June 14th, 2012
Our thinking has been for the longest time that mobile will revolutionize the field of location-focused technology. Niche areas like GIS will be pulled into the mainstream under the location technology umbrella. Location based services (LBS) will coalesce with other location focused technologies.
As a company, we made a strategic decision nearly 2 years ago to move our focus from GIS development for the PC web, to mobile location app development. This year has been crazy busy. Combine this with Apples recent announcement, the launch of ESRI’s ArcGIS online, and new developments at Google and MapQuest, and we feel our strategy was correct; location is now at center stage in the mobile world. Making the decision when we did has also allowed us to develop expertise, and thus leadership in the location mobile app development space.
Offline or disconnected mode is one of the most in demand client and potential client requests we receive. And yet the main spatial solution providers have only made small steps in this direction. Chatting with ESRI, offline ArcGIS is on their roadmap, but no major releases are planned in the near future. Our interest is cross-platform solutions. So recent iOS and Android specific announcements from the likes of Google, though very interesting, do not serve our clients well.
It was time for us to look into our own solution. We broke down the problem into manageable chunks, then conferred with Mansour at ESRI on the details. Let’s discuss at a high level these pieces.
Offline versus Online Mode
In code we can detect if a mobile device has online connectivity. If it does reach out over the network for map and server functionality. If offline look locally, to the device itself, for resources.
Mobile devices have varying amounts of local storage. They also come with so called lite databases. In offline mode we take advantage of these local resources.
Offline ArcGIS Visualization – Tile Packages
Let’s imagine we have an ArcGIS Online web map we wish to view on our mobile in disconnected mode. Using ArcGIS 10.1 we can now generate a tile package of the layers used in the web map. These .tpk files vary in size, we need to be careful when generating these packages, particularly thinking about the capacity of the mobile device targeted for the mobile ArcGIS app. But once the tile package has been generated this need be stored on the mobile device. Note, tile packages which include base map tiles will need agreement with ESRI since there are various licensing agreements attached to the source of these base tiles.
Hexagon 2012: Intergraph News from the Floor
June 12, 2012 by Mladen Stojic, President of Hexagon Geospatial
Without a doubt, the Hexagon conference is the biggest annual event for Intergraph and all of the other companies that fall under the Hexagon umbrella. It is a truly exciting time for us to preview our latest technology and innovations, as well as share our vision for how our combined offerings help manage any global situation that requires real-time intelligence for fast and effective decision-making.
Each year, the international conference also offers the chance for our users to attend presentations by industry experts, participate in targeted tracks, break-out sessions, as well as hear inspiring keynotes from a wide range of industry thought leaders.
For Intergraph, this is the ideal platform for us to make a series of new announcements. And, while all the news generated from the conference can often get lost in the shuffle – especially for busy attendees – I wanted to take moment to highlight our news from the show last week:
GeoMedia Smart Client Star of Show!
Intergraph’s GeoMedia Smart Client took a starring role at Hexagon 2012, with a number of new hands-on training classes being introduced, as well as break-out sessions and a variety of new vertical market workflow demonstrations.
Our first reaction to the recent announcement from Apple on their maps initiative is that it brings little new to the mapping landscape. As a mobile location-focused development company we see nothing which would help our customers beyond our current ESRI, Google and MapQuest solutions.
One thing we were excited to hear from Google was their announcement last week of an offline or disconnected mobile solution. Initially a Java for Android launch; we see this as a long overdue move. Many of our clients require offline mobile functionality. We have our own disconnected mobile solution, but it would have been nice to have had Apple announce their own offline mobile solution in their maps API. Looks like Google will remain ahead here and in many other map related areas.
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