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Archive for the ‘Mobile ArcGIS’ Category

Should you Subscribe to a GIS Web App Builder?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

 

There are a number of subscription based GIS Web application builders currently available. In this post we will discuss whether, in today’s rapidly evolving GIS market, you should subscribe to a GIS Web app Builder?

What are GIS Web App Builders?

GIS Web app builders are wizard based tools which allow those without programming skills to quickly stand up sophisticated GIS web applications. If your organization needs a variety of Web applications, maybe executive dashboards, mobile Web apps, or Web apps with a particular purpose, GIS Web app builders provide a quick way to assemble and launch these applications. They often come with a variety of modules which provide custom functionality, often targeted at specific markets; oil and gas, public safety, mining etc.

History

The release of ArcGIS 9 in May 2004 came with few Web applications. A number of companies saw the need to provide easy to use wizards to help GIS and non GIS staff generate Web apps quickly and easily. The goal was to provide simple, easy to use tools to produce Web applications for users across organizations. No need for a team of developers. Though they were expensive, these subscription based wizards became very popular, particularly with the ArcGIS community.

A New world of GIS Web Applications

We are in the midst of dramatic changes in GIS. Mobile and cloud are transforming the world of GIS. We have moved to GIS anywhere anytime. ArcGIS server remains, ArcGIS Online – a cloud based variant of server – is becoming increasingly more popular. Let’s look at the current landscape:

GIS Web application development has never been easier

Changes in technology, particularly with a move towards HTML5, have meant GIS Web application development has never been easier. The cost for developing GIS Web applications is at an all time low.

Free GIS Web apps everywhere

Over the last few years Esri have released a slew of free Web applications, targeting both ArcGIS server and Online. Easy to configure, these application are both general and industry targeted. The Esri local government team, for example, have over 40 free configurable templates available. No knowledge of programming is needed to configure these applications for use in organizations. They are also easy to extend to provide more custom functionality.

Esri’s Web App Builder for ArcGIS

Mobile and Web App Builder for ArcGIS sessions were the most popular at this years Esri user conference in San Diego. The latter is close to full release. It is a free Web application builder. We’ve been testing this new builder. It is very impressive. Easy to use. Simply Launch the builder on your desktop, open new project, set up the styling (colour, banding etc), point at your data, drag and drop in pre-built widgets which provide specific functionality (measure tools etc) and generate. A piece of cake. The beauty of the builder is that the application generated is Javascript. This means it is easy to extend a base application and add new widgets. Like the popular ArcGIS Viewer for Flex one can see that the list of free widgets available with Web App Builder for ArcGIS will grow over time, as the developer community contribute their work.

We have already begun development planning around producing new widgets. Soon after the full release of Web App Builder for ArcGIS we will be launching widgets which provide custom functionality. targeting utilities, transportation and pipeline industries. As an example, we will be launching widgets for use on mobile devices, which will provide mid-stream pipeline companies simple online/offline custom data collection, QA/QC solutions which integrate seamlessly with backend PODS.

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Has Collector helped to put mobile GIS on the map?

Friday, July 25th, 2014


Excuse the pun, but the question need be asked: has Collector helped to put mobile GIS on the map?

We are just back from the Esri user conference in San Diego. A horrible place to go for a conference! As ever a terrific event. And the most popular sessions were ….. anything mobile. The Collector demos were standing room only extending into the corridor. Everybody seems to have mobile and Collector fever. Having been preaching the gospel of mobile GIS and mapping for so many years, this fills our hearts with joy.

From our perspective, this surge in mobile interest has created new client needs. Most notably:

Collector Set up and Training

We’ve been inundated with requests from clients to help set up and train staff on the use of Collector. The app is popular with GIS and non GIS trained staff alike This has necessitated familiarizing these field based workers with the online and offline Collector workflows. Data set up and publishing in ArcGIS Online has also been required. Collector is replacing older pen and paper based methods once used to collect data. Using a smartphone or tablets built-in GPS, users location and the location of features can be automatically set. Feature attributes are stored on the device if offline, locally stored edits or additions are pushed to ArcGIS Online when back online. Images can be attached to features using the mobiles built in camera.
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Esri UC is over .. now what are you going to do?

Monday, July 21st, 2014

 

This years Esri UC in San Diego was the best yet. So much cool new technology. The GIS revolution is in full swing. But now it is all over, as you sip your coffee on your first day back at the office. Now what are you going to do?

Floods on new information, ideas, products. Its your job to organize your thoughts, and take action on implementation within your organization. Inertia is your biggest enemy.

What’s your mobile strategy?

Mobile is everywhere. Quite literally. We have become so dependent on our mobile devices. At this years UC it was hard to avoid discussions around mobile. More than any other advance, mobile is having a profound affect on GIS. Esri are pushing forward with new mobile technology. There is no doubt that Collector has raised the profile of mobile ArcGIS. Mobile data collection integrated with ArcGIS is hot at the moment. Old methods of using paper and pen are rapidly being replaced. Collector took a while coming, but it was well worth the wait. We are working with ever more clients helping set up Collector, and train staff.

Mobile presents new opportunities to apply GIS in new ways To replace outmoded methods. To use GIS technology in a seamless manner both in and out of the office. Data collection is but one application of mobile GIS technology. As was demonstrated at this years UC, there are a plethora of new applications of mobile GIS.

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Using Mobile GIS to Help Mineral and Energy Sector Regulation and Management

Monday, June 30th, 2014

 

Mobile GIS is exciting. It offers a new ways for field based staff to get their work done more efficiently, and provide more accurate data. Energy sector regulation and management have many challenges. Field surveys are often done in remote areas outside of mobile communication coverage. Data collection still relies on a disjointed combination of equipment. New mobile GIS technology offers potentially dramatic improvements in how Mineral Exploration Regulation Teams get their work done. We will discuss a new integrated approach in this article.

Mobile GIS and Energy Sector Regulation

Its worth providing some background on a typical scenario for mineral and energy activity regulation.

Mineral Exploration Regulation Teams

Much of the work done by mineral exploration regulation teams is centred on monitoring ground exploration activities. Comparing reported activity and impacts, against what is observed. Field inspections are typically ground based and often done in remote areas. Off-road 4WD vehicles and possibly air support may be needed depending on the activity, urgency of an inspection, the availability of staff and accessibility of sites. There are other dependencies on ground conditions such as weather, agricultural and cultural practices.

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GIS in 2014 – change your company change you career

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Caught your attention? Those words: change your company change you career. Today you have the opportunity to light a fire under your career or company. You’ll ask:

“But where do I begin?”

First understand. Don’t be overwhelmed by information overload. Filter and focus. GIS is changing. Its changing for the best; moving from the periphery to the core. What does that mean? See Esri repeating “whats your location strategy” to business executives for a clue.

We are in the throes of upheaval. Look only as far as the end of your nose, focusing on your jobs tasks at hand, and you’ll miss it. Look back at how you always did business before, and you will be out of business.

Forget yesterdays leaders. Who are the leaders of tomorrow?

Questions. Questions. Its confusing. Nobody knows the path things will follow. That is because it is not set.

YOU CAN SET IT (am I shouting?)

So get up and go. These are amazingly exciting times. Don’t be told the path. Set it. Your career and/or company are depending on it!

Thoughts?

Offline ArcGIS Editing in Web Browser

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

 

If you have wondered about offline ArcGIS editing in a browser, wonder no more. Below is an Web application which uses either ArcGIS Server or ArcGIS Online layers to allow offline editing:

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It is amazing what is now possible with mobile and cloud GIS

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

 

Let’s keep this mobile and cloud GIS theme moving forward. We’ve spoken in this blog about the realities, as we see them, of GIS in 2014. Chris Cappelli at Esri talks about muscle memory. Its a good analogy. Mobile and cloud GIS remain a tough sell. Do they provide anything new? In many ways no: if you have deep pockets anything is possible. But that is the point, few of us have deep pockets, and all of us are looking to do things better, quicker and cheaper. And that is what we get with mobile and cloud GIS.

You want proof?

Its time for demos I think. Let’s show what is now possible. From data collection, to focused customised, cloud based GIS Web apps to location analytics for business users. (more…)

Impressions from the mobile and cloud GIS front line

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

 

Turmoil, resistance, adjustment, fear, confusion …. this is what I am sensing from the GIS community over the enormous changes we are experiencing in the industry.

From the non-GIS community, education is the main challenge. What does location intelligence bring me that I am not getting from my business intelligence system?

Change is good. Change is scary. But with change comes opportunity. In 2014 its all about realizing those opportunities. (more…)

So many ways to apply mobile GIS and yet ….

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Mobile GIS can be used in so many different ways. In combination with the cloud, this is a powerful new way to view, analyse and gather location based data.

And yet we remain in a world where paper and pen are still the main tools used in the field. In many organizations there is a reluctance to move to new mobile GIS technology. Many factors are behind this resistance:

1) Data security concerns.
2) Concerns over budget.
3) Worries over integration with existing business systems.
4) Lack of understanding of what is now possible.
5) Resistance to change.

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GIS in 2014: confusion, uncertainty and opportunity

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Cloud, mobile, platform, location analytics, security, location strategy, indoor … GIS is in a state of flux. That’s a challenge. Am i still useful? What’s our best future path? Confusion and uncertainty.

Disruption can be tough.

The technology is moving so fast. Its hard to keep pace. Flex is out HTML5 in. Responsive design. Cross-platform. Multi-device. ArcGIS Online. Storymaps. Templates. Dashboards. Integration.

Esri are moving their messaging to platform.

So many Esri partners and GIS companies in general are still focused on how they have always worked with GIS; their solutions in isolation. Is cloud GIS a threat? ArcGIS platform?

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