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.
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.
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 reasons GIS is now more affordable, for big and small organization alike.
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…)
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…)
Geographic Information Systems or GIS has entered a new and exciting phase in its evolution. In this blog post we discuss 3 powerful new ways to apply GIS technology.
Consumer Discovery GIS Apps
Gone are the days when GIS only served power geo-users. Today consumer apps are being built which use GIS. Maps are a perfect and intuitive way to discover information. An example might be providing moms a simple way to discover local parks for their kids. A GIS powered Parks Finder mapping app is the perfect answer.
Its daunting starting any GIS Web or Mobile project. Where does one begin? In this post we provide a 5 point checklist for any GIS Web or mobile project.
1. Project Requirements
Do you have a clear idea of what the app should do? A detailed list of requirements is essential. If you are still in the ideas phase, flesh it out before you reach out to any external GIS development company. Be prepared to discuss in detail your requirements, and answer any questions posed by prospective development companies. Be clear to describe the purpose of the application. (more…)
New advances in technology with cloud and mobile computing offer new and exciting ways for local governments to share information with the general public. WebMapSolutions have been developing a range of apps which run across devices, allowing citizens to discover local information quickly, and intuitively when and where they need it. Below are our favorite 5 new apps for local governments to share information:
The Parks Finder application provides residents and visitors an easy way to find parks and recreation areas near them. Designed with ease of use in mind, search, routing and detailed facility information is provided. Advanced functionality includes the ability to gather comments from citizens on individual facilities.
See a demo here.
Let’s step back a little in time. Remember the dot com boom in the 90’s, when the Internet went from being a tool only known to academics to ubiquity. We all began feverishly buying computers, and installing Web browsers to access network based applications. Financially it was a boom and bust period, but the new paradigm that was the Internet was here to stay. The world of GIS was then a world filled with desktop nerds working with ArcInfo, ArcMap and the like. With Esri getting wind of this new shift to networked computing the IMS products were released; we remember fondly MapObjects IMS and ArcIMS. Using the Internet we began to be able to build networked GIS apps which allowed developers to share with everybody interactive maps.
Exciting times indeed. But for those developing Internet GIS apps there were two major frustrations:
1) Geo-data was hard to find; in particular base maps.
2) There were no good API’s or tools for developers to use. Many older developers remember well building Internet GIS applications from scratch in Flash; cool output which took an age to build. For those unfamiliar with API’s, these are the building blocks for developing applications, they make the process easier. In the same way as constructing a car is the process of combining pre-built components; wheels, engine etc, this is the same process developers walk through to build an application. Imagine how long and painful car making would be if you had to build every component – wheel, engine – from scratch!
We have spent much of the last year focused on ArcGIS Online. Our initial development efforts targeted mobile. Working with the Idaho Transportation Department, we have been building an online/offline mobile editing app. The data itself is part of a hosted feature service in ArcGIS Online. Using these hosted feature services, we have started doing analytic’s in ArcMap 10.1 and building Web apps for office based executives. The demo below shows the mobile, desktop and Web portions of this work.