrive™, Dropbox™, Google Docs™, or Amazon Web Services™. The scan via FTP method enables a more flexible on-ramp to the cloud so documents can be shared and accessed across multiple stakeholders, and users are not locked into a single proprietary service provider. All that is required is a cloud storage provider that has an FTP front end that enables scan to FTP functionality; otherwise uploading from a desktop to a service provider is another option. Once documents are stored in the cloud, they can be accessed by project team members using a variety of mobile devices for collaborative viewing and printing purposes.
A Mobile and Flexible Workflow
Using the Wi-Fi configuration on their mobile device, project members can retrieve large format GIS maps and satellite imagery from the cloud and send a requested print to a supported large format printing device. Combining advanced large format print systems with mobile print capabilities gives GIS professionals the flexibility to print high-quality GIS documents in the field, without disrupting their workflow.
Employees no longer have to worry about having all the GIS documents they may need stored on a jump drive or printed as hard copies before they go into the field. They can trust that all the critical documents they need are stored securely in the cloud and can be accessed and sent to any large format printing system within their existing network environment enabled with the mobile printing software. Mobile access and printing of documents can lead to reduced downtime and costs as employees need not put a job on hold while they leave the site to retrieve critical maps or data.
Fast, easy access to GIS documents in the field can help geospatial professionals further leverage the use of color to improve communication and decision making, reduce mistakes and speed up project completion. For more information on how to create a collaborative, mobile workflow, visit www.csa.canon.com.
1GIS Trends Survey, Point of Beginning, August 4, 2014, http://www.pobonline.com/articles/97383-gis-trends-survey