3 minutes reading time (568 words)

Arc2Edge: Crumblin’ Down the Walls (connecting ArcGIS to a wider world)


April 28, 2017

By George Demmy

I can’t count the times I have stumbled upon something that I wanted to instantly share with others. Obviously, this is common, as any quick browse of Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, etc., will quickly prove. I hear cats are pretty popular.

There are, however, numerous contexts in which you DON’T want to share what you are seeing with your 8,372 closest and not so close friends, just that group for whom it would be valuable.

What does all of this have to do with ArcGIS, you ask?

Let me answer with a question: How does a remote worker instantly share a non-GIS observation with your ArcGIS platform and users? Well, you could build a custom mobile app via conventional means.  Or you could use TerraGo Edge with its new Arc2Edge connector (the latest in an expansive list of ArcGIS data integration options).

TerraGo Edge gives mobile workers an easy way to get field work done, while sharing all sorts of structured (go inspect these 35 valves and report) and unstructured observations (oh dang! Hole in the fence! Better let HQ know!). Arc2Edge is an extension of ArcGIS for Desktop which allows feature classes to be packaged up as notes (notes are the fundamental unit of the Edge workflow, like a GIS feature, but more flexible) and sent to mobile users.  If they want to, they can also roundtrip updates and entirely new features back into ArcGIS.

Now, why wouldn’t you just use an Esri app to feed ArcGIS? If that’s the only thing you were doing in the field, if GIS was the only system of record, if GIS supported every feature the field worker needed, if everyone in the workflow is trusted and in the network, if the GIS and IT teams have the bandwidth, then, well, maybe just use an Esri app. When doing GIS, do GIS.   

But what if your mobile app can’t be limited by GIS data structures and processes?  What if the app needs to also integrate with your asset management, CRM, ERP, BIM or any other platforms?  What if the user needs to create custom forms and workflows that have nothing to do with GIS?  What if you want to leverage field crews outside your department? Or help non-GIS workflows benefit from GIS data sets?  And what if your GIS data would also benefit from their field updates, as part and parcel of the work? What if field workers needed consumer ease-of-use, but also advanced location features, like survey-grade Trimble positioning?  In any of these scenarios, TerraGo Edge with Arc2Edge may be for you.

Another way to look at it is Edge and Arc2Edge is a way to create two-way data sharing between anything that lay outside of ArcGIS and ArcGIS. Edge is location-centric, but is in no way GIS. But that doesn’t mean it can’t feed and nourish GIS and thus make GIS much more valuable to an organization. You wouldn’t give the same GIS data collection app to maintenance crews and security teams.  But exchanging location-based observations between all types of apps and ArcGIS makes perfect sense. That’s what TerraGo Edge and Arc2Edge are for – breaking down the walls between GIS and non-GIS without anyone knowing.  But everyone wins.

Learn more about TerraGo Edge here

For more information on all the ways TerraGo Edge integrates with Esri ArcGIS, download this Technical Overview.