smart tv as a catalyst to present gis maps for meeting rooms

01-31-2020 10:11 PM
Status: Open
New Contributor II


   My name is Brian i work for a utility company as a supervisor, my duties range greatly. but one that i am most proud of is maintaining our gis data base and gis map. i have been involved with our gis map since it first had thought back in 2001, back in the good ol days of sub-meter accuracy. Recently,(August 2019) I had an idea of trying to see how i could utilize our gis map for our monthly held board of directors meetings.  You see developers usually send in and very small vicinity map that has been photo copied and 90% of the time these maps are barely legible, it is especially difficult on our older board members. These small paper maps are accompanied by a 1 page letter requesting what available utilities we have in a certain area. This is done when a developer wants to build a new subdivision, condo, or new retail business.

       So with this in mind, I thought about using a samsung smart tv as a catalyst to use our gis map for our aging board members to be able to see what areas are in question when discussing not only new infrastructure projects within our system, but also as a guide to show locations for utility availability letters. This idea I had came to fruition with the blessing of my managers. So i went and purchased a Samsung smart tv from walmart. I set up the tv, connected it to the internet and logged into to our esri account and I was able to show our gis map in the map viewer. It worked great, just like utilizing the gis map from a 65 inch computer screen, i purchased a mouse and keyboard and bam! we were in business. This idea turned out to be a great idea and I received a lot of praise from our board. This idea worked great, I was able to bring up the gis data, switch between the different imagery basemaps, I was even able to create new maps and place pins on the different locations associated with the utility availability letters. I also was able to show areas within our system easier to our board when in discussions about the future infrastructure upgrades we were planning. I was on cloud 9 on how well it worked, well i was. The smart tv idea worked phenomenal until our December board meeting. The gis map would come up and work as it should except the "pan" feature was gone, i could no longer grab the screen with the cursor and drag the map to a certain area, I did have zoom in/out capability or search and address as a way to move the map to a certain area. However, these methods were not practical as using the "pan" feature. I tried changing settings, tried a different mouse, tried using a corded mouse vs the wireless mouse and nothing. I could not get it to function like it had. So, this past week after another difficult board meeting i reached out to esri for a solution. I found out the las update for the online accounts was on December 10th, our issues were first noticed on December 19th. So my thinking there is a bug in the latest update. Esri on the other hand is saying the tinzen browser that the samsung smart tv uses is not compatible with arcgis software, which is weird because it worked fine until the latest esri update. So i thought, well i will try google maps. well for some reason the pan feature works as it should on google maps, just not the gis map when logged into esri online. So my idea is that maybe the developers and the engineers at esri will consider testing using the tinzen browser that samsung uses for its smart tv's because, I promise you it is another easier tool to have especially for small meeting rooms. having the gis map hanging on the wall and being able to present it is very nice and more accommodating than having a work station setup or using a projector. its so much easier. so if you guys and gals can figure out a way to get my pan feature back that would be great.

         I know my idea is long winded, but felt i needed to provide some history and some reasoning behind my idea so you could understand it better. thank you for your time in advance.

Brian S. 

field supervisor/ gis tech


Perhaps you could use a raspberry pi or laptop connected to the tv as a cheap alternative until this is hopefully resolved for you?



    After playing with it for a while yesterday, we are using the screen mirror from a cell phone that has the explorer app installed. This will work for now, especially since we have keyboard & mouse capability with the explorer app while mirrored on the smart tv. This will suffice, but if esri could maybe consider working with the tinzen browser. That would be huge. Because the map worked great for 4 months prior to the December update. So I know the tinzen browser does work with arc map, it's the latest update that needs tweaking on esri's end. May be an embedded bug within the update. So if esri can add the smart tv browsers as additional platforms for testing. Then I think more companies could have more access to their gis maps with more ease than having to use a secondary device to access the map. I really appreciate your input, if the explorer app fails thru the mirror app, then I guess we will use the laptop method.


Supported browsers—ArcGIS Online Help | Documentation are listed here.  Tizen OS is the OS - from some quick Googling it appears that the web browser is something proprietary to Samsung.  It seems like if you were able to get a supported web browser onto the TV you'd be able to work with Online and other apps supported by that browser. 

Can I change browsers on a Samsung Smart TV? - Quora 


that is the big issue, i'm not exactly sure how to get a different browser on the tv. preferable method would be without purchasing additional devices or having to pay a monthly fee. so without actually "jail breaking" the TV, if it even can be done. i don't really know how to get around the tizen browser. which regardless of what esri has listed as a supported browser, for 4 months prior to the December 10th update, the map worked just fine using the tizen browser, it wasn't til after that update did the problem start. so the update that esri did caused the problem i have now.


BRIAN SCHEER‌ My assumption is you all do not use laptops as your computers? It would seem just adding an HDMI cable to the TV and using your laptop is the best method...if you use laptops. That way, anyone can use the TV for meeting displays and not just GIS.

Also, how does ArcMap work on a browser, as you stated above?



   Yes we do use work station desktops. however our meeting room is small. So we had the thought of using a smart TV vs of having to purchase additional equipment. When we first purchased the TV, the tizen browser supported it no problem for 4 months until the esri update in December of 2019. yes you can just plug a laptop in to the TV and use the TV as a display, because our meeting space is small we did not want to clutter it up any further with additional items. With the smart TV having a web browser we could just simply log in to esri and access our gis data electronically without having to have an additional computer tower to run our mapping system. plug and play basically. especially with a wireless mouse and key board plugged connected to the TV. We did recently purchase a laptop, and we are able to cast from the laptop to the smart TV. This system does work, we can log in like normal to our gis map via the esri website and cast our map content to the TV as a display. It works as it should like this, but again that factor of having to make an additional purchase when before the esri update it worked just fine for 4 months.