In this blogseries, we give the floor to our employees, to share their views on specific topics. In this post, Joël expresses his personal opinion and experience about the development of Esri after visiting the GISTech 2018 in Rotterdam. Enjoy!

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.

The Applauncher

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.


In addition, Workflow 5 was introduced within GeoWeb and ArcGIS Enterprise. It was presented as technology to create workflows in which the end user is guided through a number of technical steps, for example, during data collection or data analysis. Because the workflows in Workflow 5 are JavaScript-based, they can also be used in a WebGIS and added to a Webapp as a widget when using the Webappbuilder of Esri. This gives a lot of added value to ArcGIS Enterprise.

I see a lot of potential in the rise of API management systems. These systems act as a store in which various underlying systems can publish their APIs, document them and set up the authorization. This offers developers the possibility to build the front-end applications where the underlying APIs can be used by multiple applications. This development makes the life of a developers a lot easier, but it still requires a lot of programming skills in order to use these APIs properly. When you create and publish WorkFlow 5 implementations on top of these APIs in ArcGIS Enterprise or ArcgGIS Online, not only developers but also the users of the WebGIS can easily access the APIs from the store and apply them through widgets in the Webappbuilder
Joël Hempenius

Esri Engineer at Alliander, Merkator BV

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.

Joël Hempenius

Esri Engineer at Alliander, Merkator BV

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!

Joël Hempenius

Joël Hempenius

Esri Engineer at Alliander

Joël is Senior Geo-ICT Consultant at Merkator and currently works full-time as an Esri GIS Engineer at Alliander. With his 10 years of experience in the GIS sector he covers technical in depth knowledge of various GIS platforms. Joël is specially interested in WebGIS and designed as a technical engineer a secure GIS platform based on Esri technology for office and field workers of Alliander. He also supports University of Groningen to take the best out of the Esri platform and use it for innovative solutions. Joël has a Master in Geographical Information Management and Applications (Utrecht University – The Netherlands, 2010)