An interesting question I think: Is all device GIS finally here? Note, I don’t use the term mobile. By all device I mean PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet. In other words access to a GIS application from any device. When we talk about GIS anywhere, anytime we are talking about all device GIS.
Is all device GIS finally here?
Today our GIS world is split 3 ways:
- Desktop GIS
- Web GIS
- Mobile GIS
All device GIS collapses these 3 options into one. That means I can truly work with my mapping application everywhere: at home, in the office, in the field. Now that is a giant step forward. But before we get carried away, let’s add more context here.
What is meant by all device GIS?
All device GIS means a usable GIS application which I can access from my Apple iPhone as easily as I can my Dell laptop or Android tablet. It is one application built for all devices. Only one design approach works for all device GIS: web technology. So loading a ‘responsive’ web application in your browser.
By all device GIS we are really thinking about providing maps and GIS functionality to the large majority of users. Desktop GIS will always be the bastion of GIS analysts who need powerful desktop computers and advanced tools. That is a small group within the wider user base. All device GIS provides maps access and simple focused tools.
Web GIS and mobile GIS are one in the same thing. Evolving a mobile and web strategy separately may actually make little sense. Now we need to be careful here, sometimes we do need a so called native mobile app which only runs on a specific mobile platform. But for many mobile use cases, mobile web is an excellent solution.
All device GIS and COTS+
We’ve been discussing GIS COTS+ in a number of articles this week. That is the new way to build GIS applications. Cheaper and faster. A way to get the best of both worlds: configurable and custom. Many COTS+ frameworks are built with web technology. You decide which maps and tools to include in the application. You may configure one COTS+ app for mobile inspections:
Another for real time data monitoring:
We’ve always focused on flexibility when it comes to GIS. All device GIS is becoming ever more popular. Giving GIS staff the ability to provide users access to GIS regardless of where they are and which device they use.
Contact us is you have questions about all device GIS on 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: