Data collection in the field has always been a challenge. Often we need to collect data at a particular location. Historically this has been done a number of ways:

  • Pen and paper – maybe the most common approach. Take a paper map into the field, mark the data collection point on the map and location specific notes. On return to the office this data is digitized and added to a ArcGIS or maybe a shapefile
  • Laptop – Lugging a laptop around is the next option. Boot it, worry about battery life, lose it for weeks when a bug or any other number of issues drag it to its knees.
  • Phone – Sometimes organization resort to phones. Users phone in their location and all related information. Often this involves navigating multiple phone menu options.

Mobile ArcGIS Data Collection

The new mobile smartphones and tablets come with built in GPS. Battery life on most devices is considerable. Boot up, shut down, patching and the rest of the nonsense associated with the PC world is gone. Instant network access is the order of the day. They are highly portable of course, and considerably cheaper than laptops and legacy mobile devices from the likes of Trimble. It is now possible to build applications which run on all, or least most, mobile platforms; Apple IOS, Android, Blackberry. No more building an application for the IPhone or IPad, then rewriting it for Android.

Using a mobile device data can be collected and tied to that location using GPS. This can be done both online and offline. If users are offline or without wi-fi, GPS is still usually functional (heavy tree cover may reduce GPS accuracy). Data can be stored on the device for later upload.

Mobile Data Collection

We have put considerable work into mobile apps which are location focused. Below are some demos of recent work we have done.

Offline Mobile ArcGIS Shapefile Editing

We have had a number of conversations as a result of our offline mobile ArcGIS work. We’ve been asked if editing shapefiles while offline is possible. The video below shows an offline mobile ArcGIS application which allows both querying of shapefile feature attributes, and the editing of these attributes:

Online Mobile ArcGIS Editing

How about editing features on a mobile device while online? The video below shows editing feature attributes in a mobile ArcGIS application. It also demonstrates adding new features to the layer:

Mobile ArcGIS Visualization – GeoMobile for ArcGIS

Mobile GIS Enterprise Check-In App using MapQuest

An enterprise check-in app which allows users to plan routes, collect location data and conduct local searches

WebMapSolutions are mobile application developers. Based in Utah we develop location focused mobile apps for GIS, mapping and location based services (LBS). Contact us at: www.webmapsolutions.com

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