Lets finish off our map problem to food analogies in this blog post. We have been working our way through what we describe as our ArcGIS Solutions Pyramid. This is our way of categorizing the questions asked by our customers looking for a solution using ArcGIS.

How is your ArcGIS map problem like Thanksgiving dinner?

In our last post: My map problem is like a home cooked meal HELP! we covered the third tier of the pyramid ‘Calculate and Build a Map’.

arcgis-solutions-pyramid

In this final post in this series we will cover the top of the pyramid; the dynamic elements. Let’s start by covering what is meant by dynamic. The lower sections or static sections of the pyramid cover single answers to single questions. These are data focused questions. Or using our food analogy, I’m hungry do I grab a microwave meal, build a sandwich or (have my wife) prepare a meal? These are progressions in complexity.

Dynamic ArcGIS Solutions

The fourth tier in our pyramid is the ‘Multiple Solution App’. Think about your Thanksgiving dinner. Hours of preparation, pots and pans galore, chopping here, sampling there. Finally the dinner table is covered with dishes heaped with food. Turkey, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, rolls, carrots on and on. All sit down to the feast. So how are you going to eat the meal? What combination of food will you eat? How will you assemble what you choose – cover all with gravy, make sure the potatoes don’t touch the carrots (my kids), avoid the turkey (vegetarians like myself)?

You have the raw ingredients of the meal (the food), and the tools you need (plates, knife, fork etc). Its up to you how you are going to eat the meal. You assemble the pieces in a combination which suites your taste.

Now that is dynamic. You have all the pieces you need. Its now up to you to assemble. So how does this relate to GIS and intelligent maps? An app with tools which use the prepared data to help answer your where questions that is how. Our ‘Multiple Solution App’ tier sits above the static layers. The static layers are focused on data: assembly, calculations etc. The dynamic layers rely on the static base. Ask yourself how would your Thanksgiving meal be with just the plates, knives and forks, and no food?

In this fourth tier of our ArcGIS Solutions Pyramid we use the term multiple (solution app), what do we mean here? Widget based web apps that is what. Think Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS or our GeoAppSmart for ArcGIS. These are extraordinarily flexible ArcGIS apps. They work on any device, and platform. And through widgets can be configured for use by many different groups within your organization: offline asset inspections, assessing real estate opportunities, calculating insurance risk. Widgets are the where question to answer focused tools. Any combination of widgets can be used in a single web app. You assemble the pieces in a combination which suites the need.

The final, or top tier of the ArcGIS Solutions Pyramid is the single solution app. Put simply this is an app built for one purpose. Maybe its your gourmet meal, where you provide exact requirements. Narrow and focused. Think a custom solution. Think Collector for ArcGIS and other focused Esri solution templates.

That’s it for out 4 part food focused blog series, leading us up to Thanksgiving next week. We use our ArcGIS Solutions Pyramid for guidance. Often starting with our free Discovery Workshop. The pyramid helps guide the path forward from ‘where’ problem to solution.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Want to get keep track of new developments in the world of maps and GIS?  Download a free copy of our white paper ‘From Where to There’, which provides a road map for solving problems with intelligent maps and GIS.

matt_sheehanAuthor: Matt Sheehan

Matt Sheehan is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Matt evangelizes GIS and intelligent maps around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books. Follow him on Twitter:

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