We’ve been building mobile ArcGIS Online apps for both online and offline editing. One important requirement has been image attachments. But one area we see as being equally as important are audio and video files. So providing richer data and attaching that in ArcGIS Online to a feature. The video below shows attaching in offline mode an mp3 audio and wmv video file to a feature and uploading the data to a hosted feature service in ArcGIS Online.
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We always like a good challenge. More than once in the last few weeks we have been asked if it is possible to auto generate features – points, lines, polygons – on a mobile device using GPS. So store the path followed using the built in mobile GPS. Then generate a feature from this data. We put our thinking caps on and came up the application you see in the video below
The demo shows the app running on an Android tablet in offline mode. This could just as easily have been an iPad; since we built the app using Mobile Flex which can run on either platform. We first generated a tile package in ArcMap, this forms the offline basemap and is stored on the tablet. Checkboxes in the top left header allow users to select either polygon or line as the final generated feature. Start and stop buttons initiate data collection, and generate the final feature respectively. In the demo we drove around a block; starting and finishing at the same point, so we chose to generate a polygon.
We’ve spent some time on this blog discussing ArcGIS Online. As we have said, we see this new mapping platform as a major step forward. But detailed discussion of the advantages misses the most central point; ArcGIS Online brings simplicity. Users, organisations, developers all will benefit. We thought is worthwhile discussing areas we see ArcGIS Online simplifying:
Organizing, Administering and Sharing Geo-Data with ArcGIS Online within Organizations
1) Groups and users – Online offers a slew of ways to organise data into groups, and share with a specific group of users. If your data is confidential, then host Online behind your firewall.
2) Data Conversion – We are often approached with questions around mobile apps which allow both access to and editing of shapefiles. Sure it can be done, but there is much time and effort needed to achieve, what we often think is a less than perfect solution. With ArcGIS Online shapefiles are converted to interactive feature layers. If these are generated as hosted feature layers, editing is now possible.
Our work with mobile ArcGIS Online and disconnected or offline mode continues. The most recent addition we made to the mobile app was attachments. Those clever people at Esri have integrated attachments – images, video, audio – into feature layers/services. A very nice integration given mobile devices ability to capture photos, videos and audio. So we can use the camera on the mobile device for example, to take a picture of feature and attach that to what is stored in the ArcGIS service for that feature. Adding this functionality while in online mode we discussed in our last post. Doing the same while offline was a little more tricky. But after some late nights we managed to add offline attachments to the app. The demo below shows this in action:
Mobile ArcGIS – Demo of Adding Attachments when Offline
We mentioned in a previous blog post that we have started work on building a version of Esri’s Water Utility Mobile Map but targeting iOS and Android. We thought it might be interesting to share where we are in the development process. The video below shows the first phase of the work.
Let us just point out, we are not using Esri’s Water Utility Mobile Map layers at the moment. We are building a mobile app against the requirements we listed in our original functional spec article, using layers and services we have available. These we will switch when we have the core application completed.
Mobile ArcGIS Online App
Our goal is to make the mobile ArcGIS Online app clean looking and simple to use. It loads on startup a configuration file which sets UI elements. This is a file users can edit themselves. We’ve tried to avoid a cluttered interface, so maximum real estate is devoted to the map. Workflows we will make intuitive. The video shows how we have incorporated online and offline modes. So maps and layers are loaded either from the web, or from sources stored on the devices itself.
Mobile App for ArcGIS Online Next Phase
We will keep moving forward with the mobile app. Next we will be adding online and offline editing capabilities. That will form the centre piece of the next demo.
ArcGIS Online offers many possibilities for building mobile and Web based mapping applications. Applications targeted at GIS professionals and non-GIS users. As a GIS development company, we have focused much of our energy on building this next generation of applications targeted at, and integrated, with ArcGIS Online.
So we’ve been spending quite some time with the very cool editing capabilities of the ArcGIS FeatureLayer. We are most interested in services published to ArcGIS Online. Editing will be a key advantage mobile brings to the world of ArcGIS. Avoiding the details (maybe in a future post), but not all ArcGIS FeatureLayers are the same. We wanted to put together a demo of the editing of a Featurelayer which contains a featureCollection, from the ESRI docs:
“The featureCollection is used when you want to initialize the FeatureLayer with features from outside of ArcGIS Server.”
This lends itself well to offline editing.
ArcGIS Mobile Editing
In the demo below we are online and accessing the app via a mobile browser (note, this demo needs Flash and thus wont run on an iOS device):
We live in changing times in the geo-space. Our work with location data as a company, began in the 90’s. Its been an interesting ride; from desktop to Internet, to now the cloud and mobile. New conferences appeared like Where 2.0; too many so called experts and innovators were thrust at us. Much of this left us cold; GIS for the masses with venture capitalists lurking in the background. We became a little cynical.
But truly exciting things are now happening. As the term GIS fades; location data and the integration of other business systems (SAP etc) with geospatial services moves our work from its historic niche, to solving real business problems. With mobile, new location data is becoming available. Mobile apps now provide access to location services, for both the consumer and the Enterprise. ArcGIS Online we see as huge. Its a pleasure to hear guys like Sean Gorman talk about our geospatial future. In fact talking about Sean, here is an excellent recent James Fee interview with the man:
We noted in the original post that without knowing who the list of experts who contributed to the paper were, we were a little hesitant. We do know that Peter Batty added his thoughts. A good guy, but somebody who still talks about, the rather controversial, neoGeography or “new geography”.
Anyway, we digress. After reading the paper a number of times, we felt a little. Well. Deflated. We regard the new world of location technology as very exciting. The paper made for some dry reading; ok it was for the UN and not meant to have us all jumping for joy. But we hoped for a realistic, useful reflection on where the geospatial world is moving. Too much felt like wild guesses, repetition of the obvious, and the unimportant. Ok, we are being harsh, but this is a panel of experts. We expected some expert insight.
We saw reference recently to a paper produced by the United Nations Programme on Global Geospatial Information Management (GGIM) entitled “Future trends in geospatial information management:the five to ten year vision”. Often interesting to read, I sometimes hesitate to point at these papers from this blog. Particularly since the contributors, or ‘leaders in the geospatial world’ as the paper calls them, are not listed. Still here is a link to the paper: