GIS Mobile Comparison

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This page is used to describe comparisons between GeoSpatial Mobile applications to help users select suitable applications for their requirements.

Contents

Abstract

Conference
FOSS4G 2010
Title
A comparison of Mobile GIS applications
Authors
  • Miguel Montesinos (CTO at Prodevelop).
  • Javier Carrasco (Geospatial Technical Leader at Prodevelop).
Abstract
Free and open source software for GIS has evolved a lot from last years, faster than privative alternatives and now every FOSS4G expert has several very good tools to use on desktop PCs and web.
The mobile field is a bit different and few experts are using free and open source mobile GIS, despite of good applications exist. Last years with the appearance of Android OS phones a new wave of map applications have been developed.
At this talk, different mobile GIS applications will be analyzed, compared and tabulated.
The objectives are:
  • To provide a detailed list of FOSS mobile GIS applications
  • Find how far are free and open source software from privative alternatives
  • Help to choose the best tool for every project
The main aspects of the comparison will be: functionality, complexity, customizability, formats compatibility and performance and the applications compared will be: ArcPad, gvSIG Mobile, BeeGIS, TangoGPS, Google Maps Mobile, gvSIG Mini, Layar and others

Product List

gvSIG Mobile

gvSIG Mobile is a project aimed to develop a free and open source GIS/SDI client on mobile devices.

gvSIG Mobile is a version of gvSIG Desktop an OSGeo project under incubation, adapted for mobile devices, with support for shapefiles, GPX, KML, GML, ECW, WMS and images, capable of using GPS. Among its features there are tools for project management, display of local and remote information (via WMS standard), layers management (symbols), querying alphanumeric information of the elements, editing data using customized forms, creating GPS tracklogs/waypoints and so on.


Feature Value
Name gvSIG Mobile
Version 0.3 / 1.0 alpha
Release Date November 2009
Open-Source Yes
Free (cost) Yes
Website http://www.gvsig.org/web/projects/gvsig-mobile/description-2/view?set_language=en
Main Organization gvSIG Association
User Documentation Yes (English, Spanish, German)
Languages English, Spanish, French, German, Italian

gvSIG Mini

gvSIG Mini is a free viewer of free access maps based on tiles (OpenStreetMap, ...), with a WMS, WMS-C client, address and POI search, routes, hybrid location and more things.


Feature Value
Name gvSIG Mini
Version 1.0
Release Date September 2010
Open-Source Yes
Free (cost) Yes
Website http://www.gvsigmini.org
Main Organization Prodevelop / gvSIG Association
User Documentation Yes (English)
Languages English, Spanish, German, Italian


Enebro

Enebro allows view and editing vectorial cartogarphic information, also allows visualizing images and navigation using GPS systems. It is a useful tool for field work related with field inventory, territorial inspection, field work data revision, etc.


Feature Value
Name Enebro
Version 2.0.37
Release Date August 2008
Open-Source Yes
Free (cost) Yes
Website http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/repositorio/usuario/listado/fichacompleta.jsf?idProyecto=490
Main Organization Junta de Andalucía / Guadaltel
User Documentation Yes (Spanish)
Languages Spanish

ArcPad

ArcPad is designed for GIS professionals who require GIS capabilities in the field. It gives field-based personnel the ability to capture, edit, analyze, and display geographic information easily and efficiently.

Feature Value
Name ArcPad
Version 10
Release Date June 2010
Open-Source No
Free (cost) No (aprox. $700.00 single-user license)
Website http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcpad/index.html
Main Organization ESRI
User Documentation Yes (English, Spanish ¿other languages?)
Languages Chinese (Hong Kong), Chinese (Simplified), Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Spanish, Swedish

tangoGPS

tangoGPS is an easy to use, fast and lightweight mapping application for use with or without GPS. It runs on any Linux platform. By default tangoGPS uses map data from the Openstreetmap project. Additionally a variety of other repositories can be easily added.

Feature Value
Name tangoGPS
Version 0.99.4
Release Date June 2010
Open-Source Yes
Free (cost) Yes
Website http://www.tangogps.org/
Author Marcus Bauer
User Documentation Yes (English)
Languages English

FoxtrotGPS

FoxtrotGPS is an offshoot of tangoGPS application, with a focus on cooperation and fostering community innovation. It runs on any Linux platform. It aims at covering some features of TangoGPS not 100% open-source (used Web services, templates for GUI generation, ...). It's in a preliminary stage as of Sept-2010.

Feature Value
Name FoxtrotGPS
Version 1.0.1
Release Date May 2011
Open-Source Yes
Free (cost) Yes
Website http://www.foxtrotgps.org/
Author Community around a mailing list at OSGeo
User Documentation No (English)
Languages English


Open-Source Comparative

Here, a comparison of important open-source features is displayed for every product being analyzed.

Name Progr. Language Open Source License Public Version Control Public Bugtracker Mailing List Developer Doc. Active Development Contributors
gvSIG Mobile[1] Java ME - CDC Yes GPL 2+ Yes (SVN) Yes Yes (Very Active) Partial Yes 7
gvSIG Mini[1] Java ME CLDC / Java Android Yes GPL 2+ Yes (SVN) No Yes (Active) Yes Yes 4
enebro[2] C++ Yes Non-standard/Under request No No No No No Unknown
ArcPad[3] C++ No N/A No No Yes (Very Active) Yes Unknown Unknown
TangoGPS[4] C Yes GPL 2 No No Yes (Active) No Yes Marcos Bauer + helps
FoxtrotGPS[5] C Yes GPL 2 Yes Yes Yes Partial Yes 3

Target Platform Comparison

Name Open Source W. Mobile Java CLDC Android iPhone Linux PDA Windows PC Linux PC
gvSIG Mobile Yes Yes(WM 2003/5/6) No No No Yes OpenMoko, Maemo Yes (W 2000/XP) Yes
gvSIG Mini Yes Yes(JVM) Yes Yes (Android 1.5 - 2.2) No No No No
Enebro Yes Yes (WM 2003/5/6) No No No No Yes (W 2000/XP) Yes (Guadalinex v.3.0.1)
ArcPad No Yes (WM 2003/5/6) No No No No Yes No
TangoGPS Yes No No No No Yes No Yes
FoxtrotGPS Yes No No No No Yes No Yes

Feature Comparison

TBD

Feature gvSIG Mobile 1.0 alpha gvSIG Mobile 0.3 Enebro tangoGPS / FoxtrotGPS ArcPad gvSIG Mini Layar
Multilayer Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Only public point layers
Multiple coordinate systems Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No
Symbology (change representation)
— Simple Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
— Scale Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
— Labeling Yes No No No Yes No No
— Range Yes Yes No No Yes No No
— Unique value Yes No No No Yes No No
Hyperlink No No Yes No Yes No Yes
Find by attributes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Online only Yes Online only
Offline support
— shapefiles Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
— GML Yes Yes No No No No No
— KML Yes Yes No No No No No
— GPX Yes Yes No Yes No No No
— ECW Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
— MrSid No No Yes No Yes No No
— Jpeg2000 No No No No Yes No No
— tiles No No No Yes No Yes No
Online support
— WMS Yes Yes No No No Yes No
— WFS Yes No No No No No No
— WFS-T No No No No No No No
— tiles No No No Yes No Yes No
— ArcIMS No No No No Yes No No
GPS
— Satellite information Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
— External GPS support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown
— GPS aided editing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
— tracklog storage Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
— waypoint storage Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
— Real-Time DGPS No No No Yes Yes No No
— Vertex point averaging Yes Yes No No Yes No No
Editing
— Geometry editing Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
— New layers creation No No No No No No No
— Alphanumeric editing Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
— Custom Forms Yes Yes No No Yes No Partial
— Attribute table editing Yes No No No Yes No No
— Split and union No No No No Yes No No
— Sketch Partial No No No Yes No No
— Snapping Yes No No No Yes No No
— Export Yes No No No No No
Extensibility through plugins Yes No No No Yes No No
Custom toolbars No No No No Yes No No
Prices
Ease to use Medium Medium Medium Easy Easy Easy Easy
Ease to install Hard Medium Easy Easy Easy Easy Easy
Spread (google search results number) 35.500 35.500 12.200 18.200 + 6.180 147.000 3.970 2.200.000
Speed
Camera support No No No No Yes No Yes
Rangefinder support No No No No Yes No No
Code language J2ME CDC PP J2ME CDC PP C++ Java VB Android + Midp2 Android


Perfomance Comparison

Used Datasets

For testing the perfomance of the applications, OSGeo available datasets for FOSS4G 2010 have been used. Shapefiles fo several sizes have been loaded on a PDA for vectorial comparison.

For raster comparison, an official ortophotograph coming from the Spanish National Mapping Agency (CNIG - Centro Nacional de Información Geográfica) of Barcelona area has been downloaded in ECW format. This image has also been clipped to two image sizes. GDAL utilities has been used for clipping and resampling.

The layers used for the speed perfomance test have been these ones:

Datasource Geometry Type Number of Features Category Size
Vectorial Layers
point-layers-for-geometry.shp Point 265 Small 241 KB
motorway.shp Polyline 79 Small 106 KB
settlement.shp Polygon 257 Small 152 KB
ramp.shp Polyline 635 Medium 334 KB
industry.shp Polygon 5070 Large 1,34 MB
contour.shp Polyline 3429 Large 12,8 MB
Raster Layers
bcn_recorte_5000.ecw Raster (ECW) 5000 x 5000 px Medium 7,5 MB
bcn_recorte.ecw Raster (ECW) 14273 x 21693 px Large 82,9 MB

Designed Tests

Methodology

The heterogeneity of platforms and products makes it difficult to desing a common test for all the products. A common test have been designed for Windows Mobile platform, the most powerful in terms of GIS features so far.

The formats supported by the different products are not homogeneous. For instance, only gvSIG Mobile can load vetorial formats other than SHP (GML, KML, ...). On the other hand, gvSIG Mobile only supports ECW as wavelet raster formats, and not MrSID or JPEG 2000. So only common tests have been made in order to get the differences.

Access to remote services hasn't been compared, as ArcPad only accesses ArcIMS/ArcGIS servers, and not standardized ones (WMS, WFS, ...).

Note: As of today, we haven't been able to load a ECW in ArcPad, although it supports this format. (Maybe ArcPad doesn't like GDAL ECW clipping or resampling results).

Speed tests have been made in the same PDA. All of them have been made with no other application running on the PDA. Datasets have been read from the storage card.

Time measurement

The binaries have been used in a PDA to measure the results. The times have been taken manually with a stopwatch. In order to minimize the human error, all the measurements have been taken at least 3 times, and an average have been made. 0,2 seconds have been substracted to all measured times, for removing human response time effects.

Some of the measurements are too fast to be measured by a manual action with a stopwatch. So all measures under 0,2 seconds have been homogenized to 0,2 seconds, with the understanding that it's fast enough to not perceive a delay from the point of view of the user.

Speed test cases

For the three Windows Mobile GIS products (gvSIG Mobile, enebro and ArcPad), the following test have been performed:

  • Vectorial support:
    • Adding a new SHP layer.
    • Zooming by rectangle to a small area.
    • Panning when in the small area.
    • Fit all (zoom to extent).
  • Raster support:
    • Adding a new raster layer.
    • Zooming by rectangle to a small area.
    • Panning when in the small area.
    • Fit all (zoom to extent).

These tests have been executed for every layer.

Device details

The device used for testing has been this one:

  • Model: Acer S200.
  • Processor: Qualcomm QSD8250, running at 1 GHz.
  • SDRAM: 256 MB.
  • ROM: 512 KB.
  • Screen: 480x800 pixels.
  • Operative system: Windows Mobile 6.5

Perfomance Results

Perfomance results have been grouped in 3 categories:

  • Low and medium sized vectorial tests. These tests have shown very fast time response.
  • Large sized vectorial tests. Due to slow time responses, a different group has been made to not share a common scale time with low and medium tests.
  • Raster tests.

Low & medium vectorial speed tests

A chart with the response times is displayed below:

Vectorial test for low and medium files
Low & medium vectorial speed tests of Mobile GIS products

Large vectorial speed tests

A chart with the response times is displayed below:

Vectorial test for Large files
Large vectorial speed tests of Mobile GIS products

Raster speed tests

A chart with the response times is displayed below:

Raster test
Raster speed tests of Mobile GIS products

When trying to zoom to very small areas, Enebro doesn't finish the action (at least within first 5 minutes, which we've considered to be long enough as a user waiting time out before cancelling) neither in medium nor large raster sizes. We've preferred to include the good response time of Enebro in the chart, instead of infinite response time.

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