Offline Mobile ArcGIS-Maximo App for Utility
A large electric and gas utility in the western US approached WebMapSolutions about building an offline mobile work order app. They had in place IBM Maximo and were looking to integrate this platform with ArcGIS. Providing field staff working in remote areas, an easy to use mobile intelligent map app which would help staff find and inspect assets, and report on work done.
Gas distribution and electric transmission field staff working for the utility, often operate in remote areas. Wireless connectivity was usually absent. Four different laptop based applications were used by field staff to get their work done.
Taking the current applications offline was a time consuming task requiring a nightly full data push to the laptops.
Maximo Anywhere, for asset inspections, sat separately from ArcGIS. That meant more complexity for field staff. Lastly, the full power of GIS was not being realized: fault tracing, offline routing, geo-location, full data editing.
The utilities primary goal was to improve and simplify how their field staff worked. Their vision was to replace their current four different applications, with a single mobile application running on mobile tablets. They also wanted to bring together Maximo Anywhere with ArcGIS: to combine the power of GIS with IBM’s Enterprise Asset management System.
In the new mobile app, two screens were envisaged. First an ArcGIS map with a layer of assets to be inspected. Tap a feature in the map and an ‘Open inspection’ button, and the map screen was replaced with a second Maximo Anywhere screen showing an inspection form for that asset. Screens could be switched interchangeably.
The ArcGIS portion of the app would provide advanced offline GIS capabilities including routing, geo-processing and task specific functions such as fault finding.
A considerable amount of time was spent preparing data. There were a number of map layer types:
- Operational Feature Layers for reference
- Editable Feature Layers distributed to the mobile device as a geo-database for offline editing.
- Tile Packages (TPK) for offline base maps.
- GPX layer for way-points; a GPS track of field staff routes.
This was a complex mobile app, requiring many layers. The offline component of the app added to this data complexity.
The final solution was in many ways ground-breaking. We first built a Runtime mobile ArcGIS app fully offline enabled which provided interactive map layers, editing, routing and much advanced functionality. Then integrated this app with the hybrid Maximo Anywhere, allowing field staff to seamlessly switch between the map app and individual asset inspection forms. This was a very challenging implementation. The results were particularly satisfying to the customer. Talks are now underway to extend the app.