A new mobile solution for field data collection and visualization

Touch GIS
Touch GIS
Jan 19, 2018 · 2 min read

Many years ago we developed GPS Kit, a replacement for handheld recreational GPS units. The big innovation? It was an app that ran on an iPhone. Users loved the large screen, easy-to-use gestures, and the fact that they could use the device that was always with them.

And then the odd requests started pouring in…

Users were asking for all kinds of features. Some made sense, some didn’t. A common request was the ability to draw lines and polygons. Why would a hiker or mountain biker need to draw a polygon and attach attributes to it? Turns out these users weren’t recreating… they were collecting field data.

GIS Kit/Pro is born

After learning about this new group of customers, we decided to develop GIS Kit & GIS Pro. We talked to customers, did lots of research, and became intimatly familiar with things like Shapefiles. A year later, we launched the apps to a warm welcome. Many found that certain field collection practices were just better on an iPad on iPhone. We’d created something powerful, and we were proud of that. But there were some issues.

Apple’s limitations, a poor business model

Typical software of this caliber is sold on an annual basis with renewing contracts. Apple did not allow recurring subscriptions when GIS Kit & GIS Pro were released. They gave us virtually no vehicle to charge for upgrades. The development was complicated, and our support costs were increasing. As a result, we made the decision to not actively develop the product.

We have released several updates to GIS Kit and GIS Pro over the years, but these have mostly been to patch issues and maintain some level of stability on new versions of iOS. These releases have not always been stable, and we apologize for this.

So what now?

We’ve taken the time to survey and talk to many active GIS Kit/Pro users. The responses have been enlightening. We discovered that over 72% of active users have been using the platform for over 4 years. We realized that many people are still relying on our software to get their jobs done — and we are letting them down.

Renewed vision

Recent learnings have lead to many discussions on how to make our GIS platform better for our users, and a viable business for us. As a result, we have completely overhauled GIS Kit/Pro’s codebase and introduced Touch GIS.

We also invite you to share your thoughts, requests, and questions with us: joe@touchgis.app

Written by

Touch GIS

Powerful field data collection & visualization for iPad/iPhone.

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