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myWorld 2.6 introduces deeper integration to Esri and GE Smallworld

07 September 2015

Ubisense myWorld 2.6 includes a number of significant enhancements for enterprise customers rolling out web and mobile geospatial solutions. In this post we explore the main release features and how they can deliver instant benefits to your enterprise.

Enhanced data integration

Support for search and query against external geospatial data servers significantly increases myWorld’s ability to work as a powerful integration tool across many data sources. Previously myWorld had supported map display and feature selection from external sources, which was a good base level of functionality. This latest enhancement brings external servers much closer to the level of functionality provided by myWorld’s own database, by adding wild card search capabilities against external data sources, as well as queries like “feature in window”. These capabilities are accessed via myWorld’s one box search, in the same way as for features in myWorld’s internal database.

The 2.6 core release provides out of the box support for WMS and WFS data sources, the two most commonly used standards from OGC, the Open Geospatial Consortium, which are supported by all the main geospatial vendors. The product architecture makes it easy to plug in support for additional services too. myWorld already supports Esri REST services, which provide access to ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online, and the new search and query capabilities will also support Esri REST services shortly.

The 2.6 release also supports the use of external layers sourced from other myWorld databases. This provides the foundation for various interesting possibilities in terms of sharing data between different myWorld databases.

See this video for a demonstration of the 2.6 integration capabilities.

This is part of an ongoing effort to make myWorld a truly GIS independent web and mobile product. myWorld supports a range of options for integration with all the major established GIS products, including either data sync or direct access to geospatial services as appropriate - both approaches have pros and cons depending on the situation. Data sync typically delivers higher performance through the use of myWorld’s optimized database and tiling tools, and provides access to more advanced myWorld functionality. But accessing data in place is simpler to implement and more appropriate when you need to use a large number of external data sources.

Enhanced offline data sync

myWorld 2.6 contains a number of enhancements to offline sync that fit with our ongoing theme of “offline in an increasingly online world”. myWorld supports a very robust implementation of a classic offline data sync approach, in which large amounts of data are stored offline and periodically synced using incremental updates, typically overnight. We are evolving this approach to support a number of new data sync approaches that are optimized for particular application scenarios, and in general enable more real time sync of data both out to the field workers and back to the office. This is especially important for applications like damage assessment, where it is critical for the operations center to have a view of overall damage as quickly as possible. This approach also helps to make deployment and administration of offline applications similar, by progressively decreasing the amount of data that needs to be synced.

In 2.6 we provide enhancements in the area of partial sync, enabling just specified tables to be synced for an individual application, and also support for uni-directional sync, which is useful for example in leak survey applications, where the application records a GPS “breadcrumb trail” showing the location of the surveyor over time, which needs to be uploaded but does not need to be synced out to other users.

For the upcoming 2.7 release we are working on still more fine grained sync specific to individual jobs or users, to further reduce data sync volumes, which is especially useful over cellular networks.

Enhanced integration of offline and online data

Another significant improvement on the theme of “offline in an increasingly online world” is the addition of support for online layers in the myWorld offline application, whenever a network connection is available. The application detects whether a network connection is available or not and enables and disables online layers as appropriate. In addition to map display, feature selection, search and query all work with both online and offline layers. This capability is built on the myWorld external layer capabilities described above.

Enhanced support for complex GIS data structures

myWorld 2.6 introduces enhancements to support for GE Smallworld “internal worlds”, which has been a feature of myWorld since version 1.0. At this release we add support for more complex use of nested internal worlds, which are commonly used in GE’s Physical Network Inventory (PNI) application, for detailed modeling of communications networks Inside Plant, including Rack Mounted Equipment (RME).

The following shows a typical screen display with front and back views of rack mounted equipment that enables detailed equipment attributes to be displayed right down to the level of shelves, cards and ports.

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This is a good example of myWorld’s “Simple, Smart, Fast” motto - enabling highly complex data to be displayed very quickly in a way that is simple and intuitive for the user to interact with.

Usability: Layer Groups

In myWorld, our primary consideration is “simple” - we don’t introduce new functionality without careful consideration of whether it will overcomplicate the user interface. In general, we focus on myWorld applications having a small number of layers, with this in mind. That continues to be our focus and for most myWorld applications it makes sense to have a simple, short list of layers. However, as we see some more sophisticated applications being added to myWorld implementations, and increasing integration with many data sources, we have concluded that there are some situations where it is useful to be able to have layer groups, to better manage layers in certain situations.

The following is an example of a layer group:

2.6_Inline_Image.png

Layer groups can be opened and closed, turned on and off as a group, and individual layers can be turned on and off. Groups can be either exclusive, in which case they have toggle behavior and only one layer is displayed at a time, or non-exclusive, in which case layers can be turned on and off in any combination. Layer groups are easily configured by any user with administrator rights, using a drag and drop interface.

Enhanced search

myWorld’s intuitive one box search has been a key aspect of the product’s usability since the very first release. Version 2.6 sees enhancements in the way that multiple search terms are handled, and performance enhancements for large databases. As mentioned above, 2.6 also adds support for search on external data sources. It is also now easier to add in other geocoding / address search options as an alternative to the default Google search mechanism. All of these changes make the one box search even smarter, while keeping the same simple user interface.

Configuration and customization improvements

An ongoing effort with myWorld is to increase the number of aspects of the system that can be managed through the myWorld configuration GUI, rather than needing coding. This release continues that, with enhancements in various areas of the configuration tools. Also we continue to improve the robustness and capabilities of the myWorld API, for the times when customization is needed. We continue to develop our module structure which provides for a very clean mechanism for adding custom code, which is easy to support and upgrade. The release adds a new simpler and more standardized way for modules to expose buttons that can be added to the myWorld toolbar. Support has been added for a “cache buster” that will automatically force clients to update cached pages whenever code is enhanced or upgraded - this is important in managing changes without requiring any action from users.