Mobile GIS & LBS
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.
3 Reflections on the Esri Partner Conference
March 11th, 2014 by Matt Sheehan
Palm Springs in spring is just fantastic. Beautiful weather, a great downtown and so many super places to run.
The Esri Partner Conference back to back with the Developer Conference has swelled the numbers in town this week. For WebMapSolutions, this years partner conference was a little different. We were honored to be part of the plenary. The hard work required to prepare was well worth the time. More on the plenary in a future post.
While fresh in our minds, some reflections on the partner conference we thought were worth sharing in this blog post.
Focus on the ArcGIS Platform
Esri are very much focused on the ArcGIS platform. What constitutes the platform? Every piece of the Esri universe: desktop, ArcGIS Online, portal, mobile etc. Portal and ArcGIS Online are essentially the glue which hold all together. ArcGIS Server sits in the background quietly of both Online and Portal. Now publishing, sharing and controlling access to data is easy.
Let’s provide an example of an implementation of the ArcGIS platform. An Alabama commercial real estate came to us with a specific mobile ArcGIS need. As we discussed this need, the question of data was raised. Everything to date had been done on the desktop, using ArcMap. After digging deeper into the clients workflows, it turned out the real core need was beyond a specific mobile ArcGIS implementation. It was to share data, both public and private, with office and field based staff, and to provide applications and tools to work with that data. Both mobile and Web. A mobile question became a platform implementation.
Mobile GIS Mobile GIS
We live in a multi-device world; PC, tablet, smartphone. Work was once an office based phenomena. No more. GIS applications should be available across devices. That means on office PC’s and as out of office mobile apps.
There was much emphasis on this multi-device approach in the Partner Conference. For us this was refreshing. We’ve had this focus for a number of years. GIS is extremely powerful when used with GPS on mobiles. Visualizing and discovering information and data about your current location extends the office GIS experience, and provides opportunities to apply the technology in new and exciting ways.
In real estate finding new properties for sale which fit a clients requirements may be a task you conduct on your office PC using a Web application. Imagine on your iPad while out of the office, you can show these properties to your client: floor plan, pictures etc. More than that you can show information about the area around the property; schools, drive times, maybe demographic information. Now that is powerful.
Next think about retail, and how to increase the traffic to your store. You have a mobile gaming app. Built into this app is a notification service (driven by GIS technology). When a user who has the game loaded on their phone passes your store, a text message is sent telling the user to scan an item in the store (no need to buy), and get an upgrade in the game. This is a real scenario. Traffic increased by 15% as a direct result of this mobile GIS app!
Think Differently about GIS
GIS is all about location. Is this stating the obvious? Definitely maybe. Many companies still focus on the technology rather than what is at the heart of the application of this technology.
Its all about maps. Really? So the client we are working with who is visually impaired cannot use GIS? Of course he can. The map is one powerful way to present location based data, but not the only way.
Why is GIS so powerful in a mobile context? With built in GPS mobile devices are location-centric portable computers.
Gently this was the message at the Partner Conference. Evolve and transform. Think differently. What we can do now with GIS is amazing. New opportunities in new sectors are emerging. Old ways are being replaced.
There was a real buzz at the end of this years Partner Conference. The penny is beginning to drop with partners. A new world of GIS has emerged. As an ex-colleague of mine said, the excitement and new information is one thing, but most important is execution.
For the most agile, nimble companies who embrace the ArcGIS platform, 2014 should prove to be a very exciting year.
We are always interested in your feedback. Drop us a line with your thoughts