I’m just back from presenting at the GeCo in the Rockies Conference. My first time in Grand Junction. A sleepy town surrounded by amazing scenery, with the beautiful Colorado River on its doorstep. For me, this felt like a conference of contrast. Traditional meets new. Its fascinating to watch how the GIS industry is changing. This was the first time I fully realised that we are in the midst of a split. Hard core GIS professionals continue to ply their trade. Locked up in modelling, developing and using apps with the traditional GIS look, feel and workflows. New GIS is charting a new and different course. (more…)
We’ve just released a new mobile GIS planning guide. This free eBook will walk you through each of the key areas which need consideration when moving forward with a mobile GIS project. Web versus native, choice of cloud GIS technology, offline, mobile app choice and mobile GIS frameworks will all be discussed. These are exciting times for GIS. Mobile and cloud technology are transforming how and where GIS is being used. This guide should help you get your mobile GIS project off the ground.
When you read a blog entitled ‘Building Offline ArcGIS apps with a Mobile Framework’, I’m thinking the first question which comes to mind is:
What is a mobile framework?
In the crudest terms a mobile framework provides the nuts and bolts to build custom mobile applications. No need to reinvent the wheel each time you need a mobile app. We’ve been building a framework which makes generating offline mobile ArcGIS apps easy. And not just offline, it makes producing any mobile ArcGIS app fast and easy.
Continuing our series of videos showing custom offline mobile editing for ArcGIS. We have developed a framework which allows us to build very flexible mobile apps for clients providing offline GIS editing. In the demo below we show how users can download and use base maps when offline.
Offline Mobile Editing for ArcGIS
As shown in the video, the workflows have been designed to be simple and intuitive.
Yikes, now that is a question: does conformity allow for GIS creativity?
But it is worth pondering. We encourage our children to think for themselves, to be creative, be individual thinkers. And yet we live in a world where one is expected to conform. In both action and thought.
Conform in action and thought?
In work we concern ourselves with pleasing bosses, not rocking the boat, remaining within organizational constraints. Ok, that is maybe an overstatement. But we are first and foremost concerned with conformity, not moving out of step. That is not all bad. But where does that leave creativity and individual thinking?
We have put together below a demo showing work we are doing providing online offline mobile editing from map or geoform.
Offline Mobile Editing from Map or Geoform
There are two perspectives possible when editing data in the field. Map-centric starts obviously with the map. Drop a point (line or polygon), and edit an associated attributes window pop up. There is a second or form-centric perspective. So starting with a form. This maybe a form associated with a feature. It might also be a custom form, required as part of a job; maybe for inspections or legal purposes, which is stored or distributed to concerned/interested parties.
Don’t you hate that. Thinking: I don’t understand your GIS web site, and product offering!
It might look nice, be very professional. But leaves you no wiser as to the product or services offered than before you started browsing. What a waste. Maybe the product is as empty as the Web site. But maybe not. If the latter, you are blowing it royally.
I came across a great example the other day. I know the company well. Know their staff, and the great work they do. They have just launched a new GIS mobile solution suite. A tonne of work has gone into this, their first true products. But visit the Web site and …. you’ll see polish and professionalism, some high level descriptions, mostly marketing messages, but are left with little else. Just ‘Contact us for more Info’.
Its a question worth asking: where do great GIS ideas come from?
I attend plenty of conferences. Its always a pleasure to see how companies and individuals are applying the technology. Always, there are a small group who stand out. Those with unique ideas and products. These are often breathtakingly simple. See Valarm and their work with monitoring and sensors for an example.
Where do great GIS ideas come from?
So do innovators sit in dark rooms on stormy nights pen in hand, feverishly scribbling down ideas?
We often have clients come to us and request we build a mobile app for iPad and/or iPhone. Our first question, before touching on functionality is: should you build a mobile GIS app for Apple devices only?
There are many reasons why building a mobile GIS app for just one platform (Apple iOS in this case) makes sense. Maybe your staff all have, and love, iPads and iPhones. They are comfortable with Apple products, and your IT department is set up to support iOS devices alone. I know many iOS fans who would cringe at the suggestion of switching to Android, for example. Apps which run on Apple devices are usually (and we will come back to this) written in a programming language called Objective-C. A language unique, or native, to Apple.
So … custom cross platform mobile GIS apps are expensive?
They certainly can be. Let’s imagine you would like a custom version of Collector for ArcGIS. Maybe you want a tool which is not provided by Collector. Lets say custom forms. iFormBuider won’t cut it. You need something for your unique workflows. Since you have a field team who use Apple, Android and Windows mobile devices (that means smartphone and tablets) you need a cross platform solution. What do you do?
More than likely you turn to a GIS development company like ours. You’ll ask us, if such a custom app is possible. And most importantly how much it might cost?