Mobile GIS is becoming ever more popular in organizations. The advent of cheap mobile smartphones and tablets has meant that location technologies like GIS are no longer confined to office use only. Mobile GIS is helping to empower field staff, as well as provide new tools to all mobile users. In the post we discuss 4 popular uses of mobile GIS.
4 Popular Uses of Mobile GIS
1) Data Collection
Pen and paper have been the traditional way data has been collected in the field. Sometimes it is the main storage method also. Mobile GIS presents a new way to collect data accurately. Leveraging GPS, in-built cameras and Internet access, mobile GIS provides new ways to collect, and upload data to a central location. This provides a dramatic improvement in efficiency, no more paper storage or manual data entry. Now rich, accurate field data can be collected, uploaded and shared across an organization in real time. Collector for ArcGIS is a nice new mobile editing app. We’ve built a flexible framework which provides much of what is in Collector, but is customizable and runs across all popular mobile platforms (Apple, Android, Windows)
Probably the most common use of mobile GIS is still simple map visualization. Viewing layers or point overlays and directions are very popular. One area of new demand has been offline visualization, or access to maps when out of wi-fi range. We have been working with a client in Australia whose field staff are often in remote areas. They needed the ability to view basemaps and point overlay data while offline. We used local storage on the mobile device to provide a solution. Now the field staff can not only visualize mapping data while offline but view feature attributes.
3) Business Analytics
Context and dynamic data are key elements mobile GIS brings to business applications. Think about executives who are on site, maybe looking at a new potential store location. Not only can they assess and explore the actual site, they can get current data about the site; demographics, consumer spending, wealth, poverty, lifestyle, drive time data. That is extremely powerful. Some organizations like Petco use their own models for site location analysis. Again using an tablet while on site in combination with mobile GIS gives direct access to this data.
4) Specific Custom Mobile GIS Workflows
Many organizations need to provide field staff with very focused mobile GIS apps. As an example, CityWorks have built a platform leveraging ArcGIS, which manages work orders. Field based technicians can now use the CityWorks mobile app to view work orders, and provide updates. Idaho Department of Transportation needed to improve how their engineers worked in the field. We built a mobile GIS application for them which allowed their staff to view maps and assets on their iPads. Online and offline visualization, and data collection with custom workflows were key application elements. Custom forms are an area of recent focus in mobile GIS apps we have been recently developing; providing clients the ability to fill out and store custom forms in both online and offline modes. As an example, pipeline inspections require the completion of forms and reports, we have integrated these into the mobile GIS apps we have built for pipeline companies.
Let us know if you are looking into mobile GIS, we can help implement a solution.