If you are interested in mobile ArcGIS but wondering how to begin read Jeff Shaner’s excellent article: Deploying Mobile Solutions. This sets out the foundations for moving forward with mobile and ArcGIS field apps. In this article I’ll take Jeff’s discussion one step further and talk custom mobile workflows.
From Deploying Mobile ArcGIS Solutions to Customization
As Jeff discusses there is a path to getting mobile solutions into the hands of users: staff commitment, planning, pilot projects, moving to production. Esri have released a very nice complimentary set of mobile apps these include Explorer for ArcGIS, Collector, Survey123, Workforce, and Navigator. Each have a particular focus, and can be linked to help complete more complex workflows such as managing assets.
But what are your options if you find your field based staff asking for functionality which is not included in these configurable apps? You may be wanting to extend these apps or look to a custom solution. We spoke about customization in a previous blog post: ArcGIS Custom Mobile Development is Alive and Well. Custom mobile solutions are far easier to build than was once the case. There are 4 main options:
1. Mobile web apps – Web apps are a very flexible mobile solution. Taking a responsive approach means that one web app can be built which runs on any device (laptop, tablet, smartphone) and any platform (Android, Apple, Windows). Building on-top of a widget based framework like Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS or GeoAppSmart means faster, cheaper development .
2. ArcGIS Runtime SDK – Need an install-able mobile solution which can be distributed in the various App stores which provides high performance and advanced functionality. Look no further than ArcGIS Runtime and building a native mobile app.
3. AppStudio for ArcGIS – Want the best of both worlds; the flexibility of a web app and functionality of a native app? AppStudio is your answer: one code base from which can used to generate apps which run on different platforms.
4. Hybrid mobile app – Want to convert your web app to an install-able native-like app. Phonegap/Cordova is the perfect answer.
We build mobile ArcGIS apps using each of the above approaches. Have questions?
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Author: Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Matt evangelizes GIS and location intelligence around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books. Follow him on Twitter: