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Moving Mobile Forward at


1. Why mobile, why now?
2. Considerations and decisions
3. Doing mobile right means you need to take a
look at your overall enterprise architecture
4. What was proposed/built

Why mobile
Reacting to:
A large mobile and distributed workforce who wants access to
information anytime anywhere
Many business areas pushing for mobile applications for field data
Asset collection, GSOC, EAB, ADA

Multiple technologies and approaches were being pushed

Concerns about a maintenance headache

Need to develop a common architecture for deploying mobile apps

Development of a Mobile Framework

Why now?
Great new and powerful devices
Smart Phones
Ability to integrate with others systems

Increasingly ubiquitous wireless broadband

3G/4G networks
Hot spots and air cards for laptops

Need for productivity gains

Decisions, decisions, decisions

What kind(s) of applications?
Mapping & business systems
What are your business needs for mobile?

Disconnected vs connected editing

Data check-in/check-out?

What kind(s) of devices and how many?

Phone apps vs Phone web apps
What accuracy of GPS?
Existing Infrastructure

What kind(s) of applications?

On a phone, GIS/mapping may on the periphery

Business systems?
Work orders


Direction finding
Field inspections
Access to asset information
Feature locating

What kind(s) of devices?

Are you prepared/able to standardize?
iPhone, Android, RIM, WinPhone


Laptops & GPS Devices

Phone apps vs Phone web apps

Pure phone, e.g., iPhone app
Takes better advantage of phone
Camera, GPS, accelerometer, etc.

But, requires standardization on a

single phone
Or, building a different app for each

Phone apps vs Phone web apps

Phone-based web-app
Relies on the phones browser app
Web pages, HTML5, JavaScript
Can be optimized for small screens
Adaptive design

Good access to GPS; camera not yet

supported (but coming)
Examples of minified web pages

What accuracy of GPS?

Phone & car navigation systems:
3-10 meters - Commercial

GPS devices, cards for laptop/tablets:

1 foot - 3 meters Mapping Grade
<1 meter with post processing or
real-time correction services (e.g. OmniStar)

Dedicated, high quality GPS devices:

Sub-foot High Precision
Established base stations and RTK

Disconnected vs connected editing

Connected = direct edits to the server
Disconnected = synching with server
Will you always be connected to the internet?
If so, then web-based forms are possible
If not, need a mechanism to work while disconnected, and then
synch with server later
Support for connection disruption (i.e., mostly connected)

Support for fully disconnected editing

Data check-out/check-in
Synchronization upon return to the office
Non-trivial and Esri provides good tools

But some strings are attached

Mobile apps require a solid server and

data management foundation
In short, to effectively take your data into the field you
need to have your back-end in order
Mobile applications should interface with your
enterprise infrastructure
Enterprise GIS
Base maps
Business layers and their attributes (e.g., parcels, utilities)
Web services (both cached and dynamic)

Business systems
For example, work orders, asset management, CAMA, etc.

Mn/DOT Mobile project

5 deliverables
1. Business requirements document

10 workshops

2. Mobile data framework v1

Including a data model and app dev guide

3. Two prototype applications

a. ArcGIS Mobile Framework-based ADA application

Inventory sidewalk features (e.g. ramps) for ADA compliance

Built by partner firm, CDM

b. Proof of concept phone-based web app

4. Device matrix

Observations from the business

There are LOTS of requirements
GIS/mapping is not necessarily the driver; great need for
business system access and timesheets
Mobile application development is different than enterprise
application development
Need for flexibility and agility
Need to deploy rapidly
You may have a field crew (or interns) waiting for the tool

Need to be able to readily make adjustments to the app

You learn how the app needs to change once youre in the field

Mobile framework and data model

One app framework /one data schema many apps
App to build an apps create an app
Add inputs to apps identify data fields you want to collect
App builds itself in browser based on inputs
Add features to apps- collect data
All data from all apps goes
into one database schema

Geometry data,
its just another field
OGC simple features

Conceptual view of mobile

framework (aka The Green Box)

Building a phone app


ADA - Sidewalk Inventory

Traditional app that uses Esri ArcGIS v10
mobile framework

Allows for disconnected editing, and syncs data

back to the database for quick access back in the

Using the app

Support of multiple platforms

Can run in full

browser mode on a
PC, or on a phone

widget adjusts
for phone

Project Status
Finished the ADA app
Completing recovery from government shutdown
Completing the build-out of the proof of concept
mobile web-app
Working to perfect and deploy an initial version of
the mobile framework


There are huge opportunities to capitalize on mobile GIS

technology and applications.
There will be increasing volume of activity
Mobile is different and takes some thought and planning
for the best approach for your organization
This is something we think can be used elsewhere