Apps for the field - AppStudio for ArcGIS

A few days ago we participated and disseminated a webinar focused on the tools offered by ArcGIS, for the construction of applications. Ana Vidal and Franco Viola participated in the webinar, who originally initially emphasized AppStudio for ArcGIS, explaining a bit how the ArcGIS interface is connected to all its components, both desktop applications and the use of the web.

basics

The agenda of the webinar was defined by four basic points: as the choice of templates, configuration of the style, and the loading of the web applications on the platforms or bedspread where users can download applications and use them in personal or work areas. The utility of the applications created depends on what they were created for, so ArcGIS classifies its applications into:

  • Office - desktop: (associated with all programs that are related to ArcGIS in the desktop environment, such as Microsoft Office)
  • Field: are the applications that provide facilities for data collection in the field, such as Collector for ArcGIS or Navigator
  • Community: are the applications with which users can communicate and express whatever their opinion regarding the environment, collaborating in the collection of information for the GIS, what is currently called
  • Creators: it is designed to create web applications or for any type of mobile device (responsive), through configurable templates, the Web Appbuilder for ArcGIS, or the protagonist of the webinar AppStudio for ArcGIS.

AppStudio for Arcgis, is an application that creates "Native multi-platform applications", that is, they can be used from PC, tablets or smartphones. It is defined by two formats for its use, a basic one, which is accessed from the web. And the most advanced application that is downloaded to be used from the PC. With AppStudio, you have the possibility to create applications from scratch, or take templates previously in the application or created by other users previously. Vidal showed multiple applications that were created from AppStudio, with different purposes, from tourism, gastronomy, ecology, and crowdsourcing.

Technological integration

It is interesting the aspect of challenges and considerations to take when deciding to create an application and what are the notorious differences between the development with programming codes and create them from the AppStudio.

"The challenge of AppStudio was to have an easy-to-use platform, economically accessible to the public, that facilitates the development of native applications and that can be distributed to all platforms"

If there is an initiative to start creating an application with specific programming codes, it must be taken into account that: it is costly in every sense (it is necessary to have ample economic, human and time capital), as well as specifying how the application, define security parameters; such as making the application public or private for certain users. It is also important to consider maintenance and updates, which is usually the most complex because it involves a large amount of time.

It is understood that AppStudio, simplifies costs, both time and financial, is also incredibly easy to use (especially for those people who are not related to the world of programming and who have never been in contact with any content of this type); you do not need to be an experienced developer. AppStudio, is based on ArcGIS Runtime, consisting of multiple libraries that allow the analysis and visualization of maps, and also includes a mobile application, with which you can simulate how your final visualization will be before sending it to the respective app stores. It works for multiple platforms, which is another plus, since it can be said that there are no restrictions on use by operating system.

For a native application to be supported on the 5 systems (iOS, Android, Windows, Linux and Mac), 5 times the programming code (5X) must be generated, here is one of the difficulties for common users, but you have been Solved by ApStudio (1X - a multiple-use code code). This through Qt - Framework technologies.

In addition to the repeated comments on the simplicity of use of the AppStudio, the most valuable thing was to see several applications created with this platform, such as: TerraThruth, Turt or Ecological Marine Unit Explorer, which is an example of time-saving reduction since it was developed in only 3 weeks.

With a practical example, the webinar saw initial steps to create asimple application and send it to the respective app stores, emphasizing that you should not have enough experience in GIS programming, when we see the interface of the AppStudio platform for desktop.

The functionalities are comfortable, easy to locate; in each update more are added, the templates are hosted on the platform and depend on what the theme is to be displayed. For the example, we used the information of a company called Gallery, which required creating an application to show the location of events related to art between Palermo - Recoleta and the Arts Circuit.

The Map Tour template was chosen for this company because it is designed to expose descriptions of some subject; one of its peculiarities is that it can be connected to any Story Map that has been previously created. The initial characteristics are placed: title, subtitle, description, tags, and the first view is obtained.

Continue the configuration of the application after choosing the template, with the properties of this, you choose a background image, font and presentation size. A Map tour associated with the template is created, which will be tied to the application by means of an ID.

Afterwards, the icon that you will have in the app store is chosen, as well as the image that will be seen during the loading of the application. The addition of samples or samples, it is also possible, and you can add as many as necessary, include, for example: connection to the camera of the device, real-time location, barcode reader or authentication by means of fingerprint readings.

It specifies, what are the reading platforms, if it is PC, Tablet or Smartphone, if you want the three platforms you can choose, and finally upload to ArcGIS online and to the different web application stores.

Contributions to geoengineering

AppStudio for ArcGIS, represents a great technological innovation, not only to simplify the work on programming, but for the ease of use, the speed with which you can create an application for a specific purpose and make it visible in all application stores . Also, one of the most interesting points is that it allows you to test - to prove how the user experience will be.

It could be said that the applications that are created with functionalities focused on spatial development, have great contributions to geoengineering, simply because these applications may allow a better communication between analyst and user with respect to the environment. Each of the applications has the ability to send data to a GIS cloud and then make decisions, which leads us to say that they will become key points for the development of more connected environments, where resources and technological tools are integrated with the user experience

AppStudio is one of the chapters of the Advanced ArcGIS Pro Course

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