5 Ways to Add a Finishing Touch to Your WAB App

5 Ways to Add a Finishing Touch to Your WAB App

The Web Map and Widgets are the foundation of creating apps in Web AppBuilder (WAB), but there are customizations you can make to add a finishing touch to your app and make it unique.

Because you can't fake accuracy...

You can fake your way through a lot of things in life.  For example, you may be able to fool some folks into thinking you are a baseball expert by coaching a little league team.  Make sure they know the steal sign, teach 'em to catch the ball, and not to swing at anything above their chin... and somehow everyone thinks you're some kind of pro.

So you don't necessarily have to be incredibly knowledgeable about the game or have pitched in the minor leagues to navigate your team through the season.  But there are some things you can't fake, and one of them is GPS accuracy...

Like most GIS folks, you need a good quality GNSS receiver that connects to your mobile device via bluetooth?  Most GIS folks don't need extreme sub-inch accuracy for their mapping project but they do want something that's better than the 8-10 feet they might see from their smartphone or tablet.  Something in the middle like 3-4 feet would be nice (this area is shown to be a missing option as seen in this former post on GPS accuracy).

So let's take a look at some of the latest devices out there available in this realm...

The Trimble R1 GNSS receiver packs a lot of punch into such a small box.  With Bluetooth capabilities for even more versatility.

The Trimble R1 GNSS receiver packs a lot of punch into such a small box.  With Bluetooth capabilities for even more versatility.

1. Trimble R1 GNSS Receiver-  a rugged, compact, lightweight GNSS receiver that provides professional-grade positioning information to any connected mobile device using Bluetooth® connectivity.  Cost =. $2500

2. SXBlue II GNSS- The SXBlue II GNSS is a palm-sized receiver that delivers real-time, high accuracy performance using GPS/GLONASS satellites and free SBAS corrections.  Cost = $2895.

3. EOS Positioning Systems Arrow Series 100 -The Arrow series 100 provides submeter accuracy for comparing with these other models but their line also includes the 200 model which claims to be the world’s first GNSS receiver able to provide 1cm real-time accuracy directly to your Android, iOS and Windows mobile device when connected to an RTK service or base station.  Cost = $2995.

There are many different combinations and ways that you can collect high-accuracy GIS data with mobile devices.  If you're looking for something that is lightweight and filled with performance, one of these units might be just what you are looking for.  We hope to provide some more specific examples and possibly some accuracy reviews (nothing fake) in a future post.


ArcGIS Collector App- Reviewed

It's no secret that Cloudpoint is an Esri Shop. Being in the Business Partner Network, receiving the AGOL Specialist  status ... we drink the kool-aid. I've been like that since forever.

So What? Get over it. 

Still, as skeptical consumers and technologists, there is still a part of us that wants to test. Make sure we're progressing rather than regressing. We want to make sure we know and understand the different options for our customers and what has been released. One of the worst things is to spend 100s of hours with your head down working away on a solution only to find out something very close was released for free or very cost-effectively months ago. (True Story)

Thus enters ArcGIS Collector. If you haven't used Collector and you have an Android or iOS device, go download and try it out. I don't have the time and you don't have the attention span to  address all the merits of the app. It's good. If you're in GIS, You should use it. 

Initially released as a Native iOS iPhone only app, Collector has had an upgrade recently and I want to compare new vs old:

New (10.2)

  • Optimized for iPad
  • Less Menus
  • Set GPS Accuracy Tolerance
  • Edit Lines!!
  • Addition of Bookmarks
  • Easier Basemap Switching

Old (10.1.12)

  • Quicker Menus
  • Further "Zoom" Ratio
  • More simple interface
  • Better Battery life
  • Map Icons Larger
  • Legend (albeit Buried)

Spoiler: I have the Old App here as a Zip file, Install it through iTunes & turn off Automatic Updates. 

Admittedly, there's no benchmarks for the battery life, and it could be that the iPads hare just older.  But the Zoom-In thing is real, because you have to 2x the app since it was built for the iPhone, that magnifies everything, icons, imagery etc. Sure if you go back to 1x or native resolution, everything is the same, but try explaining that to 10 burly Electrical Workers complaining about the update. 

Menus. This might seem like a 'small thing' as well but it takes a few seconds longer to enter information. You have to move across the screen to close the box or choose a drop-down. A few seconds times 10,000... now wer're talking real productivity. 


The Newer iPad app may have some problems and quirks, but so did the old app as well does the Android. The perspective we keep is that it's a great tool. And outweighing all of these issues is the fact that you can Edit Lines!!! Seriously that's huge. Aerial imagery is crucial. The GPS is never accurate enough to use in collection, but it'll get you to the right side of the street to click on the map. 

----- Update for Android Device -----

This is from Paul. Using the Android out on a Sign Inventory:

So the Android didn't work out so well. I went to use it when the iPad was getting low... Right off the bat I noticed the GPS was taking longer to settle. I found that I could complete taking a point but it would not submit. After messing about a while I figured I was starting to kill time so I used the inverter I had with me (thanks Jon!) with the iPad for the remainder of the day. It was a pain to keep it on life support, but it worked out.

I planned on doing some research this evening but found the Samsung acting erratic - locking up, powering down and giving internet access problems warnings. So I would say its the definitely something with the device...I did get it to act normal again after powering it down and back on, so I'll give it another go tomorrow and report back.

And here's the review-to-date. It's certainly not a fair assessment at this point but there are a few things I noted today:


  • Switching between saved users instead of entering username/password each time
  • Zooms in closer


  • Doesn’t work
  • GPS Location less responsive
  • Must reach across screen when adding more than one picture
  • Must reach across screen when submitting a feature
  • Portrait-only mode
  • Screen seems less responsive (may just be the case type)


I will really miss the strap on the LifeProof case. It allows you to hold the tablet securely without a constant grip

Jon Made a video on how to use Collector:

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