Over the past decade, significant improvements in the mobile user experience have created an environment where the estimated number of smartphone users in the United States is expected to grow to 298M in 2021. Whether it be for entertainment, convenience of paying bills, or employment related responsibilities, nearly 9 in 10 Americans and 96% of the 18-29 age group own a smartphone. The past 20 years have also seen advances in technology utilized by the mobile device.
In response, companies spanning across a wide range of industries began embracing GIS (Geographic Information System) technology in order to realize the benefits of more informed decisions through location-based analytics and visualization of their assets on maps. Powerful mapping platforms, such as Esri’s ArcGIS technology, provide the ability to create maps, analyze, manage, and share geographic information across an enterprise. While the adoption of web and desktop GIS technology is an unquestioned success, it is the focus on the user experience that has primed the leap forward for mobile GIS unleashing new capabilities and efficiencies for organizations across the globe.
At Sendero, our team leverages collaborative partnerships to strengthen our delivery for clients. Over the past few years, Sendero has partnered with GeoMarvel leveraging their extensive GIS knowledge, experience and technical development capabilities to deliver cutting edge mobile GIS solutions for our clients.
Below are a few tips that our teams have identified as key success factors for implementing these types of mobile solutions:
Emphasize Application Navigation
While it is often taken for granted or seems like something the developer should be able to manage through intuition, the placement of buttons, icons, and other features on a screen is strategic and requires a deep understanding of the user. As a step in optimizing the mobile user experience, consider a simple example: A field worker inspecting utility lines will require an interface that quickly pulls up a map with a point displaying his or her location whereas a sales associate might see “Place Order” or “View Customer Information” buttons as more useful on the home screen.
Offline Solutions Consume Resources Beyond Just the Mobile Device
Many companies using GIS technology hold and maintain assets outside of urban centers with strong networks and internet connectivity. For these companies’ mobile application users, it is important to consider solutions that provide the ability to work offline or build in features to address gaps in cellular service availability. One such approach is to pre-create mobile map packages for loading on the user device at home or the office where there is a strong network connection. This approach however can require storage of terabytes worth of data.