“Recalculating route” is a phrase that most anyone associates with the mobile intelligence that gets them from here to there. But to a smart community, mobile intelligence is more– it’s essential information that helps people, goods, and services efficiently flow through the city. It’s also a fundamental information source during emergencies.

Mobile intelligence is a part of a larger location intelligence system called a geographic information system (GIS) that smart cities are adopting to make their communities more efficient and livable. It manages vast amounts of location data from people, sensors, and other sources, brings it together, and transforms it into useful information. GIS helps managers and residents alike understand what the city is like and where improvements can be made. 

GIS mobile accesses GIS location information and delivers it to the field. All anyone needs is a smart device, such as a smart tablet or phone, and a GIS web app. What do workers do with the information?  For one, navigation apps efficiently route workers from call to call throughout the day. Asset apps show them the parts they will need for a repair they will be doing. At a construction site, an inspector can use a data collector app to complete forms, tag photos and video, and capture gps coordinates. These apps send data back to the office, add it to the database, and map it.

Residents also use mobile apps. The city of Los Angeles, Calif., created the Street Wize mobile app to map street excavations, improvement projects, and so forth. Residents use their phones to see what projects are around them and when they will be completed. The city’s most popular mobile app shows residents where to find parking spots. 

During a disaster, GIS situational awareness maps help police, crisis responders, and other public safety staff to protect lives and property. A bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon prompted the City of Boston to make deeper investments in its disaster response strategy, including location intelligence. The command center uses GIS to track unfolding events in real time as well as live operations information. Police, fire, and emergency medical personnel can use mobile devices to see the same operational maps used at headquarters and simultaneously receive situational updates that help them make on-the-spot decisions. 

Simple goals for going mobile

Smart cities use technology platforms to connect departments, share information, and coordinate services. GIS mobile technology plays a significant role in community connectivity.    

Esri, the world leader in GIS technology and spatial analytics, has developed a framework on which smart cities grow connections and generate intelligence necessary for a thriving community. The Esri ArcGIS platform helps thousands of local governments design their communities to flourish long into the future.

Here are four simple goals for successfully deploying GIS in the community:

  • Enable crews to collect data. Field crews use ArcGIS apps to gather information via a smart device. The data they collect is automatically sent back to the office. This saves time and reduces errors and paperwork.
  • Enrich and analyze field data. Use ArcGIS to expose patterns in the data. ArcGIS helps you make better decisions based on real data.
  • Create a view of field operations. Use the ArcGIS dashboard to see field work via a real-time map.
  • Show residents what is going on. Residents want to know what their government is doing and how they are affected. A map tells a clearer, stronger, faster story than tables and charts. People can make sense of information displayed on maps quickly. ArcGIS mapping capabilities include tools for sharing your work.

A good follow-up resource about GIS mobile is the Esri Smart City Guide. Check it out at esri.com/smart-communities.

MapImage: LAGEOHUB_StreetWize_App2(002).png  caption: Los Angeles mobile app Street Wize keeps residents in the know about road projects are and how long they will take to complete.

Photo:  LosAngeles_AS_6045469