The first version of Bentley Map Mobile, a Bentley app that empowers infrastructure professionals to share Bentley Map geospatial information with field technicians via Android-based mobile devices, was released recently.
In a conversation with Richard Zambuni, global marketing director, geospatial and utilities at Bentley Systems, he said that the Bentley Map Mobile project was initiated through an engagement with a telecommunications company who requested they start development work on it. “Although it works with any class of infrastructure that is managed geospatially it was an engagement with telecommunications firm that initiated the project,” said Zambuni. It is “very much a first release, and it will be available in the future on other operating systems. For upcoming releases, we are looking at including redlining, inserting special objects, editing object attributes, to support different workflows. Bentley is working on closed loop workflows in the cloud for bringing in data. Users can publish spatial data as an i-model and it can be consumed on the Android device. They can use very large datasets and the performance is excellent.”
“A lot of our users will want to support specific workflows with this technology on mobile devices, so we have an SDK to help them develop what they need,” said Zambuni. “This will be able to be tailored to individual organizations. We will provide redlining, and object editing out of the box in future releases, but the more specific forms-based interaction with the data will probably have to be created by the users themselves using consultants. Some will have programming resources in house.”
Spatial information on smart devices is something Bentley has been moving toward for some time as the consumerization of physical formats has coincided with the ability to view and interact with very large datasets. Plans for further releases on different operating systems are in the works; next on the list is the iOS platform.
Bentley Mobile Map is available publicly but users can only publish to Bentley Map Mobile from Bentley software. There is a free publishing utility to create i-models which works with Bentley Map Enterprise, Bentley Utilities Designer, and Bentley’s communications products, including Bentley Coax, Bentley Copper, Bentley Fiber, and Bentley Inside Plant. These are Bentley’s geospatial products that are application-specific.
“Although you can’t publish from Esri products such as ArcGIS or ArcMap directly,” explains Zambuni. “You can bring in shapefiles to Bentley Map and publish out through Bentley Map to Bentley Map Mobile, but you have to bring the data into a DGN environment to publish out.”
When this technology is deployed , it will mostly be at a departmental level to support departmental workflows, which may require that users develop their own “flavor” of the app on top of the SDK. The SDK enables organizations to make the app as light and simple to use as possible – to be used in the field by many people inside and outside of the organization who are not GIS professionals, such as construction and engineering teams, installation and maintenance teams, and inspectors.
From the press release:
Bentley Map Mobile provides the following functionality:
- fast access to large geospatial data sets;
- easy-to-use, standard tablet-based gestures such as pinch to zoom, swipe to drag, point to select features, etc.;
- simple query mechanism to look up features quickly;
- GPS integration for fast location in the field;
- Google Maps integration for directions to located features (with network connection);
- disconnected, view-only operation for access anywhere, without a network connection;
- raster and vector display.
The advantages of Bentley Map Mobile include:
- improving the quality of decisions made by field personnel by providing quick access to accurate, up-to-date asset information;
- increasing worker safety by having access to current information as well as information on adjacent utilities that might have an impact on the work they are completing;
- increasing the return on investment in geospatial data by making this valuable data available to an entirely new group of users.
Bentley Map Mobile is available to all Bentley Passport holders at no additional charge and can be accessed at www.bentley.com/BentleyMapMobile.