The ArcPad Team Blog

Unofficial stuff from the team behind the World's leading mobile GIS platform

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ArcPad in the ESRI UC2007 Plenary Session

Our very own Jian Lange presents ArcPad 7.1 features on the big stage ...

From the ESRI UC Plenary Session

The mid-morning session of the ESRI User Conference plenary included a segment demonstrating ESRI's mobile GIS technologies including ArcPad, ArcGIS Mobile, and ArcGIS Desktop products.

People working in the field need geospatial technology on location for location. Whether they are cataloging vegetation types, responding to dispatch calls, or completing work orders, GIS provides field support that is reliable and accurate. For years, field workers have been using ArcPad, which is mobile GIS software specifically developed for field mapping and data collection, allowing users to create, edit, and analyze spatial data. It works on handheld mobile devices to deliver specific GIS functionality for job-defined productivity. By integrating GIS with GPS, users can update the geodatabase with geographic and attribute information including features and coordinates.

ESRI ArcPad product manager Jian Lange presented the new features in ESRI's latest version, ArcPad 7.1. The new Streetmap extension includes the most recent street data for Canada and United States, providing an out-of-the-box, pre-configured basemap. Another addition is QuickProject, an out-of-the-box data template that kick starts a project by providing a generic set of point, line, and polygon shapefiles. QuickProject creates a custom form for each shapefile, which is then used as a data capture template.


ArcPad 7.1 mobile software gives field workers a ready-to-use data capture list.

The demonstration is performed on a handheld GPS device loaded with ArcPad 7.1 software. The scenario is a public works field worker walking along a downtown street, inventorying sidewalk furnishings. Streetmap data is quickly accessed by zooming into the location. QuickProject provides a generic pick list of categories, in this case, street furniture, from which to choose. This list is editable to make the worker's inventory catalog more specific to the job. The worker selects Bench from the pick list and the GPS captures the coordinates of the feature at the same time it is logged. He also adds additional information about the feature, which, in this case, is a photo of the bench. Continuing his walk, the worker decides that a trashcan needs to be added to the pick list of valid categories and inserts Trashcan on the category list. The category list can be dynamically defined by the user in the field as needed.

The two most requested enhancements for field GIS software have been an improved query builder and support for related tables. ArcPad 7.1 has improved capabilities for both. Like the ArcGIS geodatabase, ArcPad 7.1 provides support for editing related tables.

A second scenario demonstrated ArcPad 7.1 software's ability to capture more complex data relationships. In this scenario, a health inspector is tasked to inspect sanitary conditions for all the restaurants in Horton Plaza, a shopping mall within walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center. The inspector opens a map of downtown San Diego with data that has been extracted from a geodatabase by using the new ArcPad Data Manager extension for ArcGIS Desktop. Using the new Query Builder tool, she quickly locates the shopping mall to be inspected as well as the distance and directions to the site.


An ArcPad 7.1 enhancement is the ability to capture more complex database relationships. ArcPad automatically honors the geodatabase schema.

The zoom tool, which is available on the query results window, gives the inspector a closer picture, and she selects a specific feature, or, in this case, the Horton Plaza. The selected feature on the map is related to a table in the database that includes all of the restaurants in the shopping mall. This "one-to-many" relationship is defined in the geodatabase and extracted for use in ArcPad. The full richness of the geodatabase can be exploited on a handheld device because the software automatically honors the geodatabase schema in the field. The inspector edits the record in the related table for an existing restaurant and also adds a new record in the table for a recently opened restaurant. The edits in the related table can later be updated to the geodatabase using the ArcPad Data Manager extension.

These new capabilities in ArcPad 7.1 help field workers be more efficient and accurate when capturing data in the field whether their data capture needs are simple or complex.