Applications of Mobile GIS including Offline ArcGIS Data Collection

Blog Post created by webmapsolutions on Aug 25, 2014

We are a GIS and mapping company focused on mobile. So many diverse industries are now embracing mobile GIS. We are working with utilities, mining, engineering, retail and real estate companies. All recognise how mobile GIS is a game changer, from GIS data collection, to routing and visualization. In this post we thought it interesting to discuss some of our work for clients with mobile GIS.


GIS Data Collection for Utilities


Utilities have many field based staff. Pen and paper remain an important part of these folks workflow. That might be reporting on work done, noting additional issues, reporting on users or land owners, paper maps for routing. These paper records are then manual entered into the organizations computer systems. We've been working with a number of utilities helping to automate this process. So using smartphones and tablets to collect and visualize data. The approach uses mobile ArcGIS apps, so load a map in both online or offline modes. Find the route to your first call. Add a point to the map (using the devices inbuilt GPS) to mark the feature (maybe a valve) on the map. Enter information about the valve (type, issue, notes etc), and work completed. Attach pictures taken of the valve to this point. Finally upload this data to the organizations GIS or central system.


Mobile GIS for Real Estate Land Sales


Looking for land for sale? You'll usually visit a real estate web site and see pictures of the land and description. This is helpful but limited. Imagine now all the land parcels for sale are displayed on a map. You can query parcels by size and price, and are presented with a filters list. Select a parcel of interest and you zoom to the parcel, and can see photos, and video taken on the land and marked on the map. Features are also shown; rivers, gates, roads, fire hydrants and any other points of interest. This is a much richer experience for prospective buyers. We've been helping real estate companies not only collect this data using iPads and iPhones, but have been building interactive Web maps which provide visualization and query capabilities for buyers.


Retail Site Location using Mobile GIS

Selecting new site locations is important to many retail organizations. This process usually involves a team of analysts who scour new markets for potential sites. Their analysis is usually provided to onsite teams in paper form, often in large booklets containing maps, descriptions, demographics and other data. These teams then drive to prospective sites. We've been providing interactive mobile GIS apps to view and interact with this data. So remote teams can open a mobile app, see a map with the prospective sites marked. Select a site, query and view all related site documents, dynamically generate demographic data for the potential site. This has proved a far more efficient way to view and find information about potential new retail locations. It has also provided a mechanism for feedback, so photos and video taken with the Android or Apple mobile device, plus additional notes and comments are all fed back and stored in the organizations GIS.


Mobile GeoForms for Mining Exploration


Collecting data on a mobile devices is relatively new. Two approaches are possible: maps based or form based respectively. At the end of the day marking a point by its geographic location using GPS, and recording information about that point - data, images, video - is the goal. The point is the feature of interest. In mining exploration this is often a sample point. The map based approach starts obviously with the map. So see where you are in online or offline mode, drop a point using GPS, add data via an attribute inspector and attach images etc. The form based approach side steps the map and simply offers the user a custom form auto-populated with GPS. Historically these have been quite separate workflows. iFormBuilder are well know for their form based approach, while Esri take a map-centric approach. We've been working with a number of exploration companies looking into a hybrid approach. So start with a form and also have the ability to view a map, or vice-verse. Its proving a nice flexible approach, and one applicable in many scenarios.


iPad Testing 911 Wireless Call Accuracy using GIS


It is critical that 911 calls provide accurate location information. A call which comes into dispatchers which provides inaccurate location data can be potentially life threatening. A number of US counties are testing for 911 wireless accuracy, and reporting back to carriers where they find issues. This was once a manual process involving pen, paper and GPS devices. We have been building GIS driven mobile apps which provide the ability for testers to use their iPad or Android device to collect all required data, including precise location, and automatically pushing that to the organizations GIS system, for further analysis. Not only do these mobile apps provide data input mechanisms (comments, call successful etc), but they reach back to the organizations system and auto-populate required data fields such as PSAP and other location specific data.  There are many exciting ways to apply mobile GIS to provide mission critical improvements in how field based staff work.


Send us an email and let us know how you are using mobile GIS.