I read much about so called configurable GIS apps or COTS. No doubt they are a key part of today’s Web GIS world. Helping organizations provide focused GIS applications for staff in many different departments. Configure not custom has been the cry. And that is just fine if a COTS app fits your needs. But what if it does not? That is the focus of today’s article.

Why you can’t afford to ignore GIS COTS+

GIS COTS+ may be a new term to you. It actually combines the best of both worlds. Think of it as custom COTS. That means with all the advantages of a COTS app: fast set up, and flexibility. But a COTS+ app is not a generic app. Nor is it a custom application built from the ground up. It has custom elements designed to fit your exact workflows and needs, but is built on top of an existing framework.

In other words the best of all worlds

Let’s colour the picture with an example. Imagine a mobile GIS COTS data collection app. Your staff have tested the app and have provided feedback.

We need to not only collect data but take pictures and generate a report while on site. The app, though good, does not provide us all that we need.

That’s a tricky problem. What should you do: incur the expense and challenges of building a mobile GIS app which provides all the functionality your staff need? Use the COTS app and manually generate a report when back in the office? Neither sound like good options.

Enter COTS+. A custom app built on top of an existing COTS framework. Some of the advantages of this approach include:

  • No need to reinvent the wheel with a new application built from the ground up.
  • COTS frameworks are upgraded regularly. So no worries about the long term.
  • Custom development is focused on extending the existing framework. That potentially saves much time and money.
  • You still have all the configurable advantages offered by a COTS app: styling, maps and layers loaded by the app, controlling user access etc.

Below are some examples of COTS+ apps

  1. Mobile Inspection App

2. Offline Data Collection App

3. Real Time Data Map Viewer

4. Real Estate Parcel Viewer

COTS+ offers endless possibilities to build mobile and web apps which fit your exact workflows but have all the advantages of a COTS app.

Contact us to find out more about COTS+ 801.733.0723

 

 

Author: Matt Sheehan

Matt Sheehan is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Matt evangelizes GIS and location intelligence around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books. Follow him on Twitter:

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