Disruptive innovation

If you’re not using GIS mobile apps, you’re not working efficiently

Mar 13, 2017

Reliance on mobile devices is the norm these days, and apps are synonymous with the mobile experience.

So, it’s no surprise that a 2015 survey by Flurry Insights reported we spend 90 per cent of our time on mobile devices using apps as opposed to a web browser.

This is more than just scrolling through your Facebook feed on the couch at home, though. Mobile technology is changing the way we do business, and adaption is essential to succeed.

A recent Forbes article stated, “digital transformation has morphed from a trend to a central component of modern business strategy”.

When we look at the top technology trends, particularly in the world of location-based analytics, the concepts of real-time and mobility are often cited as being key to creating integrated systems and achieving connectivity, no matter who, where or when.

Many companies have a field presence, but what many also lack is a tightly integrated platform that allows the office and field to work together in unison.


Traditional workflows have a clear divide between these two areas of business.

A typical scenario might be that a list of field tasks are evenly divided up among field staff and distributed using paper maps. The field crew will then determine how to get from one job to the next, either manually or with the assistance of a standard navigation device.

They take written notes at each site, and perhaps even take photos with the hope they’ll remember which photos match with which site back in the office when the collected data is transferred from paper to digital.

During this time, the staff in the office have little or no knowledge of the progress in the field or if issues have arisen until the crew return at the end of the day.

Does this type of clunky, time-consuming process sound familiar?

Location-based analytics is advancing to break down these silos, with the current suite of ArcGIS apps for the field equipping companies with off-the-shelf, agile solutions built to seamlessly work together.


The technology provides valuable location intelligence, which is important for business. Why? How about:

  • Improved coordination between the field and office
  • Greater efficiency
  • Increased productivity
  • Better operational management
  • Superior accuracy and currency
  • Fast, real-time insights

Not to mention, a paperless environment.

The implementation of a GIS platform increases operational mobility – turning the laborious fieldwork scenario I described previously into a simplified, dynamic and informative process.

The resources sector has become an industry benchmark when it comes to this type of spatial and digital transformation, with GIS maps and apps assisting mining companies with almost all aspects of operations – from initial exploration through to reclamation.

Example in point: compulsory cultural heritage clearance surveys, which need to be carried out before any mining can take place at a particular site.

Location analysis smarts are applied during the planning stage to determine the optimal distribution of surveys to available field staff, based on a custom-built road network for routing.

GIS also enables smarter decision-making pre- and post-data collection through overlay and analysis of geological, environmental and operational data.

Field members are coordinated through the Workforce for ArcGIS application with real-time visibility of where crews are located. Workers then receive alerts of assigned surveys on their mobile devices, with the option to navigate directly to each site.

Survey inspections are captured via a simple map-centric or form-centric application (e.g. Collector for ArcGIS, Survey123 for ArcGIS) which is immediately visible through the integrated platform to office personnel.

They can then monitor progress and take instant strategic action towards the next stage of operation.

Efficient, right?

And the resources sector isn’t the only industry that stands to benefit from advanced mobile apps.

These solutions can be put to use in transport, agribusiness, insurance, water, telecommunications, all levels of government… The list goes on.

If you want to streamline your field operations and put an end to operational inefficiencies, check out our leading GIS apps for the field or call 1800 870 750.

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