Mobile GIS & LBS
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.
March 17th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan
In this post we will discuss widgets. Dojo widgets (don’t worry we wont be getting technical) to be precise. We have moved past the days when we need to build big bloated web applications loaded up with tools. I used the analogy of a cruise ship versus a speedboat in a recent post: Esri, Me and my Cats.
Today we do not need to spend the time and money building one big web application to serve all needs. We can start with a simple configurable map viewer and add widgets to provide focused functionality.
Think about field staff working with organizational assets. Senior field staff may be using a laptop with an ArcGIS web app containing management widgets. Maintenance staff may be using tablets and an ArcGIS web app with work order widgets. Each could be using the same base ArcGIS web app, the only difference being the widgets available. Simple.
In terms of underlying technology, there are two scenarios when it comes to asset management and work orders. And two widget framework solutions. Let’s examine each separately.
Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS
The first scenario are those organizations with their data hosted exclusively through ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. Those with an ArcGIS identity (log in or subscription) and published web map can take advantage of the new Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS.
Just like its popular predecessor the Flex Viewer for ArcGIS, the Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS is easy to configure and comes with many free widgets. These widgets are easy to drop into any web app generated with the builder, developers can also create custom widgets of their own. If you need help, see our Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS Package
ArcGIS Widget Framework
For those who do not have access to ArcGIS Online or Portal, or have data which resides in a non-GIS system which cannot be directly integrated with ArcGIS, there is an alternate approach. This involves using or developing a more generic framework not coupled to Online or Portal.
Again this approach resembles in many ways Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS. Dojo widgets can be added to these frameworks to provide custom functionality.
Offline ArcGIS Apps and Widgets
This will provide a modular approach to field asset management. It is aimed at those who do not want or cannot use ArcGIS Online or Portal. And for those using asset management and work order systems which need to integrate with ArcGIS and provide offline capabilities.
One of the beauties of a widget based approach is that customers can pick and choose the widgets, and thus web applications they provide to their mobile workforce. No more one size fits all; the cruise ship type approach.
With configurable web map viewers and widgets, organisations can provide nimble, lightweight, focused web apps to field based staff to get their jobs done.