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.
Offline Mobile Map Basics 5: Use Cases
September 12th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
In our fourth article in this series: Offline Mobile Map Basics 4: What are your Choices?, we pulled all together and discussed your options for working with mobile maps. The different types of offline mobile map apps were discussed: web. hybrid and native. In this, our last article in the offline mobile map series, we will provide use cases or examples of offline mobile map apps.
Mobile maps and GIS are confusing. As we discussed in our last article, there are 3 mobile choices: web, hybrid and native. Given the problem you are looking to overcome which is your best choice? And, more than simply mobile, what is your best choice for offline?
Let’s consider 3 use cases. In each case a different approach is taken to provide an offline mobile map solution.
Offline Mobile Web Apps – Flexibility for State and Local Government
Early in 2016 we were approached by a group of local government entities. They needed a mobile offline solution which provided a mix of requirements: offline editing, asset management, custom forms etc. No one offline map or ArcGIS solution currently available provided all that they needed. And a number of options, particularly in the asset management space, were beyond their budgets. They needed a mobile ArcGIS map solution which was both affordable and flexible. The mobile offline app was to be used across departments and by users with different smartphones and tablets.
Flexibility and cost made an offline web app the perfect choice
After careful consideration we decided to develop a widget based offline mobile ArcGIS app which we have called AppSmart for ArcGIS. See a demo of the app below:
The app has proven very successful, and we are actively adding widgets to extend the functionality for these clients.
Offline Mobile Hybrid Apps – Integrating ArcGIS with what3words for Disaster Management
What3words are a British company who have developed a universal addressing system. They have broken the world into 3 m squares and given each square a 3 word address. So for example index.home.raft is an address in London.
How is that useful?
Its first easy to communicate. Second it provides an address for places with no address.
A key use case for an app we were looking to develop was for disaster management. Using your smartphone during a disaster to view maps and find addresses without the need for an Internet connection.
We wanted to build a mobile ArcGIS app which worked offline and used the what3words addressing system. Having the app work on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, Windows) was important. The app was to be distributed in the various app stores.
Flexibility and distribution were two key drivers when making our technology choice
It was decided to adapt our offline web app, using Cordova, to generate a hybrid app. The demo below shows the Android version of the app.
Offline Mobile Native Apps – Integrating ArcGIS with Maximo® for Utilities
Maximo® Anywhere provides a ‘set of resources for building and deploying mobile apps that integrate with IBM Maximo Asset Management’. We worked with a client who wanted to integrate Maximo® Anywhere inspections with ArcGIS for use on Windows tablets by field staff, which provided full offline capabilities. An example workflow was “Show me the water valve I need to inspect on the ArcGIS map, now show me the related inspection order in Maximo® Anywhere”. The work was conducted often in areas without wireless, thus offline functionality was key. Both map layer editing and offline routing were important.
Advanced functionality, such as offline routing and local geo-processing only possible using the native ArcGIS Runtime, drove the technology choice
It was decided to build the offline map app using the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET. The completed app has proven very successful, and will be expanded to Android over time.
I hope this series of articles proved helpful to those considering mobile and in particular offline mobile maps. If you have mobile offline map questions, feel free to contact us on 801-733-0723.