ArcGIS on the iPhone & iPad

At the recent Technology Directions event in Darwin, there was a lot of interest in how the iPhone and iPad can be used with ArcGIS. Here’s a quick overview of the options..

Go Free

Use the free Esri ArcGIS application for the iPhone and iPad available on the Apple iTunes Store. You can use this app to access maps authored in, or content delivered from your own ArcGIS Server. You can query the map, search and find interesting information, measure distance and areas, and share maps with other users.


ArcGIS for iOS free application


Go Web

Build a web application with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript that is designed to work well with the Safari browser on the iPhone and iPad. At V2.0 of the API Esri introduced the Compact Build of the API – specifically designed to be lightweight and quick to download on hardware such as 3G mobile devices. At V2.1 this was enhanced to better handle gestures such as double-tap, pinch and zoom on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. There are some good examples on the Resource Centre that illustrate this option well. on the ArcGIS Resource Centre. More general information on building web apps for the Apple devices can be found here.


ArcGIS JavaScript API Compact Build


Go Native

Build your own iPhone/iPad native application using the Esri ArcGIS API for iOS. Using this API you can combine access to ArcGIS maps, queries and geoprocessing  with all the power of the Apple device and O/S including it’s GPS and multi-touch screen. Pre-requisites for building apps using this API are access to an Apple Mac, the Xcode development environment, and establishing yourself as a Registered Apple Developer. The final version of the ArcGIS API for iOS was released last week.


Building an ArcGIS app in Xcode


If you’re looking at other smart phone devices, you might also want to take a look at ArcGIS for Windows Phone – another combination of application and API to support ArcGIS on the upcoming Windows Phone platform.

So bottom line – plenty of choice. Certainly the ArcGIS API for iOS option offers the most flexibility, but you will need to take some big steps in to the world of Apple development in Objective-C. The iOS-friendly web app using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript Compact Build could be a good option if you don’t want to go down that Apple Developer path. If all you need is to quickly get your content in to a map on the iPhone or iPad, check out that free ArcGIS app from Esri – could be an easy win.

I’ll be at Technology Directions events around the country over the next few weeks, so come and talk to me if you’d like more information on this.

Josh V

One thought on “ArcGIS on the iPhone & iPad

  1. Pingback: Tech Directions….top 5 take aways. « Esri Australia

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