Expansion on WebGIS
Esri is focusing on WebGIS, which means that all maps and data are available through the REST API from an Arcgis Enterprise or by Arcgis Online and can be shared with users inside and outside the organization.
New in ArcGIS Online is that the Applauncher can be supplemented with custom Apps of your own. I have been able to try this out in Arcgis Online. If you’ve already registered a web app, it is a few mouse clicks to make your own app accessible to users in the App Launcher. However, I think it’s a strange choice to use an icon for the App Launcher while the map, content and groups are full items. I expect the apps would be easier to find if there is also a seperate webpage where there is a good overview of the Apps including descriptions. Hopefully this will follow in the future.
New long-awaited apps
On top of the REST API of ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise, mobile apps such as Collector, Explorer can be used. A new version of the Collector app will soon be available. This version uses the new runtime API. This makes it possible to use functionality such as labeling on Feature Services, Arcade Expressions and Vector Tiles.
In addition to the Collector app there will also be a GPS tracker app. This app promises low energy consumption while tracking the position of the user in background modus. This is a great addition to the existing solutions. The Collector app can also track the GPS position if the user has an active screen. Existing GPS tracker apps can run perfectly in background modus but do not integrate very well on Esri’s WebGIS APIs.
I could implement this new GPS tracker App immediatly at one of my clients. There is an accurate monitoring of the location of the field worker allready but i need an app from a third party and additional scripts for processing this to the database. Hopefully with this new app that won’t be necessary anymore and it all integrates smoothly.
Performance improvements in Arcgis Online
High performance online maps provided good leads for optimizing feature services in Arcgis Online. When your data is relatively static and no queries in the webmap apply to the data, a feature tile cache is created in the background between the service and the database. This allows the data to be served even more quickly to the clients.
The enthusiasm with which ESRI presented the resampling of raster tiles is a little to optimistic according to my experience. For Example clients such as Geocortex Essentials can not cope with this technology when printing maps yet. This is because a resampled map service offers zoom levels that are in fact not rendered in practice. As a result, clients who have not implemented the resampling still try to retrieve the missing tiles. This results for example that with the print service of Geocortex Essentials, the background map is missing when you make a print at a high resolution. Hopefully this resampling technique will soon be better supported. With resampling and the feature tile cache technology, the web maps can render quickly and serve high numbers of users at the same time. And as an organization you can handle high numbers of users with a user-friendly and stable back-end.
I’m looking forward to the Esri User Conference in July (San Diego, USA) to witness the further developments of the ArcGIS platform!
Esri Engineer at Alliander