GIS on mobile devices has changed how we interact with geography. With a smartphone you can access maps and data for anywhere on any theme, and because the phone can record where you are, you’re now in position to leverage your full GIS capabilities in the field.
GIS Goes Where You Go
With mobile GIS, your GIS maps and apps go with you wherever you go. That’s a big idea. The integration of the smartphone and GIS carries many implications in addition to the ones described here.
You can use your phone to capture geotagged photos and videos, and then use them to tell and share your stories. You can collect data in the field and update your enterprise information. Your phone can also be used to access enterprise information for your current location so that you have deeper knowledge and awareness.
You can track and coordinate with members of your team in the field. You and the team can be guided to the right locations, and away from dangerous or otherwise undesired ones. You can receive triggers and signals when you enter certain zones or are approaching others.
Your phone can access deeper geographic knowledge about any location.
Cities can notify their citizens about road and bridge closures. In turn, citizens can report on problems and issues and provide geotagged comments and feedback about proposals and plans.
You can be guided to exactly where you need to go—and not just along public roads but also private roads—to precisely where equipment is located, for example, and even inside of buildings and across campuses.
The Mobile GIS Data Flow
With a smartphone, everyone is a potential data sensor. In addition to its workforce applications, this opens a whole area called “VGI” (volunteered geographic information). Think of this as geolocated social media like tweets and blog posts. Even something as simple as a tweet can have location associated with it, and with geolocation, this content becomes part of a larger crowdsourcing effort.