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Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan
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.

Is your GIS application a one trick pony?

May 9th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan

“A person or thing with only one special feature, talent, or area of expertise.”

That is the definition of a one trick pony. I remember playing football (soccer) once with a chap. He had a devastating trick. I don’t know how he did it, but he would beat the defender with ease … that was until the defender learned the trick and how to defend it. That was the end of beating the defender, and indeed the end of the chaps impact on the game. Because he had but one trick!

Was your GIS application built to do one thing, and only one thing, well. Maybe its mobile data collection, insurance risk analysis, emergency assessment. What happens if you need to do more than your focused application provides? Build or configure another application is likely your answer, or live with a GIS application which does 80% of what you need.

But is there a better way?

Leverage a GIS framework is your answer. Don’t worry this blog post will not be a deep dive into technology. We will at a high level here be talking about the difference between a GIS application and GIS framework. In one word it is about flexibility.

Imagine a GIS application which is infinitely extensible. What do I mean here? I mean it can be configured to provide the tools and maps needed by many groups within your organization. Offline mobile data collection for your remote team, visualization and analysis tools to answer specific WHERE questions for different office based groups. So the same core application, providing a different focus based on need.

Sounds good? Welcome to GIS widget based frameworks. Widgets are tools which can be dropped into an application built on a framework, providing very specific functionality. Let me illustrate. Below we have an application with offline based widgets. This is a Web application so it is designed to run on any device (smartphone, tablet) or platform (Apple, Android, Windows). In this case offline map viewing and layer editing is the focus:

Using the same framework, we have below changed the map loaded and tools (widgets) provided. In this case we show hail data (provided by Weather Decision Technologies, Inc) and a Drag-and-Drop widget which allows insurers to add claims data to the map.

Widget based frameworks give you the best of all worlds. Focused GIS applications which can be configured for use by different groups with different needs using a single source. No more reinventing the wheel, or one horse pony GIS applications. Time and money saved.

Interested in GIS frameworks? Contact us on 801-733-0723.

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Categories: ArcGIS Online, cloud GIS, Mobile ArcGIS, Mobile GIS, Web and mobile GIS

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