June 7, 2017
By George Demmy
Later this month, TerraGo will mark its 12th year delivering software and solutions for our customers. The history goes back further, but 12 years is a long time in software and technology. The iPhone didn’t exist, being released, coincidentally on TerraGo’s second anniversary in 2007. What didn’t exist then is deemed an economic necessity today.
We’re doing some exciting new stuff in the realm of zero-code apps with our work with TerraGo Magic, but the more I think about it, it’s as much riffing on a theme as it is something completely new. We’ve always been in the zero-code app business with our GeoPDF software and TerraGo Toolbar. In hindsight, we should have called GeoPDF GeoPDApp – Geospatial Portable Document-Application. The F in PDF stands for format, and formats, by-and-large, are not interesting, and the undue focus people seem to put on GeoPDF-as-format is to miss the point.
People spend all this time collecting and curating data, distilling expertise and insight, creating cartographic products (map is too limited a word for what many folks make with ArcMap) and at the end of it all, they print out a piece of paper or a PNG to embed in a Word doc or PowerPoint. What Publisher customers do for the consumers of their hard-won products is give them the option to have a GeoPDApp by publishing a GeoPDF map that has a wealth of interactive capabilities unlocked by TerraGo Toolbar with no coding for the map maker and no cost for the map consumer.
Did you know that you can use Publisher to create a GeoPDF map that contains the documents and resources linked in ArcMap as well as an OGC GeoPackage containing the feature attributes for whatever layers you care to include? We use GeoPDF to denote a set of technologies, yes leveraging PDF the Portable Document Format as part of a suite of technologies do deliver solutions that facilitate interactive exploration of maps and data, data collection, and data interchange in document-oriented and other workflows, including those now provided by TerraGo Edge and TerraGo Magic platforms.
So from one perspective, TerraGo Magic, with its ability for you to click-and-drag your way to your own, branded, iOS and Android-based mobile data collection and collaboration solution deployed to the Apple Store and Google Play (the copious hassle of which all handled by us is worth the price of admission right there, I can tell you) is radically different in form and technology stack from our GeoPDF products.
But it’s also the natural evolution of zero-code applications we’ve been working on since our inception.