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Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan
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.

Super Flexible ArcGIS Apps: a Sneak Peek

April 13th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

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.

Ok, off the soap box. We’ve taken a 4 part process to implementing any ArcGIS platform solution:

1) Planning – Centred around understanding the problem.
2) Data – Garbage in means garbage out. Getting accurate and the correct data in place is the foundation of any successful ArcGIS implementation.
3) ArcGIS Online/Portal – set up, configure, publish hosted data services and web maps
4) Maps and apps – leveraging the many maps and apps which are provided with the ArcGIS platform.

We start here. And move from this base. We’ve been looking into ways we can extend this maps and apps concept. Flexibility and simplicity being the driver.

Flexibility and ArcGIS Apps

Flexibility in relation to ArcGIS apps means many things to us, key:

1) Apps which can access data hosted in ArcGIS Server, Online or Portal
2) Cross platform (Apple, Android, Windows) and cross device (PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet) ArcGIS apps
3) Apps which can be easily set up and configured.
4) ArcGIS apps which use widgets to extend functionality.
5) Apps which work regardless of wireless connectivity
6) Apps which can be used by anybody without the need for training
7) Apps which can pull in and combine data from ArcGIS with non-GIS hosted systems.

Our core philosophy is to provide ArcGIS apps which work anywhere, anytime, on any device.

The above is quite the list. We will in a moment share with you a sneak peek video of work we are doing to provide these capabilities . But first imagine a utility company. They have all their authoritative data in ArcGIS. Next they wish to share this data with folks across the organization. That means applications which provide functionality targeted at the various user groups: managers, maintenance staff etc. Managers may wish to visualize data in various ways: heat maps, clusters and have set of analysis tools to dig deeper. Maintenance staff may need apps which work on laptops, smartphone or tablets. They may simply need to report of work done, maybe through work orders and inspections. Too often utility companies have different apps for different groups. That is both complex and confusing.

Utility companies are not alone in having a plethora of GIS apps. We would argue most organizations are looking to move away from this complexity. To a simpler more flexible approach.

Super Flexible ArcGIS Apps: a Sneak Peek

Step forward the disconnected configurable map viewer (DCMV). We’ve been extending a configurable map viewer. Making it both offline enabled and able to consume data from non-GIS hosted systems. Think of a more flexible version of Web Appbuilder. Any number of web apps can be generated, and configured to provide only those widgets needed by different user groups. Inspection apps for field staff, analytic’s apps for managers. See the video below for a short demo:

Contact us on 801-733-0723 if you have questions about this work.

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Categories: ArcGIS Online, cloud GIS, Mobile ArcGIS, Mobile GIS, Web and mobile GIS

One Response to “Super Flexible ArcGIS Apps: a Sneak Peek”

  1. Clark Beattie says:

    Some good ideas here. We use Geocortex in a similar manner although we’ve not implemented their off line components yet. Our client is very risk adverse when it comes to allowing field workers to edit data. Their time will come but the back end data management work flows need to be more stablized before things can be as smooth as you suggest.

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