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Posts Tagged ‘ESRI’

Honoring Veterans with GIS

Sunday, November 10th, 2013


WebMapSolutions have started honoring Veterans with GIS; story maps providing the perfect mechanism.

The Military Banners Program has been adopted by many US cities: honoring local veterans with banners hung along designated streets. WebMapSolutions wanted to share these banners with those being honored. Now those serving overseas can find and view their banner in a story map published over the Internet.

WebMapSolutions have adapted an existing story map to enable search and enhanced viewing capabilities for data from the city of Chino Hills. Data collection was done using Esri’s Offline Mobile Editing App. (more…)

Citizen Engagement Apps Made Easy

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Collecting feedback from citizens has always been a challenge for local government. Pot holes, graffiti, localised flooding, blocked roads are all citizen and local government concerns. But having a simple system in place which is easy for citizens to use, and local governments to view and act upon, has proven difficult and expensive. We have all done it, wanted to report an issue of concern. Usually we would phone the city office, be passed between departments and finally our concern noted by a staff member. And that was that; no feedback mechanism for citizens – the issue is in our system and will be fixed tomorrow – and no way for city staff to centrally log the issue.

Sure, there are systems in place which provide this mechanism, but they are often very expensive. That is not the case any more. New technology means citizen engagement apps are now easy to develop. Thus the title of this post ‘Citizen Engagement Apps Made Easy’. Here we will discuss new approaches to engaging with citizens using location technology. (more…)

Share your Travel Photos with GIS

Friday, November 1st, 2013


I’ve just returned from a trip to China. Part business part pleasure. Having a smartphone ensured I took plenty of photos and video. I’ve been asked a number of times since my return to ‘send some photos’. It made me wonder: is there a way to share your travel photos with GIS?

Share your Travel Photos with GIS

Esri have recently introduced the notion of storymaps; these are application templates which can be easily extended and customized. These templates are responsive meaning they look good on phones, tablets and PC’s. One template in particular caught my attention. It seemed perfect for sharing both the photos and the story of my trip. The results I will show at the end of this post, but they far exceeded my expectations. Let me walk through the process of setting up the application: (more…)

GIS Has Never Been More Affordable

Monday, October 14th, 2013

GIS was once a technology used only by those with the deepest pockets. Today things have begun to change. In this post we will discuss 3 ways GIS is now more affordable, for big and small organization alike.

Low Cost Web and Mobile GIS Apps

Go back a few years and the cost of Web and mobile GIS apps was sky high; $20,000, $30,000 … And that was just for the application, add ArcGIS server or equivalent to the mix and costs could easily push north of $50,000. Today all that has changed. Web and mobile applications are now easier to build. The emphasis has been on simpler, more intuitive GIS apps. Those built to provide a specific purpose, maybe data collection, map annotation, dashboard or routing. Gone are the days of bloated expensive applications loaded with tools. There are now many free apps available. Esri’s mobile Collector app is one example. In addition many basic application frameworks have been released which can be extended. No more reinventing the wheel. At WebMapSolutions we have been extending our own and others frameworks to simplify and reduce the cost of Web and mobile application development. (more…)

iStore versus ArcGIS MarketPlace

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

There are many ways to market mobile apps. We Esri’s MarketPlace release new wanted to compare in this blog post the iStore versus ArcGIS MarketPlace for marketing and selling mobile apps.

We are a GIS focused development company. This is mapping technology in simple terms, or as we prefer to say location focused. GIS can be complex, often dealing with big data. Mobile and cloud technology have revolutionized the field, and are now widening the audience for GIS (routing, and mobile apps which show what or who is near somebody are two good examples of potential applications of the technology). A conundrum for companies like ours is how best to market the mobile apps we build, and provide trial versions of these apps. Sure the first choice might be the Android or Apple stores; maybe provide a watered down version of the app for free. Mistake. You will see many people downloading the app, but get little back. We have had an app in both stores for nearly two years now with over 40, 000 downloads. Apart for bragging rights – we launched the first ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online mobile apps in iStore- these apps have little benefited us.


ArcGIS MarketPlace: A Big Hit

Friday, September 20th, 2013

This week Esri launched ArcGIS Marketplace; a one stop shop for ArcGIS focused applications. Finally users can discover mobile, Web and desktop GIS applications simply and easily. Esri have made the site intuitive, with excellent search capabilities and categories. Want a GIS application targeted at your industry or sector, ArcGIS Marketplace simplifies the discovery process.


New GIS Solutions for Disaster Management

Monday, August 26th, 2013

One of WebMapSolutions areas of focus is building systems which help to improve the management of disasters. As the frequency and impact of disasters increases, due to phenomena such as global warming, the need for improved tools and systems becomes ever greater. New technologies now available are greatly helping software companies such as WebMapSolutions develop mobile, centralized systems which are improving both disaster relief efforts and disaster recovery. Let’s look at some of the new GIS solutions for disaster management.

Disaster Relief

This is a coordinated multi-agency response to reduce the impact of a disaster and its long-term results. Relief activities include rescue, relocation, service repair, providing temporary shelter and emergency health care. Time is of the essence in this phase. Disaster agencies are both trying to understand the situation on the ground, and provide immediate assistance and relief to those in the affected area.


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.


The Future of GIS is here Today: Mobile Enabled GIS Cloud Technology

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

As we have discussed before in this blog, mobile enabled GIS cloud technology is are changing how and who uses GIS. As we suggest in the title of this blog the future of GIS is here today. Let’s take a step back and look at the current landscape.

Today’s GIS Requirements and Mobile Enabled GIS Cloud Technology

There are a range of core elements required by our clients which are now provided by leveraging the new technological advances. These include:

1) Centralised data – away from a stove pipe approach to data.
2) Privacy – protecting data remains important
3) Data access from any device – PC, laptop, smartphone and tablet accessibility.
4) Simple targeted applications – no more complex workflows and ‘swiss army knife’ type apps.

So what solutions are now available which leverage cloud technology and target location based data?


Indoor GIS and Mapping Made Simple

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

It would seem that indoor GIS, along with 3D, has become all the rage in the GIS focused media. But read anything about indoor GIS and it sounds complex. True, it can be, but mapping the indoors is not rocket science. We will show a demo to illustrate; a simple example of the application of mobile indoor GIS. But first, lets start with the basics. There are many flavors of indoor GIS, these include:

– Indoor mapping: Accurate floorplan mapping and 3D visualization.
– Indoor positioning: Mapping points of interest and static content.
– Indoor locating: Locating mobile devices and other dynamic content.
– Indoor routing and analysis: Indoor routing and the management of business processes with GIS analysis tools.
– Indoor asset tracking: Tracking mobile assets for dispatching and other operational efficiency purposes.

Our immediate interest is indoor mapping. We were recently approached by an insurance industry organization. Their need was to map indoor assets – desks, workshop machinery, photo copiers etc. A tool to collect data was required with a need to store this data in a central, easy to access location. Updates to the data was to be a regular occurrence. Currently this work is done using paper maps and spreadsheets.


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