Just following up on some of the announcements from the ESRI User Conference. We are interested in all things mobile. Here were a couple of items which caught our eye:

When will offline Mobile ArcGIS be available?
“In early 2013 we will deliver offline editing capabilities in our ready-to-deploy apps for the iOS and Android platforms. Users will be able to take their data into the field in areas with little or no connectivity and perform their work. Once reconnected, these changes are synchronized with the server. Other offline capabilities will include routing, geocoding, and geoprocessing analysis.”

WebMapSolutions thoughts: We nearly missed the “in our ready-to-deploy apps” reference above. On first reading, we took this announcement to mean they were including offline in their apis. That means mobile app developers like us could start building custom offline solutions against ArcGIS Online. Not so it would seem. The offline solution will be integrated into their canned mobile apps. This code has not been made available (yet). But wait there is more …..

When will we be able to configure your ArcGIS Mobile Apps?
“Later in 2012 ArcGIS Mobile applications will be configurable. This will allow users to support a more focused workflow without the need to write custom code.”

WebMapSolutions thoughts: Now that is interesting. Custom workflows without the need for programmers and custom code. Hmmm. Sounds great, but wonder how that will work in practice. Maybe i will be able to take a generic ESRI mobile app which includes offline, and customise it to my own liking?

We see 3 scenarios:

  1. Users who just want the canned mobile ArcGIS app, to maybe add some additional pre-built functionality (widgets) and call it good
  2. Users who need some high level customisation. In other words simple custom tweeks. The configurable ArcGIS Mobile solution will serve these folks well.
  3. Users who need some low level level customisation, to satisfy very specific workflows

Let’s talk more about scenario 3 above. The new platforms now available; the cloud, ArcGIS online, mobile devices, are revolutionary in many ways. One key thing they do, is move us away from canned apps like ArcPad (don’t get us wrong, we like ArcPad). We can now build, quickly and cheaply (mobile) apps which provide simplified, focused workflows. Its what many of our clients talk about, and what we discuss at length on this blog.

ESRI have kindly provided a nice mobile solution for some of the ArcGIS Online user community to share and interact with their data. But many more will be looking for custom solutions, beyond a customisable (canned) ArcGIS Mobile app.

That is where we can help. We are building cross platform mobile ArcGIS Online apps. See our recent work with offline editing for ArcGIS Online

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