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Home arrow News arrow 2005 International ESRI User Conference arrow Conference Report: ESRI's Mobile GIS & Field Mapping Solution - ArcPad 7     

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Conference Report: ESRI's Mobile GIS & Field Mapping Solution - ArcPad 7 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Letham   
27 July 2005
ESRI’s ArcPad team has just released Beta 1 for ArcPad 7. This means that after almost 2 years ESRI’s mobile platform is prepared for a new release. Word has it that we can expect a final release in the fall of 2005.

A reminder, for those of you not familiar with ArcPad, this is ESRI’s mobile GIS and field mapping solution for mobile systems and handheld devices. ArcPad team leader Shane Clarke wants us to be clear that ArcPad is an extension (or part of) ESRI’s enterprise mapping solution.

In a session titled “ArcPad 7” we got a preview of what to expect at 7.0.

Clarke offered up some suggestions for those planning a mobile solution. You should ask yourself these questions:
Who is the end user?
What field environment will you be working in?
Under what conditions?
Vehicle-based or not?
Is customization needed?
What data will be required?
What’s your budget?

Responding to this assessment will help determine your specific requirements for hardware, software, and support and will influence your development timeline as well as required resources. A number of other more detailed considerations will then need to be considered once you are closer to implementation. Device specific considerations will include:
Need for GPS?
Screen size?
Is a keyboard needed?
Wireless connectivity needed?

Additionally, by examining your application needs and requirements regarding device weight, size, speed, battery power, and operating system you will be able to select hardware that is most suitable for your specific project needs. Clark cautions that identifying a single device as your sole solution could set you up for trouble as specific projects generally have differing needs and thus, are most suited to another device. Example, an HP iPaq may be suitable for some field data collection, however, a tablet Pc may be more appropriate for a study conducted in a vehicle.

At version 7, ArcPad has a number of new features. The following list describes just a few of them.

Supported data types – vector
- SHP files
- ESRI graphic layers

Raster support
- JPEG2000
- MrSID (MG2)
- and more

OS requirements (desktop)
- Windows XP, Tablet PC Edition, Win 2000

Mobile OS
– Windows Mobile and CE
– Windows Mobile 5 support will come but not sure when

Tools & Functionality
- ArcPad toolbar within ArcGIS
- Tools – identify, find, measure, hyperlink, pan, zoom, map rotation, customization
- Support for ArcGIS symbology and line styles
- Complex line styles
- Transparency
- Style sheets
- Label expressions (multi-line placement)
- Data capture via pen, stylus, GPS, COGO
- Edit tools – snap, undo, insert, append, move, rotate, scale, resize, offset, repeat attribute, add field sketch and notes (redline)

GPS Support
- EarthMate
- Support for range finders including Laser Atlanta, LaserCraft, Laser Technology, MDL, Leica, and more

Digital camera support – this area was somewhat disappointing as only 2 camera series’ will be supported – HP iPaq rx37xx, and h63xx series. Note that PC cameras and webcams are supported via standard windows camera API. A hint from me… as I’m somewhat familiar with the Nokia smart phone OS perhaps they might consider looking at the Symbian OS camera API as it’s open and available… this would enable extending support to the largest brand of camera phones out in the market today!

Overall, ArcPad 7 will be a welcomed addition to the ESRI family of solutions. Clark suggests that all users should customize their applications and user input forms, particularly since customization is very simple to accomplish… users can create custom forms directly within ArcPad while in the field if necessary or developers can create them in the office with supporting tools and programming aids. Application development and customization is very simple and the UI makes it very easy for new users to quickly get up and running in no time. On the down side, lack of camera support, length of time between releases and updates, and no support for MsSID MG3 could make it a tough sell to some users.

For more about ArcPad see http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcpad/index.html

Last Updated ( 15 August 2005 )
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