I’ve noticed a trend in conversations I have had over the last few years when discussing mapping and GIS technology: increasing use of the words simple and flexible. Its interesting. Gone are the days when, to quote Henry Ford “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”. For enterprise mapping and GIS we have moved into a world where ‘only black’ is not good enough. Users expect an application to fit their needs and requirements. That means style, colour, functionality and workflows.

Need a super Flexible Mobile GIS app?

So called COTS or configurable off the shelf apps have become very popular. These are pre-built apps which you can adjust and add data as needed. For many these are a great starting point. Platforms like ArcGIS come with many ready to use COTS apps. Collector for ArcGIS is an example of a very nice mobile data collection app.

For those new to GIS and mobile we have found COTS apps to be a perfect first step. But over time, as customers become more familiar with mobile GIS, we are finding that word flexibility cropping up:

Can we add a custom form to Collector?

The COTS mobile app we are using is not as simple and intuitive as our (non-GIS) users would like, can we change the workflows?

Can we change the layout, style and brand the mobile COTS app we are using?

As a company we started to think more deeply about what flexibility truly means for mobile GIS. We came up with four key requirements:

  • Modular or the ability to add or remove tools as needed
  • Simple to configure and change using an open programming language (Javascript)
  • Works online and offline
  • One mobile GIS app which works on any device (tablet, smartphone, laptop) and any platform (Windows, Android, Apple)

Where we ended up was developing GeoAppSmart for ArcGIS. This is on of a new generation of mobile GIS web apps.

GeoAppSmart extends how mobile users can work with GIS. The app comes with a core set of widgets or tools and we have been actively adding more based on feedback. Contact us for more information on 801-733-0723.

 

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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:

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