Historically, GIS asset management systems have been dominated by enterprise solutions. These are large, complex systems, which often integrate with a third party GIS like ArcGIS from Esri. In recent times, there has been a growing demand for GIS asset management solutions which are more affordable, and easier to set up and use. Advances in software technology, including the release of new GIS and mapping services, has made the building of low cost, simple GIS asset management systems far easier.
Low Cost, Simple Mobile GIS Asset Management Systems for Local Government
We were approached earlier in 2015 by a group of small public municipalities who were looking for an affordable GIS asset management system. The requirement was for a single mobile GIS asset management app which could be used on any device – laptop, tablet, smartphone – whether in the office or the field. An application for managing utility assets which had the ability to update and synchronize the organizations central GIS or mapping system automatically. Key elements require included:
– Generate and access work orders
– Routine maintenance
– Maintenance work order history
– Custom reports
– Asset editing
– Measure and draw tools
The focus of the work was on smaller municipal entities. Enterprise GIS asset management systems are often out of the reach of these types of organizations financially, and are too complex for their needs. We were tasked to develop a simple low cost solution which provided this core set of requirements.
Widget Driven Mobile GIS Utility Asset Management Apps
The application had potential uses managing electric utilities, gas utilities, and water utilities. So it needed to not only provide the core tools, but additional tools if required. Flexibility was key. We chose to build the mobile GIS app using widgets. These are a set of interchangeable tools, relatively easy to develop and very focused. The work order widget for example, was linked to features, so remote workers could use their mobile device to not only view active work orders, but edit and generate new work orders.
Offline Mobile GIS Apps for Asset Management
Poor wi-fi reception is common in both remote and urban areas. One additional feature important to this work was offline. The ability to view and work with basemaps, asset layers and work orders with slow or no wireless connectivity. This was a key area of focus for our development team: how to build a single mobile app which could be used on any device (laptop, smartphone, table) and any platform (Apple, Android, Windows) and was offline enabled. The approach we took was somewhat unique and proved very successful.
We were presented with an interesting challenge to generate a low cost, simple mobile GIS asset management app which which could be used on any device and was offline enabled. The resulting app is both innovative and we see as potentially representing a new simpler approach to GIS asset management.
Contact us for more information on 801-733-0723.