Mobile GIS is becoming ever more popular in organizations. The advent of cheap mobile smartphones and tablets has meant that location technologies like GIS are no longer confined to office use only. Mobile GIS is helping to empower field staff, as well as provide new tools to all mobile users. In the post we discuss 4 popular uses of mobile GIS.
4 Popular Uses of Mobile GIS
1) Data Collection
Pen and paper have been the traditional way data has been collected in the field. Sometimes it is the main storage method also. Mobile GIS presents a new way to collect data accurately. Leveraging GPS, in-built cameras and Internet access, mobile GIS provides new ways to collect, and upload data to a central location. This provides a dramatic improvement in efficiency, no more paper storage or manual data entry. Now rich, accurate field data can be collected, uploaded and shared across an organization in real time. Collector for ArcGIS is a nice new mobile editing app. We’ve built a flexible framework which provides much of what is in Collector, but is customizable and runs across all popular mobile platforms (Apple, Android, Windows)
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!
Offline mobile editing has been one of the most common GIS requests over the last couple of years. Finally with Collector, Esri have released a fully functioning online and offline mobile editing app. We’ve been helping many of our clients with training and set up for Collector. The feedback has been very positive, but we keep being asked:
“We would like a custom version of Collector (which also runs on Windows mobile devices)”
Branding, custom functionality and greater mobile device support. Given our years of working with mobile offline ArcGIS editing, we threw some weight at this problem. We have come up with a Web based offline editing solution; one which runs in a mobile browser. The solution can be used on all popular mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows) and across devices: smartphones, tablets and smablets. It is also, and mostly importantly, very flexible. Some of the notable features:
a) Loads both ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online hosted layers.
b) Easy custom styling and branding.
c) Flexible offline basemaps.
d) Responsive, so styled for all mobile devices.
e) Easily extended to support custom functionality.
f) Includes templates for custom reports.
g) Simple, intuitive workflows for all users.
Custom Version of ArcGIS Collector
Below is a video showing a demo version of the app. We highlight specifically the custom reporting functionality:
Just to advance the discussion on the work we have been doing with offline editing in the Web browser. We have extended the demo app shown in a previous post to be responsive. In other words to run well on all mobile devices: smartphones, tablets and smablets. The short video shows the same offline ArcGIS editing application running in a browser on a tablet and smartphone.
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…)
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.
What are the biggest challenges today faced by pipeline companies when it comes to data collection and management?
Cost is maybe number one. Many of the current PODS systems are very expensive. Inefficiency and inaccuracy is a close second. Still paper and pen are an important part of how data is collected in the field. This then has to be collated and input into the central company system when back in the office. Often this can take weeks or even months.
Today using cloud and mobile technology, there are far better and cheaper ways to collect and manage field data. Imagine a real scenario faced by pipeline companies; tracking encroachments. The video below shows an iPad application which dramatically improves on old methods:
If we all look in the same place we will never find those elusive nuggets of gold.
I read that sentence years ago, and it always stuck in my mind. To me it meant set your own path, don’t follow the herd. The most discussed and publicized opportunities are no longer opportunities. Discover the yet to be discovered.
As GIS comes out of the shadows, opportunities abound. The audience for, and applications of the technology has dramatically increased. But like gold the opportunities are not sitting on the surface, they are there to be discovered. Go where everybody else is looking and success may well be elusive. Read what the GIS community is discussing; hot topics and trends. New, focused conferences are popping up left and right. All very interesting, and no doubt valid, but …..