As I peer into the crystal ball, armed with information supplied at the ESRI conference I found one thing that seems certain to explode in the coming years, if not just in months. Maybe it's already here. Mobile computing is growing up and expanding services that will impact how we receive our information. And in many cases how we may wind up supplying our information.
While I listened intently to information about the clouds I kept my eyes open and just observed those around me. There were less laptops than I normally see at most conventions among the crowd. But everyone seemed to be busily doing business while at the conference using smaller mobile devices. Smart phones and they certainly are getting smarter and more powerful.
In fact, I had with me my iPad, which I used to type up my notes, check my e-mail and check the internet while at the convention. From it's popularity then I probably helped sell a few of them over the weekend. While in one session they talked about the recent release of the ArcGIS app for mobile phones. While in the session, I downloaded the app to the iPad and was viewing maps served up from the sky.
Oh my. Talk about possibilities. Load up some recent maps from the office that the crew can easily view in real time. And the crew could upload information for those to view back at the office. Sure, you can already send and receive e-mail on most smart phones but apps are arriving that bring real time mapping to these devices. I think this is the vision of the cloud. It will carry the heavy load and the crew only needs to bring down exactly the information they need while in the field.
Create maps on the fly for the task at hand and on a smart device served up by the great cloud in the sky.
One really interesting app that I downloaded was called CitySourced. It's a mobile app that allows you to report on potholes, tall grass or other things around your own city.
Lawton Water Leak
The above link takes you to one that I reported this morning in Lawton. A simple hydrant leaking and wasting water into the street. Snap a picture, type in the address and you have an instant report.
This app allows the average citizen to report road closings and all sorts of things in their communities. All from a simple, and free, application from a smart phone.
We are often concerned with accuracy of a point but for many things then the information is really what is important.
The push for E-911 (Enhanced 911) has led to phones supplying their current lat/long as part of any call. The companies building current apps are adding this geographic function to other programs. No matter your location then I can see a time where you can query your phone for almost anything from the cloud. Survey points, control points, water lines, zoning and many other things with little effort.