Thursday, July 29, 2010

ESRI Mobile GIS Offerings

To clarify the current the ESRI Mobile GIS product offerings are:
  • ArcPad - ArcPad 10 is designed for Windows and Windows Mobile devices.
  • ArcGIS Mobile - ArcGIS Mobile 10 is for Windows and Windows Mobile devices.
  • ArcGIS for iOS - Apple iOS devices - iPod (Touch), iPhone and iPad.
  • ArcGIS for Windows Phone (Under Development) - Windows Phone 7 Devices.
  • ArcGIS for Android (Under Development, according to the UC 2010 Q&A) - Android OS devices - Smart Phones other Android devices.

Update to the Update

Wow, ESRI sure are making some moves in the Mobile GIS space. There is already an update to my Updated ESRI Mobile Applications, and hence an update to the update on the Mobile Trends Post.

ESRI have added some information to their Mobile GIS site covering the ArcGIS for Windows Phone offering.

ArcGIS for Windows Phone 7

The solution is coming! It will include an application for use on Windows Phone devices and an API that enables developers to create their own applications.

We will keep you posted with regards to the release of both the Windows Phone and Android solutions.

Monday, July 26, 2010

ArcGIS 10 Licencing

ESRI have changed the software Installation, Authorisation and Licencing process for ArcGIS 10.

The software product Downloads and Authorization is all controlled through the New ESRI Customer Care site. The Login to the Customer Care is with your ESRI Global Account.

Resources for Authorisation and Licencing ArcGIS 10 can be found at:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

ArcPad 10 Splash Screen

In ArcPad 10, the welcome (splash) screen has been revamped to simplify the process of loading up a map, and starting data collection in the field. With a single click, you can:
  • create a new empty map
  • create a QuickProject
  • open an existing map
  • open the previous map used
If you want to repeat the same action each time, you can select the "Set as default and don't ask again". In doing this, you will not see this welcome screen again (unless you activate it from the Options menu).

This is all well and good if you want to perform one of these actions at startup, but what if you don't? In a number of our customised applications that we write, we want to start with an empty map, and then load all of the applicable data into the map via code. The logical thing to do was to use the "New Map" option. Unfortunately this action was activated after the loading of applets (where the function to load required data was called). Hence, you got a message saying "Do you want to save your map?" every time it started up.

The workaround that I came up with was to use the timer. Once the applet loads, set a timer for 3 or 4 seconds to allow the "New Map" action to be called, then load the data. This worked ok, but it added a few extra seconds to the startup time. The best solution turned out to be an undocumented feature of ArcPad: adding "/nosplash" parameter to the ArcPad shortcut. This prevents this dialog from ever appearing, leaving the desired outcome of no action at startup!

To add the "nosplash" parameter (desktop):
  1. Right click on the ArcPad shortcut, and select "Properties"
  2. Switch to the Shortcut tab
  3. Under the Target path, add /nosplash to the end (make sure you put a space after the final ")
  4. Click OK
To do the same on Windows Mobile, the easiest way is to customise the ArcPad Today toolbar. More info on this can be found in the Help document.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MS Word Tip #2

Those annoying hyperlinks in Microsoft Word have struck again! This time, we were trying to find a simple way to change all visited links back to unvisited; i.e. from purple back to blue. Should be easy, I know, but it isn't.

Here is one way that I found:

  1. Click the "Word Button" (Office 2007)
  2. On the Word Options dialog, go to "Advanced"
  3. Scroll to the very bottom, and select "Web Options"
  4. Switch to the "Files" tab
  5. Uncheck "Update links on save"
Whilst this doesn't stop the hyperlinks from turning purple, if you close down the word document and re-open it, the link will be set back to blue. Again, nothing at all to do with Mobile GIS, but it may come in handy one day!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Updated ESRI Mobile Applications

Further to my initial Mobile Trends Post, when I discussed mobile support for other OS's there are 2 significant Mobile offerings to come out of the recent conference.

Apple iOS

At this point ESRI have confirmed that support for Apple products is going to be through Apple iOS, and iOS supported devices (iPhone, iPad, etc).

To this end ESRI have already released there second iOS application. This is for Business Analyst and is the BAO for iOS App.
I'm sure we can expect to see more and more of these Apps springing up over time. These Apps are focused applications driven behind the scenes by Data sourced from ArcGIS Online, and utilising the Services offered by ArcGIS Server.

ArcGIS Mobile

There have been 2 significant changes to ArcGIS Mobile:

  1. A template application is now provided for both Windows 32 and Windows Mobile platforms.
  2. A single license of ArcGIS Mobile (Template Application and SDK) is bundled with each ArcGIS Desktop Product (ArcView, ArcEditor, ArcInfo). Additional bundles of 5 licenses can be purchased.

The core of our business is Field Data Capture and Mobile, and hence we would be more than happy to sit down and review your requirements and discuss these and a range of other options with you.

It's All Over - ESRI UC 2010

Well the conference has come to an end for another year, and it certainly has left me with a bit of information overload.

From my point of view there were 3 distinct Data related themes that come out of the event:
  1. The improvements to the flow of the data to, and consolidation of the data from, the ArcGIS Desktop, Server and Mobile products.
  2. The enhancements to the sharing and hosting of the Data online.
  3. The new capabilities and refinements to the tools for the analysis, reporting and mapping of the Data.

All up there have been significant changes to all product offerings and I guess that's part of the reason the version has jumped to V10, instead of V9.4 as originally planned.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ESRI UC 2010 Plenary Session Video

The ESRI UC 2010 Plenary Session can be viewed online on Video. The videos can be accessed from the ESRI US site here.

For those interested to see what ESRI has been up to, they are well worth a look.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It’s Here – ESRI UC 2010!

The ESRI International UC 2010 is underway!!

It's very clear from the Plenary Session that GIS is moving into the cloud computing arena, with both ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Explorer Online being offered. Cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) will however both be covered under one of my Technology posts.

It this point I just wanted to highlight some of the ESRI and ArcGIS information that users have access to. It's funny but it's been a long time since my last trip to the US, and there are a few things that I had forgotten - The choice you have is amazing, the portion sizes are very generous and in general this leads to a good value for money deal.

To a certain degree the same can be said for access to some of the information and resources for ESRI. Some of the useful free sites are:

  1. Recent ESRI Conference Presentations and Proceedings
  2. ESRI GIS Bibliography
  3. ESRI Resources Centres, and ArcGIS Resource Centres

And remember if you can't find what you are looking for at any of the ESRI sites, a Google search can quite often lead to some great alternate information.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New ESRI Service Packs Released

For those of you who are not ready to make the switch to ArcGIS and ArcPad 10, Service Packs for both ArcGIS 9.3.1 (SP2) and ArcPad 8.0 (SP4) are now available for download from the following links:
News sparked wild celebrations in the streets of Spain early this morning.

Friday, July 9, 2010

GPS Enabled Cameras

In the last 12 months there have been a flurry of GPS enabled cameras released on the market. The Samsung ST1000 led the way, offering 12.2 megapixels of photo quality with 5x optical zoom, inbuilt GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi.

Geotagged photos from the ST1000 are easily viewed with programs such as Picasa, Pictomia, Facebook, etc. RIA Mobile GIS include a complimentary copy of the RIA Location Extractor tool with camera purchases; this tool extracts photo locations out of the EXIF image header information into a CSV file, which can be added to a desktop GIS as an event theme.

Users looking for a rugged solution have the option of the proven RICOH 500SEW cameras. Additionally there are a number of PDA options with integrated cameras, including the GETAC PS236 (3MP), Trimble Nomad 800GLC (2MP) and Pidion BM170 (3MP).

Contact RIA for more information on any of these units.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ArcPad Drawing Speed

One of the major enhancements in ArcPad 10 is "Improved Performance", in particular, drawing speeds. I thought I would do some quick comparisons between versions 7.1, 8.0 and 10.0 to see just how significant these improvements were.

I set up a simple applet which zooms around the map in ArcPad to various pre-defined extents, logging the drawing times of each layer in the map. My map had 5 (AXF) layers in total:

The pre-defined extents were selected at random locations, each at different scales. After zooming in to a small area, I forced ArcPad to zoom back out to the full extent to make sure that it was forced to re-draw as many features as possible. The tests were repeated 5 times for each version of ArcPad.

The tests were performed on a virtual machine, running Windows XP (3GHz processor, 768Mb RAM).

The results from the tests are shown below. ArcPad 7.1.1 times are shown in blue, 8.0.3 in red, and 10 in green. Times are shown in milliseconds, and represent the total time taken to draw all 5 layers (averaged over the five tests).

So, the good news is there is a definite decrease in drawing times in version 10, particularly when zoomed out to full extent. Interestingly the drawing times for Area 1 were quite high, and in most cases, higher than the full extent. Upon inspection, it turns out the around 90% of the features lied within Area 1. The table below shows the feature counts in each layer, at the different zoom extents:

If you would like a larger graph or more detailed figures, or just want to find out more about the testing that I did, leave us a comment.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mobile GIS Trend 1 - Other OS's

Although historically evolving from a number of operating platforms, with the inception of ArcGIS, ESRI has predominantly focused on supporting the Microsoft Windows environment for their Desktop and Mobile products.

With regards to the Mobile GIS arena Windows is the dominate OS for Laptops, UMPC's and Netbook's, and Windows Mobile/CE is the dominant OS for PDA's and Rugged Handheld devices.

ESRI has this side of the market covered with it's existing ArcPad and ArcGIS Mobile offerings.

The mobile area in which Windows is lacking behind the competition is the Smartphone market. In this sector Windows has actually lost market share, whilst in comparison both Apple iOS (iPhone & iPad) and Android OS have substantially increased their market share.

ESRI is now aiming at solutions to cover both these platforms with mobile product offerings:

ArcGIS for iOS

  • The ArcGIS for iOS Application is a free application that can be downloaded from iTunes. It allows you to share maps from ArcGIS Online, and use tools to search, measure, identify and query data. (At a later stage it will also include a range of other functions).
  • The ArcGIS API for iOS enables iOS developers to build custom applications that leverage of the capabilities of ArcGIS Server.

ArcGIS for Android

Over the coming months it is going to be interesting to watch the uptake of the new Windows Phone 7 OS to see if this again alters the Smartphone market. There are some interesting times ahead.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mobile GIS & Spatial Trends

Technology appears to be evolving at an ever increasing rate, and this is enabling a number of interesting developments.
I'll endeavour to write a series of posts highlighting some of these trends and developments, as they relate to the Mobile Technology, ESRI Software and Spatial arenas.
(The frequency of these posts will depend somewhat on when time permits!)

In the interim, an insight into where ESRI is heading, is the annual ESRI UC Preconference Q&A. Take a look, some of your questions may be answered.

ArcGIS 10 Released

In all the excitement of the past few days we almost forgot to mention that obviously along with the release of ArcPad 10, ArcGIS 10 has also been released!