What's new in ArcGIS Mobile 10
At the ArcGIS 10 release, ArcGIS Mobile development focuses on the following key themes:
- Improving the usability of the handheld application
- Expanding application platform support to include touch screen Microsoft Windows devices
- Opening the field applications for developers
- Simplified project management using a new application called the Mobile Project Center
Application usability improvements
At the 9.3 release, ArcGIS Mobile introduced a new, ready-to-deploy application for Windows Mobile. The ArcGIS Mobile application is a task-driven application that can be configured to complete a variety of field projects. In the ArcGIS 10 release, the user experience has been significantly enhanced for touch screen access with larger, more readable text and menu options, lists that scroll using gestures, and improved workflows that are more intuitive and flexible.
In addition, the ArcGIS 10 version of the application includes several new capabilities. The View Map task has been enhanced with new functionality for measuring lines, areas, and features. Support for new types of connected and disconnected basemaps has also been added.
The Collect Features task workflow has been enhanced and streamlined. GPS data collection has a simplified user experience that provides a simple push button start and stop for averaging GPS positions while providing the flexibility for you to view the map or GPS status while in the process of collecting positions.
There is a new GPS Streaming method for constructing polylines and polygons that can filter positions by distance or time interval and place the shape at a lateral offset from the actual captured location. When collecting attributes, each field is presented in a full-page view that makes capture much easier. You can repeat or copy attribute values from one feature to another to simplify the process, and when specifying attributes, you are notified of required values that need to be set.
Using the Search task, you can now save your search criteria, and it will be stored with your project so that the next time you open the project, you can simply execute your saved search.
The Synchronize task now has options for automatically posting edits to the server. You can post changes whenever features are collected or updated, at a set time interval or when the device is cradled.
A new task called View Field Crew enables field collaboration between field-workers. Using the Field Crew task, you can see where other field-workers are on the map and contact them by e-mail or SMS or by calling them directly. Combined with the field crew logging extension that maintains a log of where each field crew member traveled each day, you can locate, track, and collaborate with other field-workers.
ArcGIS Mobile for Windows application
The ArcGIS Mobile application is now supported on Windows devices as well as Windows Mobile devices. The Windows version has been optimized for ruggedized touch screen devices that are often mounted in a vehicle. The Windows application contains all the feature functionality of the Windows Mobile application but is designed specifically for the Windows form factor and in-vehicle use. Features unique to the Windows application include an integrated touch screen keyboard, day- and nighttime skins, and the ability to adjust the brightness of the application itself. In addition, you can dim basemap layers so that operational map layer content stands out from basemap content, providing visual contrast between layers.
Extending the ArcGIS Mobile applications using .NET
The ArcGIS Mobile applications for Windows and Windows Mobile can be configured without any programming. You can add or remove tasks from the application, change the behavior and capabilities of existing tasks, and choose what map layer content is provided in the applications.
However, it may often be necessary to extend the core application functionality to fit your own business workflows, tasks, and data. Using the applications as a framework, you can reduce the amount of custom development you need to provide, focus on adding business-specific value, and leverage existing core GIS application functionality at the same time.
Using the applications as a framework, you can create new tasks that are specific to your business workflows for field data management, alter existing ESRI tasks to provide additional capabilities, or extend the application as a whole.
Simplified project management using the Mobile Project Center
The Mobile Project Center is a new application for the ArcGIS 10 release that focuses on creating and managing field projects. Field projects define the map, tasks, and capabilities used to complete a variety of field workflows.
At the 9.3 release, this ability to create and manage projects was embedded within the ArcGIS Server manager application that was also used to administer the GIS server and create Web applications.
Using the Mobile Project Center, you can create field projects that are stored locally on your desktop, inside your on-premise ArcGIS Server (.NET or Java edition), or on arcgis.com. Depending on your field workforce deployment strategy, you can use simple file transfer, your on-premise Web server, or ESRI's cloud server (known as arcgis.com). Each installation of ArcGIS Server on a corporate Web server includes a content Web service and virtual directory that can store projects. The Mobile Project Center can save projects to this Web service, and the ArcGIS Mobile field applications can query the content Web service for projects and pull them to a device.
The Mobile Project Center lets you define the contents of your field map. The field map consists of a set of map layers that are either operational map layers or basemap layers. At the ArcGIS 10 release, your field project can now contain multiple operational layers or mobile services provided that their spatial references match. This lets you isolate the list of transactional map layers by service. For example, you may want to organize editable layers (such as observations or inspections) into one service and read-only transactional layers (facility networks such as water valves and pipes) into a second service that can be queried but not edited.
In addition to operational layer sources, you have a number of choices when specifying basemap layers as well. A basemap can be composed of one of four different types of map: Street Map, cached map service, ArcGIS.com basemaps, or ArcGIS Server Tiled Service map layers.
Street Map is a new data product for ArcGIS Mobile that includes street centerlines and points of interest data. You can extract a portion of the dataset, copy to your mobile device, and use when disconnected in the field.
Cached map service layers can be used in a similar fashion. You can create a cached map service, disconnect the map cache, and copy to your mobile device for direct file read. Cached map services can include both orthoimagery and cartographic basemaps.
In addition to local basemaps, you can leverage connected basemaps at ArcGIS 10. These include both ArcGIS.com basemap services and your own published tile map services.
Tasks and extensions that you create using the application framework are exposed to field projects using the Mobile Project Center. By placing your custom task or extension in a well-known folder location, additional capabilities and tasks will appear when creating mobile projects.
For more information regarding ArcGIS Mobile, please refer to the Mobile GIS chapter inside the Professional Library of the Desktop Help.