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Spring 2008
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Streamlined Data Collection
Many options for development and deployment

Mobile GIS proves "you can take it with you." The ability to take GIS data into the field was the impetus for developing this platform and remains its most powerful aspect.

While applications have been developed for mapping and performing spatial queries in the field, data collection and validation has always been the most popular aspect of mobile GIS. Field-workers, in increasing numbers, are employing ArcPad or applications developed with the ArcGIS Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK) in place of paper-based data collection.

With paper-based systems, records must be written and turned in to an office—then interpreted and inputted—before the database is updated. The data contained in these forms can be lost if forms are damaged, misplaced, or misread.

With mobile GIS-based systems, a field- worker enters location and attribute data during the inspection. Support for GPS, range finders, and digital cameras—along with the use of custom forms with pick fields—streamlines the data collection process and connects attribute data with other types of information. Often the database is updated from the field using a wireless connection. Alternatively, disconnected editing allows database updating at the end of the day.

The options for implementing mobile GIS offer lots of flexibility. ArcPad is simple to use and install. In ArcPad 7.1, new users can quickly create a data capture project using the QuickProject tool. Free templates designed for specific applications, such as disease surveillance or capturing a fire perimeter, can be downloaded from wwww.esri.com/arcpadtemplates and used with little or no modification.

ArcPad Application Builder is a development framework for creating custom mobile applications, extensions, applets, and tools in addition to modifying the ArcPad user interface.

With ArcGIS Mobile GIS, developers can create applications for mobile clients using an SDK that is installed as part of ArcGIS Server. Applications developed with ArcGIS Mobile are centrally managed and can be tailored to exactly fit the needs of field-workers. These applications can be deployed to devices running Windows Mobile or on smartphones, Pocket PCs, or Tablet PCs.

For more information about mobile GIS, see www.esri.com/mobilegis.

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