Esri offers geographic information systems (GIS) worldwide. Based in Redlands, CA, the company provides a geographic understanding to customers and potential clients through a number of mediums. It celebrates a history in offering geo-based information to all types of organizations.
In 1969, the company was founded as a small research group focused on land use planning. Early on, Esri’s mission was to organize and analyze geographic information to help land planners and land resource managers make well-informed environmental decisions. Esri entered the software business in 1982 with its Arc/Info product. It continues to launch new GIS-focused solutions today.
The company’s flagship product is ArcGIS, which is available as an online, desktop, or server-based solution. GIS professionals, location analytics, and developers are some of the main users of the software. These organizations utilize ArcGIS for planning and analysis, asset/data management, operational awareness, and field workforce.
“Our users are a representation of everyone in the company, from field workers to knowledge workers, to executives. Each day, these people leverage the ArcGIS platform to help them monitor real-time information, collect asset data in the field, analyze complex relationships, and influence executive decision making,” explains Jeff Shaner, senior product manager, Esri.
ArcGIS Online compiles and manages geographic data, maps, spatial analysis, and project information. This content can then be used in numerous ways different mediums. The mapping platform is equipped with Web and device applications (apps) that allow for collaboration across members of an organization that are located out in the field or in an office.
Esri recently released new versions of Collector for ArcGIS and Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS apps, in part to customer response. “Both are great examples of a new initiative from Esri to provide targeted, focused foundation apps that are driven solely by customer need and feedback,” says Shaner.
Collector for ArcGIS is a configurable field data collection app for Apple iOS and Android devices. It allows users to replace paper map forms with visually rich graphics on a smartphone or tablet. The latest release allows maps to be brought up onto a device regardless of network availability. Map areas can be taken offline and used in remote locations where network availability is nonexistent or unreliable.
Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS provides the ability to monitor, track, and report events within a company. The newest version now supports Web browsers, allowing for the same real-time view of operations on a tablet as the one on your desktop. In addition, data sources are improved. Operation views are now powered using dynamic map services as well as feature services and other types of layers including real-time weather, traffic, and social media feeds.
Updates for both apps were planned with familiarity in mind. For example, Shaner points out that Collector for ArcGIS runs on both smartphone and tablet devices, citing an expectation of user friendliness that the company looks to embrace with every update to its software products.
“We think the best way to evolve our apps is to keep the user experience simple and consistent and target updates based on customer need,” he continues.
Both apps are available at no cost to ArcGIS Online subscribers. Collector for ArcGIS can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Operations Dashboard is available through ArcGIS Online. To see all of the available apps included in your ArcGIS Online subscription, users are encouraged to visit the ArcGIS Marketplace.
Free 30-day trials are available for those interested in ArcGIS Online. Annual subscription plans are based on the number of named users and service credits. Pricing varies from $2,500 per year for five users to $17,500 a year for 100 users.
Collector for ArcGIS and Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS are also available to Portal for ArcGIS customers. Portal for ArcGIS is an extension for ArcGIS Server Advanced, a scalable server platform for the enterprise or workgroups. The extension provides a map-centric collaborative content management system that organizations can deploy on premise or in the cloud. Pricing for ArcGIS for Server Advanced is based on the number of users, with both perpetual and term licenses available. SW
May2014, Software Magazine