Providers of data services need to equip their customers with real-time reports of the highest quality to enable them to make time-sensitive decisions effectively. Gulf Publishing, a premium provider of in-depth data describing energy industry assets, had explored existing off-the-shelf solutions and found that some were overly burdensome to configure, others would not integrate fully with their existing data, and others still yielded an underwhelming final product for their users. No matter where they looked, they were unable to find software that offered a satisfactory experience for serving up their extensive, authoritative, and spatially-enabled energy asset data in an easily digestible format.
The team at dymaptic, with our decades of experience helping clients present data in ways that are useful and usable, had seen this problem many times before. In fact, we had found the lack of quality report generation tools that can flexibly integrate large amounts of data of differing types to be so commonplace and so onerous that we had already decided to put our engineering skills to work on developing a software product to address this need. While we believe that the targeted development of custom software is often the right solution for many client requirements, we had seen this particular need enough that we thought we could address it broadly through an off-the-shelf offering of our own making.
When Gulf Publishing engaged us about their reporting needs, we were in the final stages of developing our in-house reporting product, called infomaptic. Infomaptic provides a web application that can generate an HTML or PDF report from live data retrieved from ArcGIS services. These can include maps, images, charts, labels and field names, aliases, and values. But beyond simply displaying data, infomaptic reports are highly configurable. Report elements can be displayed conditionally based on data values, values can be flexibly interspersed with other values and text, and report elements can be positioned and formatted to exacting specifications to create a pixel-perfect representation of the data.
Though we were not quite ready to release infomaptic publicly, the capabilities Gulf Publishing was looking for aligned so well with what our product could offer that we decided to show them what we were building. They agreed that infomaptic fit their needs perfectly. So we installed a pre-release copy of the software on our client’s infrastructure and configured a report template to retrieve and display their energy asset data from a feature layer and related tables. With infomaptic, viewing this report for a feature could be done by simply navigating to a URL consisting of the location where the infomaptic application was hosted, the report template ID, and the ID of the feature for which to generate the report. To link features in the layer with the report at the database level, we added a column to the features’ table containing the URL to the report for each feature. This URL, in turn, was surfaced in Gulf Publishing’s mapping applications when viewing information about a feature. In this way, users of these applications could go from seeing a feature on a map to pulling up a detailed and aesthetically pleasing custom report just by clicking on a link.
The Bottom Line
At dymaptic, we understand the power of tailoring software solutions to each client’s specific needs. But we also have the depth of experience to spot common problems, so we recognized how the lack of high quality, flexible, easy-to-use, GIS-ready reporting software was limiting our clients’ abilities to leverage the full power of their GIS data. Given our team members’ long and varied histories with all facets of software development, we also have the know-how to implement the kind of ready-to-use software that can effectively anticipate and efficiently resolve just these kinds of problems. So we developed infomaptic, our richly featured, highly configurable, GIS-friendly report generation software package. With infomaptic, we were able to provide Gulf Publishing with precisely the kind of extensive energy asset reports they were seeking and to integrate viewing of those reports seamlessly into their existing data exploration experiences.
While Gulf Publishing may have been our first infomaptic customer, they are far from our last, and all of our users have been impressed by its capabilities. We now offer infomaptic to all our clients as an on-premises installation, and we will soon be launching a cloud-hosted version for beta testing. And although our work with Gulf Publishing showed just how effective infomaptic’s report generation engine can be, we at dymaptic have since added a full-featured, interactive, drag and drop report template creation and configuration experience. With this report template editor, GIS technicians, data administrators, or other technically inclined users can quickly and easily create highly polished custom reports.
To learn more about what infomaptic is and how it works, head over to https://www.infomaptic.com. If you’d like to be notified when the beta is available or have any questions, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web AppBuilder, infomaptic, ArcGIS Online