Open side-bar Menu
 Mobile GIS & LBS

Archive for the ‘Web and mobile GIS’ Category

Basics: Offline Base-Maps and Layers – Part 2

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016


In our first article in this series: Basics: Offline Maps and How to Get Started Part 1, we provided background on offline maps. We discussed the difference between base-maps and layers, and covered what are interactive and editable map layers. In this second post in the series we will discuss how we take base-maps and layers offline.

1. Taking Base-Maps Offline

For this conversation we will focus much of our attention on ArcGIS. Note, the same basic principles discussed here will apply to other map and GIS offerings. So what is a base-map? It is a series of pictures or tiles combined into a single image. Rather like a jigsaw puzzle. And just like a jigsaw puzzle a single image is usually broken into smaller pieces. Think of a huge satellite image. Take a cookie cutter and break that up into smaller chunks. These are tiles.

So why generate tiles? Improved user experience that is why. Google in 2005 released Google Maps. Suddenly we could pan and zoom satellite images for free on the web. And yes the first thing I did was zoom in to see my house. But take a closer look at Google Maps or an ArcGIS web map today. You will see the individual base-map tiles as you pan and zoom. Your experience is seamless and super fast. Imagine each time you panned the map, just for a moment the map disappeared, then reappeared with the new extent. That was the pre Google Maps reality.

So how does this relate to offline? To be able to use base-maps in areas without wireless connectivity we need to copy these tiles to our smartphone or tablet. In Esri-land this can be done dynamically (see Collector for ArcGIS and the base-map selection option for offline) or through a tile package or TPK. This is simply a zip file of images. Tiles at different zoom levels: a “pyramid” of images.

Why tiled maps? from Penn State is a good article on this subject, well worth reading.

Biggest GIS Barrier is Lack of Understanding

Monday, August 29th, 2016


I was thinking yesterday about the phrase “I know enough to be dangerous”. Its one ever more applicable to GIS. As more organizations and individuals adopt the technology, knowing just about enough (or not) is ever more common. And its a problem!

Biggest GIS Barrier is Lack of Understanding

The fact that GIS has become easier, does not mean GIS is now easy. I write about this often, but it is so true. And I see it so often. Organizations looking to solve problems with the new distributed model of GIS (Web GIS) and flailing. Its why I’ll say again

The Biggest GIS Barrier is Lack of Understanding

GIS was a niche technology. Used by GIS trained staff. Answering both simple and complex ‘where’ questions. GIS trained staff are essential to the future success of GIS. Not to promote GIS but to prepare and apply GIS correctly. As a company we work on both small and large projects, and in both cases we are seeing a lack of understanding as being a huge barrier. We spend as much time educating as we do implementing. Now don’t get me wrong, we love educating. But with sometimes tight deadlines this process, particularly when working with other implementor’s, can be challenging. Its one reason we introduced our GIS Solutions Engine, to help move projects forward efficiently and ensure all are on the same page.

In the push to promote GIS technology, adoption is beginning to happen before understanding. That is a worry. More emphasis need be put on helping organizations and individuals solve their business problems without the technology itself being just one more barrier.

Contact us on 801-733-0723.


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.

What is a GIS Solutions Engine?

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016


A GIS solutions engine: state the problem and with the simple press of a button …. out comes your answer. Sounds too good to be true. I bet I have you wondering where you can get this wondrous technology.

What is a GIS Solutions Engine?

There is little doubt that GIS has become easier. Releases like ArcGIS Online have greatly simplified the process or mechanics of generating and publishing maps. There are now many configurable (that means you don’t need to build from scratch) web and mobile applications which come with these platforms. Now anybody can set up and help provide answers to where questions with GIS. Right?

Well… definitely, maybe!

From our experience with customers, if you do not have in-house GIS expertise or are not prepared to spend time learning GIS ….. answering your business where questions with GIS might not be so easy.

Is Data the Ugly Duckling of GIS?

Thursday, August 4th, 2016


You know the story about the ugly duckling. Poor little chap; taken for granted, disregarded, under-valued. Then one day he turns into a beautiful swan.

Is Data the Ugly Duckling of GIS?

In some ways that is GIS data. It was not that long ago that data was incredibly hard to find. Everything changed in the mid-2000’s with Google maps, Open Streetmap and others stepping up. Suddenly a whole variety of base maps were available. Many at little or no cost. In addition, data which sits on top of these basemaps – point, line and polygon layers in GIS speak – also was easier to find.

From famine to feast … data became taken for granted

Just like the ugly duckling data became under-valued. Ubiquitous and free was the assumption. How unfortunate!

Let me ask you this. How many projects stall because of a data problem? That is missing data, inaccurate data, or lack of understanding on how to find, convert and publish data. From our experience many.

Mobile GIS: Integrating ArcGIS with Maximo®

Monday, August 1st, 2016

In this blog post we will be discussing mobile integration. That is between Maximo® and ArcGIS: two very complimentary technologies. Let’s start with some definitions. As described by IBM, Maximo® is:

A comprehensive enterprise asset management for asset lifecycle and maintenance management

While ArcGIS is:

A geographic information system (GIS) for working with maps and geographic information. It is used for: creating and using maps; compiling geographic data; analyzing mapped information; sharing and discovering geographic information; using maps and geographic information in a range of applications; and managing geographic information in a database.

On the mobile front we have Maximo® Anywhere:

Which provides a set of resources for building and deploying mobile apps that integrate with IBM Maximo Asset Management

As mobile ArcGIS experts. we have been looking into the integration of ArcGIS with Maximo® Anywhere to provide both online and offline asset management.

The Rise and Rise of Location Technology

Thursday, July 21st, 2016


So has Pokemon Go finally put location technology on the map?

That is a terrible pun, but an interesting question. One worth exploring.

The Rise and Rise of Location Technology

Let’s start with what is location technology?

Leveraging the built in GPS your mobile device knows where you are at all times. That means it can find what and who is around you. How it does that is through location technology. As an example, fire up your favourite mapping app and ask the question “Where is the nearest gas station?”. The map magically shows all stations close to your current location. Now that is a simple question. How about something more complex. Show me all the homes for sale within a 5 mile radius of my current location which are priced under $200,000.

You get the idea. Location technology is focused on providing users the ability to display and query location based data. Maps are the most common display method. But is location technology the same as mapping technology? That is a tricky one. Both yes and no.


Monday, July 18th, 2016


I’m at it again. Writing controversial blog posts. But I want to explain why GIS SUCS.


Now I often do not follow conventional wisdom. I like to step back and look at the big picture. I try to base my opinions not on what I am told, but what I observe, and hear. This is why I have come to the conclusion GIS SUCS.

Now I do think the new platform is a significant advance. It’s easier to work with, and comes loaded with so many new services and applications. New is good. A plethora of new tools and services is fantastic. But all of the focus put here is why GIS SUCS.

It’s broken record week, since I seemed to have repeated this in a number of posts over the last 7 days. But starting with the technology is starting in the middle.

Success with GIS .. requires


Curiosity … and the


SUCS. Let me explain where I am going here.

Textron - Countless CAD add-ons, plug-ins and more.

Internet Business Systems © 2016 Internet Business Systems, Inc.
595 Millich Dr., Suite 216, Campbell, CA 95008
+1 (408)-337-6870 — Contact Us, or visit our other sites:
TechJobsCafe - Technical Jobs and Resumes EDACafe - Electronic Design Automation GISCafe - Geographical Information Services  MCADCafe - Mechanical Design and Engineering ShareCG - Share Computer Graphic (CG) Animation, 3D Art and 3D Models
  Privacy Policy