Based on our many years of mobile GIS development, we have put together the following short list of 5 things you should know about Mobile GIS editing:
1) Currently none of the major GIS vendors have released an offline editing solution. Esri are arguably the closest, but offline GIS editing is complex. Initial roll outs are expected later this year, but don’t expected a fully functional solution from any of the big players until 2014.
2) Custom solutions are available from smaller vendors. The majority of these are canned apps, which provide limited functionality and no integration with established GIS systems such as ArcGIS. WebMapSolutions have developed an offline mobile editing solution integrated with ArcGIS Online. Not an off the shelf product, this is a mobile app which was designed to be easy to adapt for various uses. The goal of this work by us, and increasingly others, is to move away from developing general apps, and towards simple customization of a code base to provide specific workflows based on clients individual needs.
4) Given the time and complexity of developing GIS integrated mobile offline editing solutions, purchased apps will likely be expensive until the technology matures. Subscription based models offered by vendors are likely the most cost effective option in the near term.
5) Online/offline mobile editing apps will be hugely popular and may prove to be one of the most important applications of mobile GIS; saving time, improving efficiency and data accuracy and reducing costs. In the case of disaster management, these types of mobile GIS applications may help to save lives.