Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a public transportation system serving four counties in the San Francisco Bay Area; their rapid transit system operates 46 stations across 112 miles of track, with an estimated average ridership in 2016 of 433,000 trips per weekday, and close to 129 million trips for the entire year.
For more than four decades, BART has been an efficient and reliable way for San Francisco’s Bay Area Residents to commute: what began as a futuristic dream in 1972 has grown to be a vital part of the regional culture and economy.
A major challenge BART faced was how to manage the ongoing need for track maintenance and repairs. They were following a paper-based system, which was inefficient and labor intensive. Each time the track had to undergo maintenance, Track Allocation staff had to complete and submit a detailed paper form, which took more than half an hour to complete and often had transcription errors.
They were able to solve this problem with a Geocortex application called the Track Allocation System (TAS) that leverages Geocortex Workflow and Geocortex Reporting technology. Track Allocation staff can now simply draw a box on the map to select the area and assets where the work needs to occur, and the workflow running in the back-end automatically populates a Track Allocation Request Form.
A process that used to take more than 30 minutes now takes a matter of seconds to complete. The TAS was implemented in March 2016 and already has a user base of more than 160 employees, who have recorded more than 7,000 track allocation requests.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of checking out Esri’s Partner Conference (EPC) and DevSummit in Palm Springs, where Esri shares their plans and technology direction for the year ahead. Latitude Geographics has attended the EPC and DevSummit for the past 13 years; although I have been with Latitude for 16 years, this was the first time I took part. As the lead Business Analyst on our ArcGIS Implementation Services team, it was a particularly great year for me to be there and take in all of the information Esri had to offer.
I took some time to go through my notes from this year’s event, and wanted to share with the Geocortex community what I saw as 2017’s main themes.
Unification of the ArcGIS message
One thing that stood out immediately to me was that the ArcGIS message has consolidated under the umbrella of the new ArcGIS Enterprise terminology (introduced at ArcGIS 10.5). In recent years, I’d heard about individual components of the ArcGIS platform – Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS for Server, and the rest of the individual stack components; while all the individual components are still there and still very powerful, the updated messaging around ArcGIS Enterprise has simplified things and brought everything together. Each “piece” feels much more like contributing technologies to a cohesive whole, rather than individual software components.
Maturity of the ArcGIS platform
Related to the unification theme above, there is a noticeable increase in maturity of the complete ArcGIS platform. Some exciting capabilities have started to come into their own over the past year (e.g. ArcGIS Insights and ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server), and this maturity makes the ArcGIS platform an even more compelling, comprehensive GIS solution. Single-user, high-power desktop GIS isn’t exactly what I’d call a dinosaur just yet, but it’s sure looking grey compared to the new distributed and connected GIS computing paradigm Esri has introduced.
On-premises options for ArcGIS Enterprise
During the DevSummit this year, it seemed to me that there was a heavy focus on on-premises options for ArcGIS Enterprise. ArcGIS Online was still a focus, but I expect that the attention towards on-premises installation, configuration, tuning and management is reflective of the number of organizations that simply need to host their GIS infrastructure themselves. I probably shouldn’t use the term ‘on-premises’ -- quite often ArcGIS Enterprise is best implemented inside Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure – ‘self-hosted’ is perhaps better terminology.
Discovering useful tools and tactics
Finally, I must say that so much of the value for me at this year’s Partner Conference and DevSummit was all the bits of information I picked up related to many different areas of the Esri ecosystem. From learning about tools that I wasn’t aware of (like Koop), to valuable brainstorming and UX wireframing techniques, to tips and tricks for working with Geodatabases (hello extracting coded value domains!), this year’s event was a treasure chest of useful nuggets of information.
I can’t wait to see what else Esri has in store for us, and I look forward to working with our customers on more successful ArcGIS and Geocortex implementations as the year continues to unfold!
The 4.0 release is effectively a ground-up rewrite that was required to properly take advantage of modern web development patterns and introduce 3D capabilities. According to Esri:
It’s a big project that got underway last summer, and will likely continue into the first-half of 2017. We won't be able to supersede GVH 2.x until the 4.0 API offers all of the capabilities available with 3.16. Specifically, many of our customers take advantage of drawing, editing, capturing geometry, OGC support, and other features that are yet not available in the 4.x version.
For this reason, we will continue to release additional versions of GVH 2.x before GVH 3.0 is released, as there is lots of useful work for us to do that'll see heavy use by customers in the full-featured, 2D-only space.
The day will come when GVH 3.0 supersedes 2.x; at that time, we’ll enable our customers to simply upgrade their applications from 2.x to 3.x, and start leveraging all of the great capabilities that the 4.x ArcGIS API has to offer... without losing any functionality or having to rewrite applications (except for custom code they've created).
Applications – or aspects of applications that leverage configured modules or provide custom functionality via Geocortex Workflows -- will be directly upgradeable. Customers and partners that have written custom code on top of GVH 2.x to solve unique and specific use cases will likely need to update or rewrite that custom code to migrate because 4.0 is a fundamentally new API (this scenario highlights why our enduring product strategy and development recommendation is to follow approaches that avoid custom code as much as possible).
We work hard to build technology that helps ensure you can get maximum work done today, while also engineering our products to ensure minimum possible challenges when it comes time to embrace and leverage what's next. We believe our plans for 4.0 are right on track.
We'll share more in-depth information about what's coming with Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 3.0 (and much, much more) during our Geocortex User Conference in a couple weeks (May 18-19), so don't forget to register!
Continuing from last week, here's items 5 to 1 on our Top Ten list of the notable developments at Latitude Geographics in 2015 that will have a big influence on the work we all do with Geocortex in 2016:
5. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA Compliance
In 2015 we raised the bar in web GIS by providing support for end-users with disabilities. Released in March, Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.4 introduced out-of-the-box compliance with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) industry standard guidelines, including features that are – at minimum – Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.0 AA compliant. We did unprecedented development in the industry, which included focus group testing (special thanks to our colleagues at York Region in Southern Ontario who led this!) to help serve as an industry leader in accessibility within web mapping applications and provide users of all abilities with the best possible user experiences.
In 2016 we will be sharing the stories of end-users who are making the most of Geocortex Viewer for HTML5, and will be urging our government customers, in particular, to make their public-facing maps more accessible to everyone in their communities. Even if it’s not yet legislated in your jurisdiction, take a look… it’s just the right thing to do.
4. Mobile Offline: Geocortex Mobile App Framework
Many organizations require end-users to work with maps on mobile devices, even when operating in an environment with limited to no Internet connectivity, and Collector for ArcGIS is an ideal solution for this scenario. In some cases, there is a need to deliver a customized mobile offline application; to serve this need, we offer Geocortex Mobile App Framework (GMAF), which is included as part of Geocortex Essentials and follows an HTML5-centric approach that can be deployed to – and make the most of – specific mobile device hardware.
In 2015 we simplified GMAF’s architecture to enable a streamlined user experience for downloading and saving viewers that need to work offline onto a device, and added an Android application that is functionally identical to our existing iOS and Windows apps. 2016 will continue to see us improve GMAF, with version 2.0 shipping alongside Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.6 and Geocortex Essentials 4.5 in the coming months.
In October 2015 we released Geocortex Insight, our latest-generation product that helps customers understand use patterns, quantify and report on their GIS infrastructure’s return-on-investment, and build better applications based on near-real time data analysis. It is the successor to Geocortex Optimizer, which we released eight years ago, and has been built from the ground up to reflect the modern ArcGIS platform era.
Geocortex Insight will be front and center for us in 2016. When it was launched last year, we spent the first few months working with our current Geocortex Optimizer customers to help them transition to the new product, and took the time to ask them questions and gather their feedback. We’re very happy with how Geocortex Insight is already helping customers get even clearer pictures of their GIS infrastructures, while continuing aggressive development. And judging by nearly 500 participants in our recent Introduction to Geocortex Insight webinar, there’s lots of interest in the benefits a technology like it provides!
2. Solutions for Public Safety: Geocortex Active Operating Picture
Geocortex Active Operating Picture (AOP) is a product built on the foundation of Geocortex Essentials that helps incident commanders respond to emergency situations with a reliable, direct link to the field. AOP’s design enables clear, multi-way communication with mobile accessibility, a common/clean map interface, and tools to plan routes, share information and manage conversations. It complements the suite of public safety solutions we have built with our customers over the years, and represents one of our first complete, industry-specific offerings.
AOP’s demonstration was a hit at the Esri User Conference in July 2015. We hosted a webinar a month later and started to have more conversations about how AOP could help our customers solve their business problems. What we quickly learned is that Geocortex Active Operating Picture has a broad applicability outside of single-event emergencies. We’re reorienting it from being an industry-specific offering in the sense that Geocortex Essentials and Geocortex Insight are “products”, given its much wider applicability.
2016 will continue this trend, and we can’t wait to see how AOP will evolve to help our customers protect people and property, and respond as quickly and efficiently as possible in emergency situations.
1. Esri’s Portal for ArcGIS/ArcGIS Online and Geocortex
Throughout 2015, our work to embrace Esri’s vision for the modern ArcGIS platform era continued. From core engineering to enable deep, long-term orientation around web maps, identities, portal-centric deployment and web GIS information models – to implementing these new patterns on projects with clients working to unify their web GIS – we are helping position them to take their spatial endeavors to new levels as the future continues to unfold.
This work continues in earnest in 2016, and we’re excited about what’s coming from Esri this year; it’s an exciting time to be in this field!
On January 15th we held our Annual Kick-Off – a conference-style event at our headquarters in Victoria – where each team at Latitude Geographics shared their strategies for the year ahead and we set our 2016 plans into motion.
Of course, we let ourselves have a little bit of fun after the event as well.
As we looked back on 2015, we realized just how big a year it was. We welcomed 26 new Latituders to the company (which led us to take over an additional floor in our head office’s building), established new programs to share our technology with educational and non-profit organizations, built targeted, industry-specific solutions, launched more features and capabilities in our core product than ever before (we also added a new product while we were at it!), and made some important new partnerships.
Here’s a Top 10 list, in hotly contested order, of the notable developments at Latitude Geographics in 2015 that will have a big influence on the work we all do with Geocortex in 2016. (Well, this post actually contains the first five entries in our list... we will post the second part next week.)
10. Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 and Feature Parity (+)
When Google definitively deprecated support for Silverlight in their Chrome web browser in September 2015 faster than anyone expected, we were closing in on our goal of feature parity with previous-generation technology. A huge number of client migrations took place in 2015, and aggressive development of Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 features was our #1 focus over the year.
2015 saw two massive releases of our HTML5 viewer (2.4 and 2.5), with 40+ new capabilities and enhancements, including (for example): visualization options for point features including heatmaps and clustering, out-of-the-box buffering support, accessibility enhancements for end-users with disabilities, using geolocation/GPS to create features, the addition of a fully pre-configured toolbar with context-sensitive tools and stateful toggle buttons, drill-down map tips for all devices, and a brand new UX for handheld devices.
In the coming weeks, we will ship Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.6, which includes an improved “save/open project” feature, and brings us to primary feature parity with our Silverlight viewer. Some features are no longer required, while others are niche and flowed into the product as a result of specific professional services work. Many features have been enhanced and enriched for next generation, and there are a bunch of completely new features for customers to get acquainted with.
9. Geocortex Support Center Upgrade
We launched a completely overhauled and modernized the Geocortex Support Center in September 2015. New features include improved search capabilities, the ability to post ideas (including up/down-voting), and the ability to submit and monitor support cases more easily. Customers can also contribute to the community and find information related to specific products, which have their own forum, knowledge base, code gallery, video, and product download sections.
8. Geocortex DecisionSupport via a Houston Advanced Research Center Collaboration
The Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems (EFD) Program, managed by Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), focuses on providing unbiased science and developing solutions to address issues associated with oil and gas development. HARC, the University of Arkansas, and Latitude Geographics collaborated on a multi-year project, which completed in November 2015, to help create software for accessible geodesign related to well pad placement.
Our work with HARC resulted in the development of Geocortex Decision Support, which is centered on a collaborative, familiar interface that allows project team members to interact with GIS data without needing to be GIS experts. Users can share maps with other users in the organization, provide input on siting decisions via comments, and view/respond to tasks assigned by others.
While the impetus for this project was to help the energy sector make environmentally-conscious decisions, it is clear the foundation of Geocortex Decision Support can help any industry that has a need for project teams to collaborate with spatial data. Some exciting customer conversations have already begun.
7. Geocortex for Educational Use & Geocortex for Non-Profit Organizations
Esri provides amazing, no-cost access to ArcGIS technology for use by K-12 institutions, and low-cost access for post-secondary educational use. Inspired by this, we rolled out a complementary program in 2015 to help remove barriers to access for educators and students who’d benefit from integrating Geocortex technology into their curriculum and research.
At the same time we launched the Geocortex for Educational Use Program, we also created the Geocortex Non-Profit Organization Program. We believe deeply in the importance of organizations that strive for positive social and environmental change; there are many organizations in the non-profit/charity sector that have talented people and great mandates, but as registered non-profit organizations, have limited funds with which to procure software like ours. Our hope is that this program will make it easier for them to do their valuable work.
In July, we jointly announced our partnership with Schneider Electric at their user group meeting in San Diego, with news that our Geocortex Essentials software would soon be integrated into Schneider Electric’s ArcFM™ solution. This partnership allows utilities to develop useful, targeted applications to quickly empower field workers, streamline business processes, manage assets and analyze data.
Officially released in November, ArcFM Web extends the capabilities of Schneider Electric’s GIS solutions using core Geocortex technology.
Schneider’s ArcFM solution has long been the industry standard for utilities that are looking to leverage the benefits of GIS solutions. Now, with a little support from Geocortex Viewer for HTML5, ArcFM Web provides customer access across devices. This is a new partnership that we expect will blossom in 2016.
Stay tuned for the second half of this list, which we will post next week!
Latest Geocortex release includes most feature-rich HTML5 viewer ever, accessibility for end-users with disabilities, inclusion of Android devices for offline scenarios
Latitude Geographics has released Geocortex Essentials 4.3, alongside Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.4 and Geocortex Mobile App Framework 1.2.
This release contains so many features and improvements that we got our customers involved early. We ran a month-long beta program and close to 200 customers provided their feedback to help us improve the quality of our software: thank you to everyone who participated… your input is extremely appreciated!
Geocortex Essentials has made some major improvements under the hood to improve performance. Instant Search – which allows you to scan across millions of indexed records – has been updated, and new Workflow activities are available to help streamline and automate even the most complex business processes. We’ve also included support for KML layers and folder configuration options with the help of icons and radio buttons.
The biggest news, however, is the huge leap we’ve taken with Geocortex Viewer for HTML5. We’ve added over 20 significant new capabilities and several enhancements, with a dedicated focus on improving user experiences across devices and in any environment. An optional compact toolbar, improved feature details, and drill-down map tips are available for all devices, and handheld devices have a brand new UX and UI. We’ve also helped make maps more accessible to end-users with disabilities by ensuring that all out-of-the-box tools and features are Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.0 AA compliant.
Geocortex Mobile App Framework’s iOS and Windows versions have been improved, and support for Android devices has been added at the request of our customers. All three editions contain an “online/offline” toggle button and indicator when paired with Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.4.
Here are the highlights of this major release:
Geocortex Essentials 4.3
Improvements to Instant Search to increase feature scanning speeds, recover errors and perform multiple service scans simultaneously
Instant Search can now scan secured services and services with coded value domains
Radio button layer behavior
Support for adding KML files to a site
Configurable copyright attribution for all service types
New Workflow activities and improvements
Layer security now supports related tables
Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.4
WCAG 2.0 AA compliance (including support for screen readers and mouseless navigation of user interface)
Completely new, upgraded handheld shell with a streamlined UX and improved UI
Applications with fewer tools can now be arranged in an optional compact toolbar
Pictometry® Extension for Geocortex Essentials is now an integrated, out-of-the-box feature
Export map image to a variety of image formats and include georeferenced image metadata
Display a configured overview map
Support for displaying, identifying and querying KML layers
Transition through multiple years of aerial imagery with a time-based basemap slider
New Feature Details view allows you to arrange the feature description, attributes, hyperlinks, charts, related records and attachments in top-left, top-right and bottom panels
Drill-down map tips return features from multiple layers beneath a clicked point
Fixed-position displays for map tips
Create sharable URLs with query parameters that preserve the current scale, map center, visible layers and selected theme
Allow application sharing via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and email
Export search, identify, query and measurement results to CSV, XLSX and shapefile formats
Configure search selection display text when no results can be found
Report mouse coordinates in map units, or lat/long in a variety of formats
Configurable application footer to store hyperlinks or dynamic controls (scalebar, mouse coordinates, social media links)
Automatically pan the map with tools that use shapes (lines, polygons, rectangles, etc.) when used near the edges of the map
Report coordinates in a status message when geolocation is invoked
Multi-tool widget allows grouping of similar tools into a fly-out menu
3rd party map integration container allows docking maps from Bing, Pictometry® and other sources
As always, there are also numerous minor features, various bug fixes and user experience enhancements included as part of this release. We recommend you consult the release notes for more detailed information.
Note: There is interdependence between Geocortex Essentials and our HTML5 viewer; implementing some newly-introduced features will require the latest version of Geocortex Essentials.
Current Geocortex customers: Installers, release notes and supporting documentation can be downloaded by licensees with an active maintenance agreement from the Geocortex Support Center. If your account is handled by an authorized Geocortex Reseller, please contact your local representative for access to installers and documentation.
Customers interested in learning more about some of the new features being introduced can watch a set of new feature videos that are available for viewing in the Geocortex Support Center.
Not a Geocortex customer yet? Visit our Discovery Center and get in touch with us.
Latitude Geographics is pleased to announce the general availability of Geocortex Essentials 3.15,the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 1.3 and the Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight 1.10. These releases include significant amount of development, resulting in many new features and fixes.
Some new features require the latest version of Geocortex Essentials as well as the latest version of the viewers, therefore we are releasing all of these new product versions together. Below is a short list of the key additions included in these releases.
Geocortex Essentials 3.15
Compatible with ArcGIS Server 10.2.
Comprehensive Support for Coded Value Domains. A new feature called the Services Enhancement Proxy can be used to improve and standardize the handling of feature data with coded value domain fields, among other things.
Standardized Presentation of date/time Data. The Services Enhancement Proxy is also used to standardize the presentation of date/time data.
Access ArcGIS Online secure content. Public ArcGIS Online content has been supported since Essentials 3.12. With this release, administrators can now create sites and applications that contain secured content from ArcGIS Online.
Feature Clustering. Flare Cluster Symbols on Feature Layers with colour and threshold control.
Heat Maps. Heat Map symbolization on Feature Layers with colour gradient control.
Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 1.3
Toolbar. Added a highly configurable toolbar component. Supports desktop, tablet, and mobile with shared or individual configurations.
Legend. Added a legend for ArcGIS Dynamic Map Service layers, Feature Services, and basic WMS services. Functions in offline mode when working with Feature Services.
Home Panel. Added support for a configurable Home panel.
Printing Interface. Added an interface for printing.
Sorting and Paging. Added sorting and paging to results in table views.
Editing Enhancements. Resolved a number of issues around On Demand feature layers. Improved validation and enhanced support for types, sub-types, and coded domain values.
Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight 1.10
Automatic Resolution of Coded Value Domains and Subtypes. When attribute values are displayed, the coded value description is now shown instead of the code stored in the geodatabase for fields with coded value domains or subtypes.
Support for Heat Maps and Feature Clustering. Configure heat maps and clustering properties on layers in Geocortex Essentials 3.15.
Support for Protected ArcGIS Online Content. The Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight now allows users to provide their ArcGIS Online named user account in order to access protected ArcGIS Online web maps and map services.
Richer Support for Editing and Resymbolizing Existing Markup. Once markup is added to the map, users can now resymbolize that markup.
This is just a selection of new features in these new versions. Combined, these releases also include over 200 bug fixes and UI improvements. Please consult the release notes of each product for more detailed information.
This version of the Essentials API and the HTML5 Framework is compatible with version 1.2.1 of the HTML5 SDK. The TypeScript version of the API docs are forthcoming and will be published separately. The documentation for these APIs can be found in the SamplesViewer of the 1.2.1 release package.
Installers, release notes and supporting documentation can be downloaded by licensees with an active maintenance agreement from the Geocortex Support Center. If your account is handled by an authorized Geocortex Reseller, please contact your local representative for access to installers and documentation.
We will be making feature videos available for viewing in the Geocortex Support Center so that customers can learn more about new features introduced in these releases.
Geocortex Essentials 3.13 now available, enables more complete internationalization
Latitude Geographics is pleased to announce the general availability of Geocortex Essentials 3.13. This product release introduces expanded and simplified internationalization, numerous additional workflow activities, and more.
Geocortex Essentials Manager can now be localized to support languages other than English
Numerous new and updated Workflow activities
Bug fixes and some other minor enhancements
Please consult the release notes for more detailed information.
Installers, release notes and supporting documentation may be downloaded by licensees with an active maintenance agreement from the Geocortex Support Center. If your account is handled by an authorized Geocortex Reseller, please contact your local representative for access to installers and documentation.
Geocortex Training helps you acquire the knowledge you need to make the most of your investment in Geocortex technology. We've recently developed new content and materials to ensure a greatly improved learning experience.
The new 2013 training schedule helps accommodate tight travel budgets and offers greater flexibility for participants across different time zones.
Introduction to Geocortex This half day course provides a basic technical understanding of what you can accomplish using Geocortex, with an emphasis on Geocortex Essentials. Learn More
Getting Started with Geocortex Essentials
This two day course provides a great foundation for building and configuring solutions with Geocortex Essentials. Learn More
Developing Workflows for Geocortex Essentials
Building on Getting Started with Geocortex Essentials, this two day course dives into solving real-world business problems using Geocortex Workflow technology. Learn More
January and February workshop dates, along with more information and registration links, may be found on our Geocortex website.
Think of this free 45-minute webinar as a highlight reel of the most noteworthy Geocortex product development that occurred in 2012, with emphasis on technology that is available right now for you to implement at your organization in the coming year.
Wednesday, January 9th 2013 @ 10 AM Pacific Time
Drew Millen (Geocortex Product Manager) and Steven Myhill-Jones (Latitude Geographics President and CEO)
Please register now for this webinar; registration will close on January 7th.