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Posts Tagged ‘offline’

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.

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.

Why is my mobile GIS app so SLOW?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

I hear this question all the time: why is my mobile GIS app so SLOW? Whether simply loading a map, trying to edit features on the map, or routing; mobile GIS apps can be maddeningly slow. More than maddening, this slowness can actually get in the way of getting work done!

In this post we will discuss the cause and solutions to mobile GIS app slowness.

So what is the cause of mobile GIS app slowness?

For mobile GIS there are two primary causes:

1) Poor wireless connectivity – In both remote and populated areas wireless reception can be very variable. Take a look at the wireless signal bars on your smartphone or tablet. You will see changes in signal strength as you move. The weaker the signal the longer it will take for your mobile GIS app to load or return results. Sometimes you will wait and wait and the application fails. Very frustrating.

2) Loading a large number of features – If you are using a mobile GIS app which loads tens of thousand of features eg points representing water valves, your application will likely be impacted. Often that means a poor performing app. You are taxing the resources of your smartphone or tablet.

So two core reasons for mobile GIS app slowness: wireless connectivity and feature overload.

Mobile Asset Management: Taking GIS and Work Orders OFFLINE

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Let’s jump into a topic which is much discussed: offline mobile GIS asset management. A problem which lacks good solutions. In this post we will cover the nuts and blots of how offline works for GIS and work orders. We will also share a little secret which might surprise you. Onward.

Many mobile GIS based work order systems are built for laptops. Complex interfaces, hard to use in the field. Often offline needs a full download of all system data: inefficient, slow, and super hard to administer.

Our focus in this post is true offline mobile GIS work order apps. Mobile apps built for tablets not laptops. Simple interfaces and easy offline uploads and downloads. These are new generation offline mobile GIS work order apps.

Offline Mobile GIS: Finding a Location which has no Address

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015


Ok so I often say in this blog “we live in exciting times”. GIS is coming out of the shadows. Innovation is taking off. New thinkers are bringing fascinating ideas forward.

I became very interested in work being done by a UK based company called what3words. After meeting Chris Sheldrick the co-founder, we thought it worth spending time looking at their technology and ways to integrate it with ArcGIS.


Wondering about Mobile GIS?

Friday, September 25th, 2015


Are you wondering about Mobile GIS? Looking to improve how your field staff get their work done, looking to provide access to maps and GIS from any device and any mobile platform? In this article we will discuss some of the core elements of mobile GIS.

Mobile GIS Platform

Often a first question for those of us looking to use or build mobile GIS apps is: which mobile platform should we target – Apple, Android, Windows? At one time, this singular question was popular. We were focused on one platform, then often the popular choice was targeting Apple devices; the iPad and iPhone. But things are changing. The popularity of mobile devices means users have a mix of Apple, Android, and Windows devices. Cross-platform is increasingly the focus of today. That is mobile GIS apps which run on any device. Mobile Web GIS is one of the best cross-platform solutions. Ever more of our mobile development, as a company, is web focused for this reason.


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.


5 things you need to know about Web mobile ArcGIS

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015


ArcGIS Online is still relatively new. Many organizations have begun looking seriously at this cloud based GIS solution. Sure there are still worries about credits, cost concerns, confusion around named users. But wider scale adoption is on the horizon.

Web Mobile ArcGIS

As organizations dig deeper into ArcGIS, the question of mobile is often raised. In this post let’s discuss 5 things you need to know about Web mobile ArcGIS.

1. Ubiquitous – run on any device and platform

In today’s world we use many devices: PC’s, laptops, smartphones, tablets. These are all basically computers. Devices like smartphones, and tablets mean we are no longer limited to our office or home based computers. Now we can use applications anywhere and at anytime. GIS technology is particularly useful on mobile devices. Not only does it provide (easily understood) maps as output, but detailed, focused information based on location:

“Show me all the water valves which have not been inspected in Sandy City in the last 2 months”

“Alert me if I start digging with my excavator within 30 ft of an oil pipeline”

We all have a mix of different mobile devices: smartphones, tablets, Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry. Ideally we want our mobile ArcGIS applications to run on any and all of our devices. Web ArcGIS is the perfect solution. Write once run everywhere is the true power of web ArcGIS technology. Pull up a browser on your device and you are good to go.


Super Flexible ArcGIS Apps: a Sneak Peek

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Flexibility and simplicity. This should apply to any and all ArcGIS apps. As a company we stay focused on providing this perfect balance. In this article will provide a sneak peek into a development effort in which we have been engaged which brings amazing flexibility and simplicity to ArcGIS web apps.

Sounds like cheap advertising. If you read this blog regularly you know me better than that. Read on you might be surprised.

The ArcGIS Platform

Before we jump in, let’s just step back for a moment. The concept of the ArcGIS platform is still sinking in for many. Those who attended the recent Esri developer or partner summits in Palm Springs were given a deeper dive into the idea of the ArcGIS platform: identity, web map, maps and apps. Esri aren’t alone in their evolution. As GIS becomes a core technology (its popularity driven by cloud and mobile technology) much is changing. Its change for the best. Different to our old narrow comfy niche. Call it advance and progress. Long overdue in our view.


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