We get this question asked often:
“How do we load a shapefile on our smartphone or tablet, allow our team to edit said shapefile on their respective mobiles, then consolidate all edits back into a single shapefile?”
Ours is a three word answer:
“Use the cloud”
If there is any discussion which best illustrates the power of cloud computing it is this one. Today systems like ArcGIS Online and GISCloud make it easy to publish your shapefiles to a single accessible layer. Now your team can load this single source on their mobile device, make their edits, sync and they are done. Nothing could be easier.
We harp on in this blog about today’s GIS revolution. This is one great example. Two key pieces: mobile GIS, and shared data with cloud GIS.
And this technology is cheap. Go back a few years and Trimble mobile devices with shapefiles, and you were paying crazy money. Today you can get a more limited version of ArcGIS Online for free (developer version), with a first tier account costing a couple thousand dollars. GISCloud is around $55 month. Pair that with the mobile phones and tablets many of us now carry at all times, and you have a new paradigm……… mobile enabled cloud based GIS.