20 October 2015
We just released myWorld 2.7, following our usual quarterly release schedule. It includes a number of significant enhancements following our motto of “simple, smart, fast” and significantly has added a true enterprise geospatial search capability against any integrated data.
myWorld’s smart and fast one box search has been a key aspect of the usability of the system since the very first release. It has always let users search both myWorld synced data and Google search services for addresses and more. In 2.6 we introduced a flexible mechanism for adding other data sources into myWorld search. One of the risks of this is that some external data sources may not have adequate performance for autocomplete search as the highly optimized myWorld and Google search provides, so this could slow down search in general.
In 2.7 we have addressed this by re-architecting search so that multiple search services can be called in parallel, and results from different search services are displayed to the user as soon as they are available, without having to wait for all services to return results. Search results are grouped by source, such as myWorld, Google or External, to make things clearer for the user.
myWorld search also shows queries that are available to the user, for example typing “pole” will show queries like “pole in window” and “pole in selection”. The handling of queries has been enhanced in 2.7 also, with queries for a given feature being grouped together in a hierarchical fashion, to make the results list more compact.
These enhancements make search at 2.7 even more powerful, and represent another important step in our efforts to make myWorld truly GIS and data source independent and able to work directly with a wide range of data services and sources.
Vector rendering enhancements
There are two main approaches for drawing maps in web applications: raster and vector graphics. myWorld generally makes use of raster tiles for drawing complex network maps, as they offer very high performance and scalability, and the ability to exactly match the look of existing GIS maps from any vendor. But we have increasingly been using vector graphics for certain types of data, especially as we have large numbers of users doing updates in the field, with applications such as myWorld Damage Assessment and myWorld Inspection and Survey.
This release includes significant performance enhancements for vector map layers. Layers can be defined as static or dynamic and different optimizations are made for each. In general, there is a lot of work in the geo industry on vector drawing capabilities, and we anticipate that we will leverage further improvements from the open source community in upcoming releases.
We continue to see both raster and vector layers being important, each has pros and cons, and choosing which to use for which data is an important aspect of system design. Our goal is to provide as much flexibility as possible for our customers and partners when making that choice.
We continue to make configuration of the system even simpler, and aim over time to be able do more aspects of system customization via the configuration user interface rather than having to write code or edit files. myWorld 2.7 includes several enhancements in this area. The most notable is the ability to create and modify tables directly through the configuration user interface – previously table definition was done by editing and loading files. This provides the foundation for much simpler customization and configuration of items like inspection forms without needing any special technical skills.
myWorld Anywhere sync enhancements
At 2.7, myWorld Anywhere includes a number of enhancements to the offline data sync capabilities. Incremental changes to the data can now be downloaded while connected and then applied to the local database while offline, which significantly reduces the amount of time that a user needs to be connected in order to do a sync.
The user interface for sync has been improved, including progress indicators so a user gets an estimate of how much time is remaining. Database download operations are now more flexible, supporting the ability to download from multiple different sites, and download operations can be automatically resumed in the event of a loss of network connectivity.
These improvements are a direct result of practical experience gained in recent rollouts of thousands of users of the myWorld Anywhere product. Overall we now have over 12,000 users of myWorld everyday, we are proving we can scale to meet the demands of even the largest organizations but aim to continue driving improvements.
As always the 2,7 release also contains a number of other small enhancements and bug fixes – see the product release notes or contact us for full details.