Our blog post editor sometimes asks me “Where are you going with this one?” He will at times rein me in. Other times, as in this case, he let’s me at the topic.
So another question here: Offline GIS Asset Mgment. Really? You might be able to tell that I am sensing something is not quite right.
Offline GIS Asset Mgment. Really?
I’ll be blunt.
If you are told: “Our offline GIS mobile asset management solution is ‘TPK’ based” … Raise your eyebrows.
Next ask this question “How so?”
You’ll likely see a little squirming. Maybe some deflection or obfuscating tech talk. The bottom line.
A TPK based GIS mobile asset management solution is a PARTIAL solution at best.
Let me explain.
First what is a TPK? This is an ESRI acronym for Tile Package. Essentially a zip file of images. These images are basemap tiles, organized by zoom level. Think satellite basemap for example. A TPK is a static, reference layer vaguely like a geoPDF.
Three elements make up a COMPLETE offline GIS asset management experience:
- Offline basemap
- Interactive operational layers (valves, pipes etc). Let’s include work orders, inspections etc here too.
- GIS functionality – search, routing, editing, fault locators etc.
Operational layers are, in ArcGIS terms, feature layers. In an app they are literally asset objects with which you can interact. So tap on a point on the map which represents a power pole to see a pop up with attributes (eg. material type, height etc). GIS functionality might include search “find for me, and zoom to, valve number 123.”. Also very importantly edit “I need to add a new power pole, change an attribute of an existing power pole, or add an image of the pole as an attachment”.
From a development perspective offline GIS asset management is complex. But our approach at WebMapSolutions centers on GIS anywhere, anytime on any device. In the case of asset management that means full offline capabilities in an app which runs on any device (PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet) and any platform (Apple, Android, Windows). Web technology is the only way this is can be achieved. This is why we have invested much time in developing GeoAppSmart for ArcGIS. A widget based web app which provides full offline capabilities. We will in 2017 be releasing an asset management focused version of GeoAppSmart.
As far as we know this will be the first fully offline enabled GIS mobile asset management solution on the market.
Download our white paper on GeoAppSmart for ArcGIS.
Author: Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Matt evangelizes GIS and intelligent maps around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books. Follow him on Twitter:
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