Hello folks! Yvonne Jones here, Marketing Manager, with ROK. For this month's update we have decided to pick the brain of one of our GIS Developers, Jay Fowler, and discuss his thoughts on our ability for custom applications, specifically our client SiteTech.
YJ: Good Morning Jay, thanks for taking the time with us this morning.
JF: Good Morning Yvonne, not a problem.
YJ: Ok, ROK offers custom applications. Is that geared towards certain applications, or?
JF: First off, ROK's custom applications are designed and implemented to satisfy the customer's needs. We sit down and look at a client's workflows, data, and desired product and we tailor development. The majority of our custom applications have a spatial component. That does not mean that they all have a map involved, but rather they answer questions and communicate information regarding data interacting with location. Sometimes this needs to go a step further and allow for users to interact and edit data. ROK's custom applications are geared towards the client.
YJ: What makes SiteTech a unique client?
JF: Site Tech is a unique client because they have a large amount of non-spatial data that they needed to tie into GIS spatial data. Because of the method and frequency at which the client obtains their data, we could not simply set up a join and create a static feature. We needed a system that would join the data and be able to be updated frequently. to do this, ROK used spatial joins and created views in SQL Management Studio. To improve the speed of user interaction with the data we indexed tables, did some database engine tuning, and automated the update of a feature class from the spatial view. The updating process is a massive undertaking. We have had to continuously hone in on the most efficient and consistent method to keep the site running. Data Management has been a large component of this application's implementation.
When it came to setting up Site Tech's One Source web application, we started with ROK's standard Flex based GoMaps solution... but then injected it with steroids. This is an example of customizing one of ROK's existing products. We had to control what data a user could see and query based upon user authorization. We transformed the way results were generated when querying by search criteria or geometry as Site Tech's One Source is a parcel based application. Searches (property, foreclosure, MLS, etc...) generate different result grids composed to communicate information about that search, but in the end they all led back to the parcel. We customized reports in a similar manner.
Finally, ROK was asked to take over managing the user login infrastructure. We took what Site Tech was using and worked to make the transition as painless as possible. To do this, ROK set up a login management portal that used a .NET framework. It is user friendly and allows for Site Tech's staff to add, edit, and delete users and their attributes. ROK then used various stored procedures in the Site Tech database to ensure that users were authenticated and authorized upon load of Site Tech's One Source application. Upon leaving the application, users are automatically logged out of the system. It was necessary to ensure that one login was not being used by multiple parties so we monitor activity and have a backup procedure in place that logs out users if an older browser has failed to do so upon close of the window or navigation to a new web page.
JF: The implementation was fairly common. Due to the complex and custom needs of the client, development of the application build took longer than it normally would. We got everything working in ROK's beta environment and then transitioned to our new cloud based production environment. We then set Site Tech up with their own instance on our SQL Server and troubleshot connection issues. The end product is that Site Tech can connect to their Enterprise database through SQL Management Studio or ArcCatalog. This allows them to have autonomy over their data and update as they need to.
YJ: Can other companies benefit from this?
JF: Any company that needs application development will benefit from getting in touch with ROK. We love working through ideas, needs, and workflows so that we can in turn develop an application tailored for a client. If you are interested in GoMaps, want to customize GoMaps, or need an application (desktop or mobile) designed and developed from the ground up, ROK is ready. Just shoot us a call or an email.
YJ: Thank you so much for taking the time and insight.
JF: No problem, my pleasure
YJ: If you have further questions for Jay, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org