Welcome to GISWeekly!
GISWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Top News of the Week, Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances, Announcements, People, Awards, New Products, Around the Web and Events Calendar.
GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me at Email Contact
Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Building Geo-Enabled Mashups in Minutes
By Susan Smith
|[ Click to Enlarge ]|
“It’s software that allows you to build apps,” noted Caulk. “Historically those have been geospatially focused, putting enterprise data on the map and then integrating all kinds of business systems with web data, SharePoint data and Excel files. Essentially any data source you can get your hands on we can integrate all on top of a map.”
|[ Click to Enlarge ]|
Another enhancement in the new 4.0 release is extending the ability to create mashups for anybody. Within SharePoint, Visual Fusion has GUI tools called AppHub for “application hub” and Composer which was already part of the product and has been upgraded in this release.
|[ Click to Enlarge ]|
Caulk said all their customers are moving to the newest version of the product.
Core benefits of Visual Fusion 4.0 are that users can create apps quickly. The second core benefit is the product is designed and built for the average business user and not necessarily the GIS professional.
Caulk also noted that IDV Solutions has a very deep SharePoint integration. With Visual Fusion you can build apps inside SharePoint, offering modified content types and leveraging workflow and site templates. SharePoint is a huge market for the company.
When users add any Office document (from Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) to a library built with a Visual Fusion template, they can specify a location. Visual Fusion automatically assigns latitude and longitude coordinates to the document. For Excel spreadsheets, Visual Fusion can assign coordinates to each row in the spreadsheet that has a location. Users in an enterprise can see the library that has been added to a mashup plus the geographic relationships and access any of the documents. There is also a template for geospatially enabling InfoPath forms, so that information that is added to these forms goes directly into the map without the user needing to import and program the information in.
Caulk said that the key capabilities of the 4.0 release is it ability to connect to any data source. It is truly designed for the business user rather than the GIS professional.
“It’s a platform with software to rapidly build your killer apps,” explained Caulk. “Most of our customers only deal with a singular problem – we’re uniquely positioned to help them solve that problem and give them something they really love. We may take a couple of months to build a killer app for them. At the same time, we’re the second bullet, we’re a platform to rapidly build killer apps, so it could just be just that one singular app that solves one particular problem or allows you to do maybe supply chain management. There are a lot of little apps that help out with any business question or issue that pops up today.”
Although most customers really want the first scenario of solving the single problem, Caulk said when enterprise mashups become popular within the enterprise, the other capabilities of Visual Fusion will become more popular too. Business users will be able to build dozens of apps themselves.
Visual Fusion is installed within SharePoint, so any data that’s in the SharePoint library or list is automatically discovered. The product has connectors to other data sources like SQL server, Oracle and ArcGIS, so the procedure for using those data sources is to set up a config file, an XML file to identify where the location of the server is, the name of the store, procedure or the table, then the user must define what attributes to grab out of that table. For those data sources for which Visual Fusion does not have a native connector, through the SDK a user can connect with other sources and various web feeds such as KML, WMS and GeoRSS.
When setting up layers, users have the option of setting a Z index. For anything serving as a base map, you will set the Z index low as possible. It is configurable so that you can set weather on top if you wish, or allow them to come in at the same level if you don’t set them.
IDV Solutions also released a mobile app called Contribute for the iPhone that can be installed with the Visual Fusion application. It enables the user to take a photo and attach comments to it and upload it to the SharePoint library, to be thereafter become part of the data feed automatically displayed in Visual Fusion.
Another product, SpatialWiki, is a drawing tool that allows anyone to produce points, lines and polygons in a simple user interface which are saved into a SharePoint library as KML. They can also be used in creating a common operational picture or to define areas.
Just last week IDV Solutions announced that Visual Fusion is integrated with the cloud on Microsoft’s Azure. The app can be seen in a public demonstration.
Top News of the Week
GISCafe Today is a new blog written by GISCafe and GISWeekly Editor, Susan Smith, which offers thoughts and insights on some of the more important announcements from the GIS/geospatial industry, plus an opportunity for readers to comment. Offering blogs is a way for us to extend our coverage of the numerous developments in the geospatial industry, so take a look and let us know what you think.