Dirty, smelly and tired describes my weekend. Yes, I went camping. I’ll admit to not being much of an ‘outdoor sleeper’. But Southern Utah is a such a magical place, the occasional camping trip is almost mandatory if you live here. Towering blocks of red rock, slot canyons, Petroglyphs: Southern Utah has it all.

We camped just off the Burr Trail. At a remote location. We were meeting a friend there. It was our first chance to use what3words to share the site location: http://w3w.co/minutes.bitters.leaps

But there was a problem, we had no wi-fi connectivity. Our bookmarked map with marked meeting location would not load on our smartphones.

Why does my GIS Web app not work Offline?

At present we are faced with a conundrum in the world of maps and GIS. By far the most popular way to access maps is via web apps; pull up Chrome or Firefox, load a web app and off you go. But what do we do when we are using our mobile phone or tablet and have poor or no wi-fi connectivity? Your GIS web app is useless.

Currently the offline map/GIS route is to install a mobile application from one of the App stores (iTunes App Stores, Google Play). That is fine. But there are so many popular GIS web apps, suppose we want to use one of these when out of wi-fi range? Let me share a secret; GIS web apps can be built to work offline as well as online, just like installed mobile apps. Mobile offline GIS is today a reality. Now, again just like installed mobile apps, complex GIS apps may need connectivity and access to ArcGIS for example. But basic viewing, querying and editing can all be done fully disconnected in a web app. Its true.

Here is a what3words app which works fully offline (in this example we have used PhoneGap).

Here is another example showing offline editing in the browser:

Today the focus is on installed mobile GIS apps for offline. But there is a growing trend towards building offline enabled web apps. As we often say, if your mobile GIS Web app does not work offline, it does not work!

If you have questions on offline GIS contact us on 801-733-0723.


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