I am the computer guy for my local Search and Rescue volunteer organization. Currently, we use a combination of ArcMap and our own local datasets to create custom maps when we have to go out on a search. But because very few of our members know how to use ArcMap, we simply create a goereferenced tiff of the map at the search site using ArcMap, then use that image in OzeExplorer to actually run the search. This is a horribly convoluted method, but up until now this has been the only way we could use our own datasets to create maps and yet not have to have everyone be an expert with ArcMap.
ArcGIS Desktop Explorer can be a much better alternative, and I have already written a number of addins to interface with to a GPS, provide some analysis features specific to Search & Rescue, and provide better printing capability to print specific area's of a visible map.
However, one key element that I still have to develop is the ability to use our datasets in an offline fashion. Many of our searches occur in remote areas of New Brunswick where there is not even cell service. My plan is to take the majority of our data (roads, water, forest data, etc) and create a basemap and a set of tile images using ArcGIS Server, then also have a few layers of data that can be turned on overtop of this custom base layer that we only use occasionally (like property boundries). The only question is how to actually serve those custom tile images to AGX in an almost perpetual offline fashion.
I can think of a few options to provide this sort of offline capability: 1. Simply cache all of the tile images for the entire dataset There are a number of questions that I need answered by some helpful ESRI software engineer, however. How well does AGX handle a cache directory of a few GB in size? Does AGX eventually clear older tiles out when they get too old (i.e. months)?
2. create a very simple ArcGIS server on the same computer as the one AGX is running on to supply the tile images. How much of a performance hit will this cause? Can this performance hit be alleviated by having AGX and the server operating on different drives (i.e to improve caching speeds)?
3. Create an ArcGIS server on a second local computer. Of course this would work, but I really don't want to go this route. We do not have the money for, nor the space in the command post for, a second computer
I would love to hear from the community what my options are for this. We HAVE to have the ability to work in offline fashion 90% of the time, but we have far too much data and far too many different layers to simply add all that data to AGX individually. I have played with that option and AGX pretty much grinds to a halt.
So, how can I serve up an entire Canadian province worth of tile images to AGX without having to connect to a server?