ArcGIS Apps, Which One is Right?

ArcGIS has an app for everyone, but which one is right for you or your business? This depends largely on your envisioned workflows and to some extent on your preferences. This article describes two illustrative GIS-enabled workflows to highlight some of the key apps included in ArcGIS.

Field to Office Workflow

Let’s illustrate the sequential steps of a field to office workflow with the scenario of an electric utility company like Kenya Power:

  1. The network management team uses ArcGIS Pro to maintain accurate, and current digital maps of the entire power grid, including power plants, transmission lines, substations, transformers, distribution lines and meters. They also use ArcGIS Pro to share digital maps with co-workers and the public to provide access to relevant information when it becomes available.
  2. Work orders are assigned to field workers remotely from the office with Workforce for ArcGIS on a regular basis, and get updated when a need arises (e.g. emergency). Field workers use Workforce for ArcGIS on their mobile device to update the status of their assigned work orders in real time.
  3. Field workers use Navigator for ArcGIS on a mobile device to obtain the best route and driving directions to their next work assignment.
  4. Field workers use Collector for ArcGIS to map the location of new assets like meters or transformers or update the status of an existing asset (e.g. meter not working). They also use Collector for ArcGIS to take photos and attach it to an asset or location.
  5. Office workers including supervisors, managers, and decision-makers use Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS to monitor field operations, the status of the power grid, and Key Performance Indicators in real time.

Urban Planning Workflow

A local government like Nairobi County Council could use an entirely different set of apps in their planning workflow as illustrated below:

  1. Planners use Esri CityEngine to develop and share urban development master plans in 2D and 3D, and predict their impact on traffic. They also use Esri CityEngine to issue and enforce building permits in observance of zoning regulations and county by-laws.
  2. Planners use GeoPlanner for ArcGIS to create alternative planning scenarios, and to measure and evaluate their impact on the built environment. They also leverage GeoPlanner for ArcGIS as a collaborative planning tool.
  3. Data analysts, governors and administrators use Insights for ArcGIS to study the cost-effectiveness and financial sustainability of alternative planning scenarios in their decision-making.


I have just illustrated how ArcGIS apps work together in functional workflows, which tend to be industry-specific. I trust this enables you to identify GIS-enabled workflows and relevant ArcGIS apps within your organization. Please contact me for further help and share your thoughts with us.

About Author:

Willy Simons came to Kenya from The Netherlands in 1994. He is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Oakar Services, Esri Eastern Africa and Spatiality. He blogs about business, geospatial technology and cloud computing.