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 Mobile GIS & LBS

Archive for the ‘cloud GIS’ Category

Have story maps finally come of age?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Let me be brutally honest. I did not like the first set of Esri story map templates released. They were far too GIS-ey. When I shared them with my non-GIS, non-mappy friends there were a few raised eyebrows: “How do I use this bloody thing” I heard often. In my mind, story maps were a good idea, but the early releases missed the mark. That said, the new generation of Esri story maps have really caught my attention.

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3 Common ArcGIS Mistakes

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

The new ArcGIS platform has helped broaden the spectrum of ‘where’ questions which subscribers can answer. Publishing data and generating maps has never been easier. Configuring simple map based web applications which provide focused functionality (editing, public engagement etc) is simple. But we see 3 common mistakes being made when using the platform to answer ‘where’ questions.

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Teasing out the (GIS) Story

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Mr L and I were chatting the other day about the problem to story path. It was in the back of my mind as I wrote yesterday’s blog post: Location Intelligence: What is your best Solution?. Some of the challenges the GIS industry is facing in widening the use of the technology to answer business ‘where’ questions stem from this problem/story starting point. Let me explain.

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Location Intelligence: What is your best Solution?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

I use the term location intelligence (LI) with great caution. Why?

I always feel it is still a term which is poorly understood. It really sits under the more general ‘business intelligence’ umbrella. One common definition:

Location intelligence (LI) is a business intelligence (BI) tool capability that relates geographic contexts to business data. Like BI, location intelligence software is designed to turn data into insight for a host of business purposes.

We often provide a simpler definition:

LI is focused on answering business ‘where’ questions.

In this blog post we will discuss location intelligence and focus on available solutions.

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Offline Mobile Map Basics 5: Use Cases

Monday, September 12th, 2016


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 Map Basics: What are your Choices?

Thursday, September 8th, 2016


In our third article in this series: Offline Mobile Map Basics: Editing Map Layers Offline, we discussed editing map layers when offline. Layer feature add, update, delete and attachments were at the core of the conversation. In this, our fourth article in the offline mobile map series, we will pull all together and discuss your options for working with mobile maps.

Offline Mobile Map Basics: What are your Choices?

Today there are three mobile offline ArcGIS choices: web, hybrid and native. Each has its own own advantages and disadvantages

1. Offline Mobile Map Web Apps

Web ArcGIS mobile apps are built with HTML5, Javascript and CSS. They are cross-platform and cross-device, and the most flexible of the mobile options discussed here. They also require the least amount of resource investment of the three. A typical use case for an ArcGIS mobile web app would be: “We want maximum flexibility. Our staff will be using many different mobile devices in areas lacking wireless connectivity. Cost is very important. Extending the mobile app over time with additional custom functionality will be required”.


Mobile ArcGIS Choices: Native, Hybrid or Web

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016


Mobile adoption in the GIS world has taken place slower than many would have expected. The GIS landscape is changing so rapidly, mobile was just one more ball to juggle. But things have begun to change. We are now in a world of multiple devices. And not just smartphones and tablets, also wearable’s, smart TVs etc. There is increasing demand to have access to GIS anywhere, on any device.

Today there are three mobile ArcGIS choices: native, hybrid or web. Each has its own own advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking to have a mobile ArcGIS app developed the right approach need be made on a case per case basis. In this article we will discuss these 3 options; the pros and cons.

Mobile ArcGIS Choices: Native, Hybrid or Web

1. Native ArcGIS Mobile Apps

Native ArcGIS mobile apps are developed specifically for one platform. They are written in the native language of that platform. So Objective-C for Apple (iOS) devices, Java for Android, .NET for Windows. Functionality, user experience and performance are key advantages of native ArcGIS apps. But they are more complex and expensive to build and are not cross-platform compatible. A typical use case for a native ArcGIS mobile app would be: “We will only ever use iPads in our organization, and we are working with large data-sets. Performance is key”.

Lost in GIS

Monday, August 22nd, 2016


Let me start this blog post with an age test. Do the following lines of dialogue mean anything to you?

“Oh, the pain, the pain”

“Where are you my hairy friend?”

How about?

“You Deplorable Dunderhead”

“Nickel Plated Nincompoop”

This will mean nothing to the younger generation. But to some of you (and yes I can see you smiling) this means Lost in Space. Forget the movie remake, this was one of the greatest American TV sitcom’s ever made. Filled with terribly wooden actors, predictable story lines, comical monsters (many also seen in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’), cheesy sets .. I could go on. ‘Great American TV sitcom?” I hear you ask. Without question. Why?

Dr Smith that is why!

A simply marvelous character: sneaky, underhanded, greedy, lazy, cowardly. He stole the show. Dr Smith was the reason we watched.


Offline Maps and How to Get Started Part 1

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016


I thought it worthwhile pulling together a series of posts on offline maps and how to get started. This an area in which we have particular expertise.

Many of the most popular mobile apps available today include maps. Apps like Pokemon Go and Uber are two excellent examples. Built in GPS in smartphones and tablets has enabled users to ask a multitude of ‘where questions': Where is the closest PokéStop? Where is my Uber driver?

The popularity of consumer mobile mapping apps is now moving to the enterprise, to save money, or make money. GIS is a technology which quietly sits behind many mobile enterprise mapping apps. GIS generates maps from raw data and allows users to ask both simple and complex ‘where questions’. More on GIS later.

Offline Maps and How to Get Started Part 1

Mobile maps often rely on wireless connectivity to work. As an example, when you see your Uber driver heading towards your location on the map, quietly in the background your smartphone is getting information back over wireless on the changing location of that driver.

GIS Technology on its own is Useless

Monday, August 15th, 2016


I’m troubled by fixed mindsets. Whether that be personal or corporate. I’m old enough to have experienced the dot com boom. Embedded tech ideas driven mostly by internal ‘brilliance’ than solving real client problems. The ‘if we build it they will come’ approach. Rather like the film Field of Dreams. Fiction!

GIS Technology on its own is Useless

I like the title of this blog post: GIS Technology on its own is Useless. We could take the GIS part of that title away. Technology helps to solve problems. It is not a solution on its own. Read that again.

If we throw technology over the fence at users/clients/colleagues does that solve their problem?

Today’s GIS technology is incredible. But it is only as useful as the problems we know how to solve using GIS. On its own GIS is useless.

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