Sometimes the road doesn’t quite reach where you need to go – and sometimes the cellular coverage doesn’t, either. And while some commercial map applications can be used offline, the content, accuracy, and cartographic quality didn’t meet the needs of Metria AB’s customers – so they decided to build their own.
Based in Sweden, Metria provides services to industry as well as an extensive selection of geographic data. Many of their customers, particularly those in the mining and forestry sectors, need access to information when they’re in the field. Performance issues – due to overloading of the 3G network, or simple unavailability in remote areas – made live streaming of maps unfeasible. The solution? Mobile apps, with offline data access, using FME for data preparation.
Roger Jonsson, Systems Developer and Certified FME Professional, tells us a bit about the back-end architecture. “When a customer orders a map, we assemble it on demand – combining cadastral with imagery and vector data,” he says. “FME handles the prep when the request comes in, clipping and combining it, and then the most important step – pyramid tiling it properly for mobile use.” A typical order takes two to three minutes to process, and the user then downloads it to their mobile device.
On the front end, the primary challenges were platform choice and user experience. Magnus Jutterström, Manager Metria Products , tells us, “Users are accustomed to apps like Google Maps™. The bar is set high. You have to produce a quality, intuitive user experience.” With that in mind, they decided to write both iOS and Android apps in native code. “We could have coded cross-platform and saved development time,” he says, “But we would have been compromising, creating an in-between solution.”
The end result, as you can see here, is an elegant and simple interface that gives the customer both the information and the performance they need, on their platform of choice. Metria’s future plans include enabling customers to add their own spatial datasets, 3D models, and adding field reporting capabilities. Well done!