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.
5 things you need to know about Web mobile ArcGIS
June 2nd, 2015 by Matt Sheehan
ArcGIS Online is still relatively new. Many organizations have begun looking seriously at this cloud based GIS solution. Sure there are still worries about credits, cost concerns, confusion around named users. But wider scale adoption is on the horizon.
Web Mobile ArcGIS
As organizations dig deeper into ArcGIS, the question of mobile is often raised. In this post let’s discuss 5 things you need to know about Web mobile ArcGIS.
1. Ubiquitous – run on any device and platform
In today’s world we use many devices: PC’s, laptops, smartphones, tablets. These are all basically computers. Devices like smartphones, and tablets mean we are no longer limited to our office or home based computers. Now we can use applications anywhere and at anytime. GIS technology is particularly useful on mobile devices. Not only does it provide (easily understood) maps as output, but detailed, focused information based on location:
“Show me all the water valves which have not been inspected in Sandy City in the last 2 months”
“Alert me if I start digging with my excavator within 30 ft of an oil pipeline”
We all have a mix of different mobile devices: smartphones, tablets, Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry. Ideally we want our mobile ArcGIS applications to run on any and all of our devices. Web ArcGIS is the perfect solution. Write once run everywhere is the true power of web ArcGIS technology. Pull up a browser on your device and you are good to go.
The diagram below shows our offline ArcGIS editor. The application has been designed to run on any device. To the left below is how the application looks on a PC, laptop or tablet, and on the right on a smartphone.
2. Super flexible thanks to widgets
The joy of ArcGIS widgets. The world has moved away from bloated, expensive ArcGIS applications which provide a confusing array of tools. Today application can be configured which provide just those tools needed by those using the application. Widgets provide specific functionality – measure, draw, edit, print etc – and can be added to any web ArcGIS application. We have been extending the excellent configurable map viewer, as shown below.
3. Easy to maintain and extend
One of the huge advantages of web apps over other types of applications is how easy they are to maintain and extend. These are simple HTML5 applications which are loaded in Chrome or other mobile browsers. If you need to add additional widgets, re-style, or change workflows, this can be done quite easily. Recently we have been asked about custom forms. This has led us to develop custom form widgets.
4. User friendly and intuitive
We are increasingly providing GIS solutions to non-GIS users. And about time too!
Mobile ArcGIS application need to be easy to understand and use. Maps are intuitive. The tools provided need be the same. In the recent past it was expected that users had to read manuals, and take training courses to understand an ArcGIS application. Today, the focus is on simplicity. Web ArcGIS mobile applications should be designed to be user friendly, with no training required. Applications and tools provided should get the job done without special knowledge or skill and with as few clicks (or taps) as possible.
5. Provide advanced functionality
Surely web applications are simple, and provide no advanced functionality?
In today’s mobile web based world so much more is possible. Advances in browser technology and the evolution of HTML5 have opened many doors. Amazing things are now possible with web applications: 3-D, and virtual reality to name but two. To mobile, particularly relevant is offline or the ability to continue working with a web mobile ArcGIS application in areas which lack wireless connectivity.
Increasingly, as a company, we look to web ArcGIS technology to provide our customers with simple and intuitive apps. Easy to maintain and extend, with advanced functionality such as the ability to work in areas with poor or no wireless connectivity. Let us know if you have an interest in mobile ArcGIS, we would be happy to tell you more.