I’ve said this a number of times but in 2006 with the launch of Google Maps, I did wonder about the future of ESRI. Don’t think I was alone. Today that is quite the reverse. ArcGIS Online is truly outstanding. Its cloud based, makes geo-data available to be consumed by a multitude of different devices, provides data management controls (public/private data), allows publishing of data from multiple formats (CSV, GRX, KML etc), and can be distributed in multiple ways; as GIS targeted maps/apps, embedded in documents, as story maps. Bottom line it will broaden the reach of geospatial data beyond the GIS folks, and provides the ability to integrate with business systems.
Focused ArcGIS Apps
The idea behind solution templates is focused apps. So:
1) Build a template which works against any data set of a certain type or schema; the local government data model for example.
2) Simple workflows and away from the generic or swiss army knife type apps. In the mobile world, ArcPad remains alive and well. But there are complex workflows in the app which we have had clients complain to us about. Solution templates may help to compliment ArcPad and provide less technical workflows for non IT field workers.
3) Apps targeted at a particular audience. This could be as simple as a printing template, which provides options for users to print their maps in a particular way. So no longer a generic print widget, a targeted simple map printing app.
We’ll write more in a future post on working with the templates. For now; there are some very exciting developments going on in the ESRI world.