5 Reasons to Ditch Desktop GIS and Go Mobile

Mappt on tablet

Mobile devices have granted us increased flexibility, convenience and, well, mobility!

Activities that were previously restricted or tied to a location can now be carried out wherever we choose, as long as we have our mobile device with us.

A really good example of this is GIS. Previously restricted to desktop computers, we can now take GIS software with us out to the field to collect data on the fly.

This post will highlight five benefits of mobile GIS apps (specifically Mappt, as we don’t guarantee that other mobile GIS apps have the same capabilities) over their desktop counterparts. 

1. Improve your workflow

Mobility isn’t the only advantage of having your GIS on a mobile device. Your tablet or phone will likely have other capabilities outside of the GIS app, you can eliminate unnecessary steps in your workflow. As an example, your mobile device should have a camera, which means you can put photos directly into your GIS app along with your recorded data. You won’t need to fiddle with importing your photos on a computer and then matching it up with your data. 

2. Reduce data entry errors

Since your data recording and data input phases can now be combined, you can reduce the possibility of errors. Errors are less likely to occur with the elimination of unnecessary steps; human errors are usually introduced when the data recorded is input for processing. 


3. Ease of use

In general, mobile GIS apps are extremely user-friendly. This is in comparison to your standard desktop GIS software, which usually has a steep learning curve. Also, the intuitive interface enabled by touch-screen mobile devices (think intuitive gestures) lets you pick up how to use the software far quicker.

4. Touch Screens

Speaking of touch-screen, mobile GIS apps have all the benefits that come with using a touch screen: you can draw, label, and annotate right on your map, imagery and data. Having these capabilities allow for a more dynamic workflow; these inputs will be saved as a data point that you can further process.



5. Cost-effectiveness

Mobile GIS apps are usually far more cost-effective than their desktop counterparts. As an example, Mappt subscriptions can be as low as USD $4 per month (Mappt Lite), whereas desktop software tends to be priced in the thousands.

Granted, more complex analytics usually aren’t possible on mobile, however these processes are highly specialised and usually aren’t needed when you’re out in the field – you wouldn’t be running logarithmic transformations on your data when you’re out in the field, would you? Even if you did need these more specialised tools, you could always contact us and see if we can help you adapt Mappt to your needs!


What are your thoughts on mobile devices and their increased use, especially for the field of GIS? Start the conversation by commenting below!