Enhancing your online geospatial experience

7 November 2017

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Blog written by Steve Ford – Graduate Consultant, Interpret Geospatial Solutions

User experience is an integral part of everything we do here at Interpret. We are always looking for ways to improve how users visualise and interact with the solutions we provide. This is now more important than ever, as clients’ workflows require them to become ever closer to their geospatial data.

Esri Web AppBuilder is a comprehensive framework that allows GIS professionals to configure and style online applications efficiently. It contains a whole range of widgets that allow users to interact with their data and to view the locational relationships that exist in an area. The main strength of Web AppBuilder comes from its relative ease of use and efficiency in setting up. Functioning and well-presented web applications can be created, without any scripting.

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This ease of use can also be a weakness of the platform. With only simple configurations and settings to choose from, specific user requirements can become impossible to accurately implement. For this reason, our developers have been using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript to enhance the functionality of our Web AppBuilder applications.

We have recently developed widgets that allow our clients to view trends in their data over time, view the measured and potential outcomes of their projects (both within and outside of their networks) and easily perform complex queries on their data. We have made it possible for clients to receive feedback or engagement with their own users, based on the geospatial data within the application. We have also been working on web application themes and the way that data is symbolised on our maps, programmatically to enhance the way that users can interact with their data.

Live editing of data is another area we have been enhancing in our web applications. Creation of accurate data and cleaning up poor quality data, are both tasks that can drastically increase the efficiency and capability of organisations that rely geospatial data. Web applications are a simple and accessible platform for organisations to perform manual entry and fixes. Editing functionality already exists in the standard version of Web AppBuilder, however we have found that by creating our own editing capability, we are able to better guide users to work with their data, meaning that they can add, delete, move and change the values in their data very quickly and easily.

Thanks to this adaptation, we have been able to enhance the look and functionality of our websites and put more power back in the hands of our clients, by increasing their geospatial capabilities.