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myWorld 4.1 offers improved integration with Google basemaps, and much more…

20 July 2017

Peter Batty, CTO, Geospatial

During 2016, we released three new versions of myWorld, adding major functionality to external datasources (the ability to work directly with ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Online, OGC WMS and WFS data services) and more flexible offline data sync options (including on demand extract to work with both internal and external datasources).

In March 2017, we released myWorld 4.1 with a range of customer requested enhancements, new features to make the product easier to maintain and enhance in the future, and significant upgrades for underlying open source components. This blog focuses on the main changes and some other related points of interest.

Leaflet 1.0 upgrade

myWorld is based on the Leaflet JavaScript library, one of the most popular web mapping libraries. In September 2016, Leaflet received a major upgrade that delivered a wide range of performance and functional improvements that we can take advantage of, both now and in future releases.

One of these is improved integration with Google basemaps, which now zoom and pan much more smoothly than they did in Leaflet previously. Very early versions of myWorld used the Google Maps JavaScript API, but we switched to Leaflet as it is critical for our customers to be able to run myWorld offline (Google does not permit offline use of either their JavaScript library or their data). During our testing of Leaflet 1.0 with Google Maps we found a few issues and one of our developers, Luis Camacho, worked on a number of fixes and enhancements which he contributed back to the open source project. Luis is now second biggest contributor to this project, after its primary author Ivan Sanchez.

Another benefit from Leaflet 1.0 is significant improvements to the vector graphics editing capabilities. Previously there were two modes, one for data creation and one for data modification, but these are now integrated into a single editing mode, which improves usability. This also adds some functional enhancements, such as the ability to edit polygons with holes.

A third benefit enabled by Leaflet 1.0 is the ability to overzoom on tiled map layers. So, for example, if tiles have been generated to level 18, you can configure the layer so that users can zoom in to level 19 or 20. This can significantly reduce data volumes for offline databases by 3x or even 10x, depending on the requirements of the application and the degree to which users can accept a slight reduction in graphical quality when offline. This is a major benefit for our customers who manage very large offline databases for their field technicians.

Enhanced mobile app integration

Another important improvement in myWorld 4.1 is the ability to start myWorld Anywhere, our mobile application for Android, iOS and Windows, from a link, specifying information such as map co-ordinates, map layers, and custom parameters if needed. The main driver for this is integration with other mobile applications such as workforce management. For example, you could click on a button or a link in the workforce management application and the myWorld application would open at the location associated with the selected job. The same principle can be used in reverse too, assuming that the other application supports a similar concept, so the user could click a button in myWorld to return to an appropriate form in the workforce management application. We have had this capability in myWorld Connected, our browser based application, for a long time and this enhancement brings the mobile app in line. myWorld supports other integration mechanisms too, including various options at the data level and the ability to embed myWorld maps and other functionality in other applications.

Configuration enhancements

One of the key differentiators of myWorld is its extensive configuration application, which enables administrators to control many aspects of the system without requiring any programming. Among other things, the configuration application enables the creation and deployment of new applications focused on specific business processes, management of users and groups and their rights to access data and functionality (integrated with ActiveDirectory), definition of map layers, queries and searches, and control over various aspects of the user interface and behavior of the application.

myWorld 4.1 includes some signification enhancements to the configuration application. We have introduced authorization to control access to different aspects of the configuration application, so that we can specify, for example, that certain users have access to create and maintain map layers only, and others can manage user and group access to applications. Previously we just had a single “administrator” right that allowed access to all aspects of the configuration application, but as our customer projects have grown to many thousands of users, we have had requests to support larger numbers of administrative users, with the ability to constrain individuals to only be able to access specified subsets of administrative functionality.

In addition, the configuration application supports new grid views of configuration information, to make it easier to review and ensure consistency between configuration information for different features, layers etc. It is now possible to duplicate existing configuration records for convenience. We have also added direct links to relevant documentation from all the main pages in the application.

Summary

In addition to the functionality described above, myWorld 4.1 contains a number of other enhancements and bug fixes, which are listed in the product release notes. Overall, myWorld 4.1 is another step forward in the rapid evolution of myWorld that has positioned it as the leading geospatial web and mobile platform for large infrastructure companies. This is due to its outstanding performance, scalability, and its ability to spatially organize your enterprise data and make it easily usable by anyone, anywhere.


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