Mobile GIS & LBS
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.
June 30th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
I am often asked “How do we get the most out of our GIS”. This comes both from those new to the technology and seasoned professionals. As GIS becomes more popular, this question will be ever more common. I thought in this blog post it worth discussing how to get the most out of your GIS.
GIS is moving away from being perceived as only mapping technology. It is now being properly recognised as a tool to solve business problems. That change in emphasis naturally moves the focus from the technology to the problem. The first step in getting the most out of your GIS is stepping back and asking:
What is the problem and how might a solution look?
Surprisingly these two fundamental questions are often overlooked. In our GIS Discover Workshop this is the place we often begin. Once you understand what you are trying to solve and story-boarded the solution, you can gently step into the technology.
June 29th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
I’ve always hated how adverts get stuck in your head. Songs, tag lines, slogans. One ad which I still have trouble shaking off is the Access credit card, described in the advert as:
Your flexible friend. Take it anywhere, and use it for anything.
But there is no doubt that term ‘flexible friend’ is very catchy.
Is your GIS your Flexible Friend? I should probably rephrase this question to “GIS should be your flexible friend”. In this post I will be talking about GIS applications. That they should be flexible, intuitive friends! And just like that advert which repeats itself (for regular readers of this blog) I’m about to sing the praises of Web GIS applications. Let’s cover 5 reason why web based GIS applications are so flexible:
1. Web GIS application run on any device
PC, smartphone, tablet, Android, Apple, Windows; web applications truly run on anywhere, anytime on any device. Build an application once and run it anywhere might be the motto here. Let me provide an example. We were approached by a large utility who needed a mobile application. They were debating which mobile device to target an iPad or Surface Pro. What we built … a mobile web app which ran on both devices (and more).
June 28th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog that we are big fans of the new cloud based approach to GIS (WebGIS). As Bill Meehan at Esri describes, connecting desktop, Web and mobile apps via your central GIS cloud based hub provides access, awareness and analysis. Moving from server to platform has many advantages. Its transforming GIS.
But today, the reality is that we live in a world of mixed technologies. Esri users have one or a combination of ArcGIS Server, Online, Portal. Web applications tend to be tied to these respective solutions. At WebMapSolutions we have been giving this considerable thought.
June 17th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
Is GIS Groaning to Move Away from its Traditional Roots?
June 14th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
I have always been a big fan of flexible GIS applications which are easy to extend. Remember the very popular Flex Viewer for ArcGIS? Though Flex has largely gone away, the widget based approach to configuring and building GIS applications is still here. In fact we feel for many, widget based GIS apps should be leveraged across the organization. GIS applications built for one purpose, and big bloated web applications loaded up with tools are things of the past. I used the analogy of a cruise ship versus a speedboat in a past blog post.
June 8th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
This is a blog post about not giving up. Forgive me for dipping back into sport (I try to avoid sports analogies), but I wanted to share a story which illustrates well the message in this post.
A friend of mine recently joined a new soccer team. A good team filled with Brazilian players. But a high pressure team, mistakes were met with loud criticism. Good play went unmentioned. My friend is a good player but had much to prove. He did not start the first 2 games, and when brought on was played in an unfamiliar position. By his description he felt the games went okay. His own performance was ‘safe’ as he described. He started the third game. A cup game. And lasted 10 minutes before being hauled off with the team down by 3 goals, none down to my friend. He felt rotten. He waited out the next 35 minutes on the sidelines, not called back into the game. A mixture of emotions and thoughts went through his head: anger, unfair, give up, doubt.
June 6th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
Would you like to easily and simply view on a map your insured homes with hail swath data? We’ve built a simple Insurance Exposure Management Application which allows you to view and export this data to CSV. Simply drag and drop your home insurance data on the map. The application will automatically associate a homes location with hail size impact. From here you can export this combined data as a CSV. Simple. This application was built to demonstrate the power of GIS in solving business problems.
Insurance GIS: Hail Exposure Management
Below is a demo of the application:
For more information on this application contact us on 801-733-0723.
May 31st, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
Inertia. Its a challenge for all organizations. Change can be difficult. Adopting new ways, workflows and processes. But change is ongoing and with technology, the pace of change is increasing. Hanging on to old ways and methods may put you at a disadvantage to your competition. In this post we will discuss 4 ways to better use GIS.
GIS Has Changed Have You?
From Desktop GIS to Cloud and Mobile GIS
We often have conversations with organizations who use desktop GIS applications like ArcMap or QGIS only. Wanting to share maps and GIS analysis more widely, the conversation usually resolves around moving to cloud based GIS. Today there are many ways to share your maps and GIS tools with others in your organization: office based and mobile staff. New proprietary and open source releases have made moving from desktop to distributed GIS far easier.
May 26th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
I was born and raised on a small island off mainland Europe. A rainy place, which often drove us as kids indoors. One of my favourite toys when young was Lego. I built simple things with Lego: houses, cars, aeroplanes. Over time the box of pieces grew. I started being creative and building my own simple creations, beyond the step by step guides. It was brilliant.
Building simple things with Lego was easy. One day an older boy asked me if I knew how to build things with Lego. I said yes of course. He needed a structure built for his model railway. He told me the problem and in a perfect world, what he wanted. From his description it all sounded simple. He needed the structure built quickly. I sat down to begin the work. I had all the Lego blocks I needed. Had a description of the problem and goal of the work. I was ready.
Now where to start …… I had absolutely no idea
What did I learn from this experience? Lego is easy if you are solving simple problems. The older boys problem was complex. Sure, I had all the (Lego) pieces to solve the problem but had no idea where to begin.
Today with GIS many are faced with the same challenge
The emergence of GIS platforms is transforming the access, and use-ability of the technology. Publishing maps has never been easier. But answering complex business questions with GIS, that is quite a different matter. Where do we begin, and how do we make better use of our GIS are common questions our customers ask. Like Lego, your GIS might have all the pieces you need (data, configurable application etc) but how do you go from business problem to solution, that is the question?
May 23rd, 2016 by Matt Sheehan
We talk often in this blog about the increasing need for answers to WHERE questions. That is what a GIS provides. A common way to visualise the answers to these WHERE questions is through a map. Similar to a chart for spreadsheets. But today GIS lives in an odd place. It is still seen as a mapping solution and not a technology which solves business problems. How do we cross the divide and have GIS seen and used differently? That is the focus of this blog post.
What is the Problem?
I made this mistake the other day. We were in conversation with a real estate company who needed a mobile GIS app developed. They provided a rather confusing picture of what they needed, then asked for a demo from us. I decided to show some examples of mobile GIS functionality, just to help move the conversation forward. MISTAKE. What I should have done is dug deeper. Understood better myself (and maybe more importantly have them understand better) the problem they were trying to solve and the story. I should have followed more closely our from WHERE to THERE process. Showing things we think might interest a client is a mistake we all make. Understand and steer the conversation always towards the problem. How do you propose a solution if you don’t understand the problem?