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GCN : January 2014
Agencies using Esri's ArcGIS can now create location-aware apps and location-based alerts for iPhone and Android mobile devices. To do so, developers can download a public beta version of Esri's cloud-based Geotrig- ger Service to create mobile geofenc- ing applications, according to Esri. Geofencing --- the creation of a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area --- is among a number of technolo- gies that merge the real-time collection and sharing of location data. Esri's Geotrigger Service allows developers to build apps based on Esri's ArcGIS to quickly gather intelligence on where users are when the app is used. Devel- opers can also design apps that send messages to users when they arrive at or leave areas de ned by a geofence. Used for years by public- and pri- vate-sector transportation managers to track eet vehicles, geofencing helps improve safety and minimize theft and inappropriate use. The technology can also protect high-security facilities by alerting managers when people or assets enter or leave authorized areas. State and local governments use geo- fencing in applications as diverse as ankle bracelets for people under house arrest and the push noti cations sent to phones about accidents, missing persons or other emergencies. What makes Geotrigger different than other location-based offerings is that it is a cloud-based service that interacts with individual users instead of any and all users who happen to be within a given fenced location. When the mobile user with a Geotrig- ger app enters a geofenced area, the Geotrigger cloud service executes a developer-de ned action, which may be sending information to the user, tracking the user's time within the geo- fence or sending noti cation to another party about the user's presence. If an engineer and a security specialist enter the same location on a military base, for example, each may be provided with a unique set of notes speci c to their needs. The free, downloadable package for developers includes Geotrigger Editor, a client-side Web application for creat- ing and editing Geotrigger rules. Using this tool, developers can draw trigger boundaries on maps, as well as de ne and edit application triggers. Geotrigger relies on technology developed by Geoloqi, which Esri pur- chased in 2012. The Geotrigger service also claims to be relatively undemand- ing on mobile device battery life, thanks to algorithms that take into account the relative proximity of the user to a geo- fence. Traf c between the user's device and the cloud service is reduced when the user is farther from a geofence. Esri is encouraging developers to try the Geotrigger service API and its iPhone and Android SDKs for free until its expected release in early 2014. • Esri opens Geotrigger geofencing app tool BY PATRICK MARSHALL As the accuracy of GPS signals improve, the number of geofencing applications is growing, according to Esri, which said Geotrigger is ideally suited for such purposes as: • Protecting private digital data when a user is outside an unauthorized area. • Computing users' dwell time at specific locations. • Allowing fieldworkers to leave notes and data at places for other others to receive upon arrival at that location. • Monitoring fieldworkers' location in real time while they are in dangerous areas and alerting them automatically if they get too close to a danger zone. • Automatically regulating power con- sumption between workers' homes and offices. • Sending public alerts for events such as road closings. • Informing tourists about featured loca- tions as they explore a city or park. 7 potential public-sector geofencing apps [BrieFing] 6 GCN JANUARY 2014 • GCN.COM