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Posts Tagged ‘editing’

Offline Mobile Map Basics: Editing Map Layers Offline

Monday, September 5th, 2016


In our second article in this series: Offline Mobile Map Basics: Offline Base-Maps and Layers, we discussed how to take base-maps and layers offline. From Esri-land Tile Packages (TPK) and Feature Layers were key discussion areas. In this third post in the series we will dig a little deeper and focus on offline mobile map editing.

Editing Map Layers Offline

As we have discussed in the previous two posts, base-maps are static. That means they are simply images or tiles stitched together to provide context. Layers are what sit on-top of base-maps and if the are Feature Layers they can be edited. What do we mean by edited? There are three types of editing:

1. Add – Imagine you are working in the pipeline industry, and are viewing on your iPad the current pipe network in an ArcGIS map app. You are currently extending the pipeline; adding an additional line. You will need to update the pipeline layer to include this new section of pipe. That means adding a new line feature.

2. Edit – You are out inspecting a power pole. When you tap the point feature which represents the pole in you mobile map app a list of attributes appears, these describe the pole; type, last inspection date etc. You notice the pole is listed as metal when you can see it is actually wood. You need to edit this features ‘material type’ attribute so it is accurate.

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.

Do widgets provide the ultimate ArcGIS COTS solution?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015


Its funny how we all have those ‘light bulb’ moments from time to time. I was in conversation, by email, with a GIS colleague last week. He wrote:

“I support Esri’s point on COTS, especially once you start deploying stuff cross-platform, our vertical has far too much custom development & legacy….”

In this post I thought it worth discussing in more depth my colleagues statement above. To consider commercial-off-the-shelf-software or COTS, in relation to Web based GIS applications which leverage widgets.


Flexible Tablet and Smartphone ArcGIS Web Offline Editing Apps

Friday, May 30th, 2014


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.

ArcGIS Web Offline Editing


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:


Solving the shapefile conundrum: mobile sharing and editing

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

We get this question asked often:

“How do we load a shapefile on our smartphone or tablet, allow our team to edit said shapefile on their respective mobiles, then consolidate all edits back into a single shapefile?”

Ours is a three word answer:

“Use the cloud”

If there is any discussion which best illustrates the power of cloud computing it is this one. Today systems like ArcGIS Online and GISCloud make it easy to publish your shapefiles to a single accessible layer. Now your team can load this single source on their mobile device, make their edits, sync and they are done. Nothing could be easier. (more…)

5 Cool Uses of Mobile Offline Maps

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Mobile applications require networking. Not any more: here we discuss 5 breakthrough offline use cases available now!

How often do you find yourself without mobile Wi-Fi connectivity? More often than you would like. Maybe you are in a remote area; working, possibly hiking, boating or fishing. Maybe you do not want to exhaust your mobile data plan. Its quite possible your mobile device has no outdoor Internet connectivity. Lower cost tablets only provide direct home or office based network connectivity and have no 3G/4G providing mobile data capabilities. Even if you have a tablet with networking service built-in from the telephone carriers, the service is inconsistent at best and sometimes it doesn’t exist.

This is a huge disappointment because tablets and smart devices have a great deal to offer businesses and consumers of all types, especially those that marshal resources to the field with the dreaded pen and paper. But until we can solve how we collect data of all types, integrate it into our workflow seamlessly, and do that in an occasionally connected world, we are going to remain in the stone age with pen and paper use by field staff.

The wait is over

Since we are mobile map and GIS experts, in this post we will describe 5 cool uses of mobile offline maps.

Offline ArcGIS Editing on an iPhone Cannot be Done Right?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013


Instead of asking:

Offline ArcGIS editing on an iPhone cannot be done right?

We could just as easily have asked if offline editing can be done period!

At WebMapSolutions we have been building an offline ArcGIS Online editing solution. Offline is complex; the process involves reading and writing data to/from the mobile device, then syncing with ArcGIS Online. But there is a huge need for such a mobile app, given such spotty Wi-Fi coverage in so many areas.

This initial version is targeted at iPad and Android tablets. We’ve made it affordable to both large and small organizations. The mobile app was launched in September to the Esri Marketplace, and has proven very popular. (more…)

Cloud GIS: Mobile Data Collection & Web App Development

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

We have been interested for some time in using our offline mobile editing app in combination with Esri’s Mobile Collector App to build a storymap. This years Esri UC gave us the perfect opportunity to do just that. More than that our intrepid CEO – who was planning to be in San Diego – was up for the challenge. So we packed him off with instructions to visit two towns in the San Diego area and collect data.

Our goal was to build two storymaps which were focused on the military banners campaign that a number of cities have put in place. These campaigns involve hanging banners in key streets in the city honoring veterans of foreign wars. We chose Escondido and Chino Hills for this work; giving our CEO careful instructions.

We adapted one of the Esri storymaps for this task, following carefully the instructions for the data schema. Once ready we published two hosted feature services to ArcGIS Online; and created web maps for each. In the field our CEO logged into the respective web map with the collector app, and edited away. He moved from one banner to the next, taking photos and recording information about each honoree; notably the name and service. In a number of cases he found Wi-Fi connectivity spotty. In these cases he switched to using our offline mobile ArcGIS Online data editing app. And uploaded the results when back in Wi-Fi range.


iPad ArcGIS Online Editing and Annotation App

Monday, March 18th, 2013

We have extended our ArcGIS Online Editing mobile app, to include annotation. Below is a demo of the functionality using the draw widget ported from the Flex Viewer for ArcGIS running on an iPad:

Contact us for more information.

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