Today I had the pleasure of co-presenting a “Getting Mobile with GIS” pre-conference Ozri tutorial with Kai Hübner. Kai is one of the most enthusiastic trainers and developers that we have – who knew that coding X-Code could be so exciting?
The twenty-odd participants came from a range of backgrounds and experiences including Local Government, Natural Resource Management and Defence but all with the common interest of extending their GIS into the field and beyond.
We started the session by posing the question: “What is mobile?” and acknowledging that the universe had shifted in a fundamental way. Before you think we at Esri Australia are going all existential, let me explain and assure you that we are still firmly grounded in GIS land.
Compared to the PC-dominated era when our users were deskbound and reliant on desktop solutions to deliver grunty GIS applications, we now understand that the user is the centre of our universe and we need to offer GIS performance on a full range of devices and in a variety of environments including catering for field geologists working 3,000km from the nearest Internet connection that still need to have access to geological base maps and be able to perform complex geoprocessing.
Even though this sounds like a tall order, we were able to demonstrate that with the arrival of ArcGIS Runtime, it is possible to build focused applications that use the full potential of a device’s operating system and work in connected and disconnected environments. Kai demonstrated that with access to sample code provided by Esri and by using industry standard programming software, it was possible to build an application using the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for WPF (Windows Performance Framework) in only a few minutes. Furthermore, the application could be deployed on a USB memory stick or emailed to the device in a compact package that needs no installation – does that sound exciting to you? It did to our participants.
He also showed that it was possible to develop custom applications for other platforms such as Apple’s iOS and with configuration of existing code using the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for iOS, we soon had an awesome GIS application running locally on an iPad with zero Internet connectivity – pretty cool right?
For those participants that were not developers, we also highlighted the new functionality in the latest offering of ArcGIS for Windows Mobile – our out of the box mobile application. In addition to great standard functionality in its “as-is” configuration, developers can now use an ArcGIS Runtime for Windows Mobile to build really focused applications to support their mobile workforce.
The new ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application also streamlines the deployment of the application and simplifies workflows to improve efficiency. Attachments including photos or video are now supported with the out-of-the-box application.
Undeniably mobile GIS is part of any enterprise GIS solution and is one of the topics we are most often asked about. With the addition of the ArcGIS Runtime, we are continuing to expand the options available. With ongoing development and support for new platforms including Windows 8, Mac OS and new functionality including 3D support, who knows what this session may look like a year from now? I for one can’t wait to find out.
Len O. with Kai H.
To find out more about this tutorial or topic, please contact us via email.