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ArcGIS for Windows Mobile

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Common Questions

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General | Getting Started

What is Esri's overall mobile strategy?

ArcGIS for Mobile is the complete mobile GIS platform focused on management, deployment, and use of geographic information in the field. It includes industry-leading mobile mapping and GIS capabilities:

  • Map visualization for mobile devices
  • GIS editing using device inputs or GPS
  • Street routing and navigation
  • Query and spatial analysis

ArcGIS includes a comprehensive suite of mobile GIS products that are designed for different application and platform requirements. These products share five key benefits for mobile GIS users:

  • Increase accuracy of geographic information.
  • Improve currency of business data.
  • Boost productivity of mobile field-workers.
  • Ensure accurate decisions with advanced spatial analysis.
  • Fit seamlessly into enterprise environment.

Esri's mobile GIS strategy is to develop and maintain a complete mobile GIS platform that provides a range of products and services for users and end customers as well as partner developers. Our goal is to ensure there are a range of options for deploying mobile GIS solutions with ArcGIS which include:

  • ArcGIS for Windows Mobile
  • ArcGIS for Windows Phone
  • ArcPad
  • ArcGIS for Desktop
  • ArcGIS for iOS
Can ArcGIS for Windows Mobile integrate with ArcGIS for Desktop? How is it licensed?

ArcGIS for Windows Mobile lets users deploy projects that consist of tiled maps and vector datasets for use in the field on Microsoft's Windows Mobile and Windows Desktop devices. Users are able to pan, zoom, identify and query datasets within these projects, as well as make edits of features and their attributes.

With the release of ArcGIS for Windows Mobile 10, several enhancements have been made to better support synchronization of data between the office and the field. Editing for both file-based geodatabases and enterprise geodatabases is now supported. Edits made to the datasets in the field can be synchronized back to the server and then checked-in to the geodatabase. For large-scale deployments of ArcGIS for Windows Mobile, ArcGIS for Server Advanced Enterprise remains the best option; however, for a small-to-medium-scale deployment, users will be able to leverage the new mobile geoprocessing tools in ArcGIS for Desktop to extract caches from a Map Document (MXD) for use in the field on mobile devices and synchronize their changes when they return to the office.

At version 10, ArcGIS for Desktop users are entitled to one complimentary mobile deployment for use with each license (ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo). ArcGIS users can install ArcGIS for Windows Mobile on their workstation and deploy a mobile application or runtime to one mobile device. Additional mobile deployments for use with ArcGIS for Desktop can be purchased in 5-pack bundles.

Is ArcGIS for Windows Mobile intended for non-GIS professionals?

Yes and no. ArcGIS for Windows Mobile is not intended for consumer use; however, it is intended for the GIS community and other professionals (e.g., operational teams, field service crews, asset management, engineering, and mobile enterprise professionals) who need access to mobile data collection and inspection projects. ArcGIS for Windows Mobile is designed so professionals in organizations of any size can manage and administer mobile configurations and deployments, while actual mobile workers use these applications without needing GIS training.

Does the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application replace ArcPad?

No. Although ArcGIS for Windows Mobile and ArcPad target similar industries, they are positioned differently. When choosing between ArcPad and ArcGIS for Windows Mobile, it is important to consider your organization size and the required capabilities of your field staff.

Can you explain the difference between the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application and ArcPad?

Both products are positioned as Esri solutions for mobile GIS. They are designed to boost mobile productivity and are used to support field efforts.

ArcGIS for Windows Mobile is a task-driven GIS application for Windows Mobile and Windows tablet devices. It is designed for non-GIS professionals who typically perform data collection and field inspection projects. ArcGIS for Windows Mobile provides central management, configuration, and deployment of apps and projects. GIS information can be synchronized from both server and desktop clients. A .NET software development kit (SDK) is also available for building customized applications.

ArcPad is a map-centric, Windows-based mapping and field data collection application designed for GIS-trained professionals in small- to medium-sized workgroups who typically perform ad-hoc data collection. It includes advanced GIS/GPS editing functionality to facilitate post processing and also supports related tables. ArcPad projects can be customized using scripts and applets available in ArcPad Studio.

Where do I go for help and detailed documentation on ArcGIS for Windows Mobile?

The help systems for ArcGIS for Windows Mobile are split between four areas:

  1. Documentation and help for preparing mobile maps can be found in the ArcGIS for Desktop Help system.
  2. For managing ArcGIS for Windows Mobile projects and the mobile data access Web service, use the ArcGIS for Server Help system.
  3. Documentation and help for the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application can be accessed via the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile guide that is included with ArcGIS for Server.
  4. Documentation and help for the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Windows Mobile can be found in the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Windows Mobile Help that is installed from the ArcGIS for Server DVDs.

In addition, it is recommended that you visit the Mobile Resource Center for the latest online information. The Esri mobile team is continually updating the resource center with enhanced help, forums, code samples, and an online blog of tips and tricks.

GPS | Wireless Support

What GPS devices does ArcGIS for Windows Mobile work with?

The ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application and runtime SDK use the same API to communicate with GPS receivers. They work directly with GPS devices that support the National Marine and Electronics Association (NMEA) protocol, which is a one-way protocol that ArcGIS for Windows Mobile consumes, enabling it to locate itself for use in navigating maps or creating new GIS features.

Given that ArcGIS for Windows Mobile supports NMEA, you can be confident that it is designed to be used with a range of GPS devices (including internal GPS chipsets embedded in devices, external Bluetooth GPS, and external USB GPS). NMEA does not enable ArcGIS for Windows Mobile to control the settings of a GPS that supports it. To do this, a third-party tool must be used that uses a two-way protocol, such as Trimble or SiRF.

Does ArcGIS for Windows Mobile support differential GPS?

Yes, both the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application and the runtime SDK support real-time differential GPS (RT-DGPS). The GPS connection reads NMEA protocol, which contains positional information (including the geographic coordinate), and associated metadata details the type and quality of the position. The majority of GPS devices on the market today support RT-DGPS using Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) such as the North American Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) or the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).

SBASs are satellite systems for delivering RT-DGPS corrections to each GPS receiver using the same signal as the existing GPS system. GPS receivers using these systems can increase their accuracy dramatically. To understand the expected accuracy of a particular GPS receiver, it is important to read the specification provided by the manufacturer and also to run your own local tests to characterize performance in your environmental conditions.

Environmental conditions impact the expected accuracy in a specific location. This is a function of the GPS system's reliance on a weak radio signal that is influenced by a number of factors including the atmospheric conditions; regional topography; and local environment, such as buildings and trees, which intercept or refract the GPS signals. What this means is that it is common for an RT-DGPS solution in tough environmental conditions to drop its connection.

For example, the Trimble GeoXT handheld can achieve submeter accuracy in real time when using either WAAS or EGNOS. This accuracy is only available when the GPS receiver can view the WAAS or EGNOS satellites. These satellites are at low elevation in orbit and can often be blocked, preventing guaranteed submeter accuracy. In this situation, customers often expect to use the postprocessed differential GPS (PP-DGPS) solution. ArcGIS for Windows Mobile supports PP-DGPS through Trimble Position post-processing software products. Customers requiring a PP-DGPS solution should consider using GeoCollector for ArcGIS for Windows Mobile, a hardware solution provided through the Esri hardware solutions team and produced in conjunction with Trimble Mapping and GIS division.

What wireless networks does ArcGIS for Windows Mobile work with?

ArcGIS for Windows Mobile is designed to communicate with ArcGIS for Server through the mobile data access Web service. This is a SOAP Web service that mobile clients use to communicate over any Internet connection that supports HTTP access. For wireless access, you can expect ArcGIS for Windows Mobile to connect over a Wi-Fi (802.xx), satellite, or cellular network that provides HTTP access.

On the market you will see a range of cellular services promoted: GPRS, EDGE, HSPDA, UMTS, EVDO, and so forth. These are different types of cellular data services that run over the core global system for mobile communication (GSM) or Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks maintained by the leading cellular carriers. Each of these provides HTTP access on the mobile device with varying upload and download speeds. Typically, download speeds are faster than upload speeds, but they do vary greatly based on geography and cellular carrier implementation.

ArcGIS for Windows Mobile is ideal for posting GIS edits from the mobile device to the server using any cellular data service. Although you can use ArcGIS for Windows Mobile to download GIS data from the server over these networks, it is important to understand the exact requirements of your application. Downloading large amounts of GIS data (100 MB or more) is time consuming over a cellular data service and may result in high costs, if charged on a per-megabyte basis.

Does ArcGIS for Windows Mobile work over local area networks (LAN) or through an ActiveSync connection?

Yes. ArcGIS for Windows Mobile is designed to communicate with ArcGIS for Server through the mobile data access Web service. This is a SOAP Web service that mobile clients use to communicate with over any Internet connection that supports HTTP access. You can access GIS data over your LAN or ActiveSync connection. This is ideal for those who do not wish to use a wireless network, do not have mobile devices with cellular support, or are in regions where cellular services are not available.

GIS data can easily be downloaded to a mobile device in the office through the connection to the internal network using either a dock with a LAN port or through a USB cable connected to your desktop PC running ActiveSync. Once out in the field, you can use ArcGIS for Windows Mobile without an Internet connection to view maps and perform GIS edits. Once you return to the office, you can use the same wired connection to post edits back to ArcGIS for Server. This removes the complexity of having field-workers use the traditional check-in/out process with ArcGIS for Desktop. This provides major advantages to simplifying deployment and field workflow scenarios.

Operating Systems

What operating system does ArcGIS for Server support for deploying mobile applications?
There are two parts to consider for operating support. First, the ArcGIS for Server mobile data access Web service works on Windows and Linux servers. It can be installed for .NET on Windows and Java on Linux. Second, for the mobile application, ArcGIS for Server Manager is a critical element. ArcGIS for Server Manager supports only Windows servers as it requires .NET components to run.
What operating system does the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application support?

ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application deployments support

  • Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC and Smartphones
  • Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard, Classic, and Professional
  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard, Classic, and Professional

The .NET Compact Framework 2.0 Service Pack (SP) 2 is required on each of these device types to run ArcGIS for Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 devices include the framework in the ROM, while Windows Mobile 5.0 devices do not. A redistributable download is available.

What operating systems does ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Windows Mobile runtime support?

ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Windows Mobile runtime deployments support

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows Mobile software for Pocket PC 2003
  • Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC and Smartphone
  • Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard, Classic, and Professional
  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard, Classic, and Professional

ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Windows Mobile is designed for use with the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE). The SDK supports 2005 Service Pack 1 and 2008 Service Pack 1.

What .NET Framework does ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Windows Mobile support?

The .NET Framework 2.0 is required for Windows Vista and XP. When developing with Windows Vista, although it includes .NET Framework 3.0, .NET Framework 2.0 must be selected as a minimum requirement in your Visual Studio project.

When developing for Windows XP, service pack 2 is required as it includes .NET Framework 2.0.

The .NET Compact Framework 2.0 SP2 is required for Windows Mobile 5.0, 6.0, and 6.1 devices. The .NET Compact Framework 2.0 SP2 is included in the ROM on Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 devices; however, it is not in Windows Mobile 5.0 devices.

A redistributable is available.

Note: The .NET Framework 3.0 and 3.5 are not supported with the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Windows Mobile at this time.

Data Management | Database Integration

What do I do if the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application does not meet my customer's needs?

A major benefit of ArcGIS for Windows Mobile is that there are two different products, the application and the runtime SDK. In a situation where a customer has a specific workflow or line-of-business application in mind that the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application doesn't meet the requirements for, the customer has the option to either build a custom application using the flexible runtime SDK or to integrate the runtime into an existing line-of-business application.

My customer wants to push applications and data to the devices. Is this possible? What could I recommend?

Yes. It is possible to push ArcGIS for Windows Mobile applications, data, and projects to mobile devices. Although we provide a default deployment system through the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile deployment Web page that is part of ArcGIS for Server Manager, we also ensure that any customer can access the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application, runtime SDK, data, and project files directly from a directory on the server. From this location, customers can use the deployment system of choice to manage and push these items to their device.

Esri has bundled the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application and the runtime SDK in a cabinet file (CAB) so that the executable (EXE) and dynamic-link libraries (DLL) are installed in the correct folders on the device. The ArcGIS for Windows Mobile project file that is used with the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application contains a configuration setting for the location of any mobile service cache and mobile basemap data. Depending on the deployment system used, it is critical that these data packages are pushed into the correct folders that were specified in the mobile project.

There are over 30 different deployment systems available today. Two worthy of consideration are SOTI MobiControl and Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager:

SOTI MobiControl
Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager

Application Development

What is the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Windows Mobile?

ArcGIS for Windows Mobile consists of two products—the application and the runtime SDK. The customer develops with the runtime SDK inside Visual Studio and then packages the runtime SDK with each custom application deployment. The runtime SDK is a set of dynamic linked libraries that need to exist on the Windows device to ensure the custom application will operate correctly. The customer is licensed based on the deployment of each runtime.

For example, to deploy 100 custom applications to 100 devices, the customer would require 100 deployment licenses for the runtime SDK.


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