Google Deprecation Announcement & Esri

February 10th, 2015 by Steven Myhill-Jones

We’re getting folks asking for our take on the Google Earth Enterprise & Google Maps Engine deprecation announcement and Esri’s response. Here are my reflections:

  • This was a noteworthy and unexpected development for us, like it was for just about everyone else.
  • At the same time, we didn’t see Google getting all that much traction or beating Esri/the ArcGIS platform in many deals. Our hunch is underperformance was the impetus behind Google’s strategy shift. We think Esri’s response/approach is sensible, for reasons others have well covered.
  • Notwithstanding consumer mindshare, we’ve always figured intelligent, up-to-date information (flowing from their epic data collection programs) is probably at the heart of Google’s significance in the GIS industry.
  • There’s been lots of good discussion and hypothesizing by others, including our friends at Spatial IQ. Frankly, we haven’t posted anything until now because we don’t have a lot to add that hasn’t been said already and, even more, we’re so focused on Esri technology we’re the first to admit we’re not an unbiased or disinterested party.
  • Ultimately, for us, this serves as a reminder that over the long haul, core focus is what counts.

Anyway, comments welcomed.  Please be aware I’m overseas through the end of the week and may be slow to reply/acknowledge.

Geocortex Essentials and Viewers Offer Compatibility with ArcGIS 10.3

December 16th, 2014 by Drew Millen

Esri released ArcGIS 10.3, including ArcGIS for Server and Portal for ArcGIS, on December 10th. We are pleased to announce that the latest versions of Geocortex software products have been tested and are compatible with this release (Geocortex Essentials 4.2.1, Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.3.2 and Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight 2.3.1).

Geocortex Essentials and the Viewers continue to be backward compatible with older versions of ArcGIS, including: 9.3, 9.3.1, 10, 10.1, 10.2, 10.2.1, 10.2.2 and all service packs.

At the 10.3 release of ArcGIS, customers can take advantage of the Portal for ArcGIS named user entitlement that comes with ArcGIS for Server Standard and Advanced editions. Over the previous months, Geocortex software has been engineered to fully support integration with Portal for ArcGIS. Administrators can enable sign-in to Geocortex Essentials Manager with Portal for ArcGIS accounts, and access private web maps and services when building Geocortex applications. Permissions, such as fine-grained access to layers, workflows, reports and more, can also be controlled based on Portal for ArcGIS accounts.

Geocortex continues to evolve and provide additional value alongside the modern ArcGIS Platform, and the team at Latitude Geographics is excited about the new development opportunities for Geocortex software in 2015.

Google Chrome, Silverlight, and the Move to HTML5

December 5th, 2014 by David Stevenson

Google first announced their plan to deprecate support for Silverlight in their Chrome web browser last year, and they recently reaffirmed this decision with specific timelines. Support for Silverlight inside Chrome will see deprecation starting in January 2015, with workarounds ending in April 2015. When we blogged about this in late 2013, we mentioned the possibility that either (a) Google might push their timelines out; or (b) Microsoft might come with a solution. At the same time, we reaffirmed our commitment to HTML5, open standards, and a transition plan for moving off Silverlight. Before we talk about paths forward and the future, let’s discuss the current facts.

The majority of our customers have either transitioned onto our HTML5 technology or are already working through a transition plan. If you aren’t currently deploying applications using Silverlight, or your users don’t use Google Chrome (Internet Explorer will continue to work for years to come and Firefox already has a degraded experience), these specific upcoming changes won’t affect you. However, given the tremendous benefits of HTML5 (e.g. no plugins, cross platform support) we encourage you to prioritize HTML-based applications in 2015 regardless.

Here’s a reminder of what’s happening over the next few months:

  1. Sometime in January 2015, Google will release a version of Chrome that will prompt users to enable Silverlight when accessing a Silverlight application. Once enabled, the setting should stay indefinitely, and the user won’t be asked again. This is very similar to the functionality seen today in Firefox.
  2. Following that change, sometime in April 2015, Google will roll out another update that will disable Silverlight from running in Chrome entirely.  At this point, it will be technically possible to override this behavior in Chrome’s settings, but the average end user can’t be expected to do this.
  3. Finally, sometime around September 2015, Chrome will completely lose the ability to run Silverlight with no way to override.  While the September date gives a sliver of hope for running Silverlight applications on Chrome later into 2015, our advice is to work towards the January date while keeping the April date as a drop-dead backup plan.

Our goal is to engineer technology to make adaptation to change (desirable or otherwise) as straightforward as possible. Our Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 – together with our workflow technology – make up the key transition strategy for those who have built applications with Silverlight. Over the last year we’ve been extremely focused on building out comparable functionality in our HTML5 viewer; in the first months of 2015, we’re scheduled to release Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.4, which we anticipate will cover the vast majority of functionality that is actively deployed in our Silverlight viewer.

For some, standing up a parallel HTML5 application has taken only hours or a few days; for others it can be more time consuming, depending on the level of customization required. If you haven’t already done so, we strongly encourage you to begin heading down this path soon.

Recognizing that a full transition to HTML5 can take some time, we’ve set up a number of resources that you can take advantage of immediately to minimize disruptions to your existing Silverlight applications. Please visit where you’ll find the following:

  • More in-depth information to help you with this transition;
  • HTML content you can put on your website today to minimize unexpected messages to your end users visiting with Google Chrome; and
  • Information about an upcoming Silverlight to HTML5 webinar, scheduled for January 7, 2015.

Our product development team has been working hard since 2011 to help ensure the eventual transition from Silverlight to HTML5 is as smooth as possible for our clients. If you’re still deploying public-facing sites and haven’t yet completed the majority of your transition to HTML5, we encourage you to make use of the above resources to get applications across the finish line before the end of March.

Geocortex Essentials 4.2 & 2.3 Viewers

September 22nd, 2014 by Drew Millen

Latest Geocortex release includes layer list improvements, streamlined access to ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS, initial iOS 8 compatibility

Latitude Geographics has released Geocortex Essentials 4.2, alongside the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.3 and Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight 2.3.

Geocortex Essentials now provides streamlined access to organizational content in Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online. Administrators can now search for and reference private organizational content with a single sign-on experience, and Geocortex Essentials Manager distinguishes between private and public organizational content to aid in the development of applications for specific audiences. 

Based on customer input, we’ve made significant layer list improvements to both our HTML5 and Silverlight viewers. Users can now organize layers of all different types into custom folders, rearrange the order of layers, and perform batch edits to configure all layers within a group layer (or folder) simultaneously.

Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.3 provides initial iOS 8 support, and there is important information you need to read that appears later in this announcement if you’re serving iOS-based users.

Here are the highlights of this major release:

Geocortex Essentials 4.2

  • Configurable layer list organization
  • Batch editing of layer properties
  • Streamlined access to Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online Content
    • Sign-in to Manager with your ArcGIS identity and search or browse organizational content
    • Distinguish and filter between private and public Portal and ArcGIS Online search results
  • Support for Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA) in Manager
  • Several Manager interface improvements, especially to the Map page
  • Printing support for feature layer legend swatches
  • Support for rendering layer charts in printed reports
  • Several new Workflow activities

Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.3

  • Initial compatibility with Apple’s recent iOS 8 release
  • Charting
  • Major Layer List improvements
    • Support for the configurable layer list organization
    • Transparency sliders on services and layers
    • Embedded legend swatches
  • Layer Themes Support
  • Query Builder
  • Filter Builder
  • Edit (add, update and delete) related records
  • Geolocation “Following” and “Tracking”
Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight 2.3
  • Support for the configurable layer list organization
  • Dynamically symbolize layer labels
    • Choose fields and display settings for labels on dynamic layers

There are also numerous minor features, various bug fixes and user experience enhancements included as part of this release. We recommend you consult the release notes for more detailed information. 

Note there is interdependence between Geocortex Essentials and our HTML5 and Silverlight viewers; implementing some newly introduced viewer features will require the latest version of Geocortex Essentials.

Deploying to iOS Users? Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.3 provides initial iOS 8 compatibility. Customers who have built applications with the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 and serve end-users currently updating to Apple’s iOS 8 are encouraged to download Essentials 4.2 and the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.3 to avoid most disruptions to pre-existing functionality. This aspect of the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 update is backwards compatible and does not require an upgrade to Geocortex Essentials 4.2.   

**Browser changes that shipped as part of iOS 8 have impacted aspects of Esri’s JavaScript API on which our markup and editing tools are based. Esri is aware of the markup and editing issues and we expect that they may address these in the near future. Rest assured that we will include any changes to Esri’s JavaScript API within an updated version of our Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 as soon as possible.

In the meantime, if your organization is involved in the iOS 8 upgrade process for end-users, and is currently deploying markup or editing capabilities, we recommend holding off on iOS 8 updates until resolved. We will keep you up-to-date regarding iOS 8 compatibility developments via updates in the Geocortex Support Center forums. 

Current Geocortex Customers: Installers, release notes and supporting documentation can be downloaded by licensees with an active maintenance agreement from the Geocortex Support Center. If your account is handled by an authorized Geocortex Reseller, please contact your local representative for access to installers and documentation. 

Customers interested in learning more about some of the new features being introduced can watch a set of new feature videos that are available for viewing in the Geocortex Support Center. 

Not a Geocortex customer yet? Learn more about Geocortex Essentials and our viewers.



Esri User Conference Q&A Highlights

July 8th, 2014 by Drew Millen

Every year before the huge Esri International User Conference in San Diego, Esri releases a comprehensive UC Q&A. It’s a great source of information and often an advance source of new messaging and major product announcements. This year is no exception.

Different sections will be of more or less interest to different folks; however, I’ve compiled a list of the ones that I think are particularly interesting (to Latitude and our customers, anyway). Read the rest of this entry »

Geocortex Optimizer 1.7 now available

May 8th, 2014 by Robert Dubicki

Latitude Geographics is pleased to announce the general availability of Geocortex Optimizer 1.7, which helps ArcGIS Server users identify patterns and isolate trends in performance, traffic levels, navigation patterns, and user demographics to make system improvements based on empirical, meaningful information.

Version 1.7 incorporates valuable feedback from our customers and it is the final release before Geocortex Optimizer 2.0, which is scheduled for summer 2014. Notable features in Geocortex Optimizer 1.7 include the ability to integrate with Geocortex Essentials Viewer for HTML5 and support for Esri’s recent ArcGIS Server 10.2.2 upgrade.

Other key enhancements in Geocortex Optimizer 1.7 include:

  • Provides warnings and cancels installations if IIS is not installed;
  • Allows reports to accept multiple instances of a parameter;
  • Adds the ability to schedule “active database” actions periodically;
  • Provides better documentation for configuring logs accessed via REST endpoint;
  • Enables setting database connection impersonation settings in configurator; and
  • Creates better documentation for configuring a map service probe.

There are also various bug fixes and user experience enhancements related to this release. We highly recommend customers consult the release notes for more detailed information.

Current Geocortex Customers: Installers, release notes and supporting documentation can be downloaded by licensees with an active maintenance agreement from the Geocortex Support Center. If your account is handled by an authorized Geocortex Reseller, please contact your local representative for access to installers and documentation.

Not a Geocortex Customer Yet? Learn more about Geocortex Optimizer.

Geocortex Essentials 4, HTML5 and Silverlight viewers evolve

May 2nd, 2014 by Robert Dubicki

Following the landmark release of Geocortex Essentials 4 earlier this year, Latitude Geographics is pleased to announce the general availability of Geocortex Essentials 4.1, the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.2 and Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight 2.2.

These releases collectively introduce many new features and incremental enhancements. Please note that there is interdependence between these products; to make use of some of the newly introduced features will require the latest version Geocortex Essentials and our HTML5 and Silverlight viewers.

Feature highlights:

Geocortex Essentials 4.1

  • Compatibility with ArcGIS for Server 10.2.2
  • In-place upgrading of viewers
  • Updated Manager interface includes tiled thumbnails of all your sites
  • New REST endpoints
  • Export map to GeoTIFF
    • Export features to Shapefile
    • REST API performance improvements
  • Security enhancements
    • Support for end-user sign-in/sign-out from within the viewers
    • Apply permissions to charts
    • Search of user/groups for Windows integrated security
    • Layer Security Proxy now supports ArcGIS Feature Layers and Image Services
    • Impersonate Windows users when accessing external resources (e.g. data links)
  • Improved management of saved connections
  • Various new and updated Workflow activities

Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.2

  • Configurable scale bar
  • Sign-in/Sign-out for anonymous users
  • Dynamic layer support
  • Search/identify support for dynamic layers
  • Legend support for dynamic layers
  • Support dynamic layer definition expressions

Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight 2.2

  • Sign-in/Sign-out for anonymous users
  • Server-hosted bookmarks
  • Support for private project files
  • Support accessing selected features within a workflow
  • Export selected features to Shapefile
  • Export map to GeoTIFF

There are also numerous other features, various bug fixes and user experience enhancements related to this release. We recommend customers consult the release notes for more detailed information.

Current Geocortex Customers: Installers, release notes and supporting documentation can be downloaded by licensees with an active maintenance agreement from the Geocortex Support Center. If your account is handled by an authorized Geocortex Reseller, please contact your local representative for access to installers and documentation.

Customers interested in learning more about some of the new features being introduced are encouraged to watch a set of new feature videos that will be made available in the coming week for viewing in the Geocortex Support Center.

Not a Geocortex Customer Yet? Learn more about Geocortex Essentials and our viewers.

Security Update: Geocortex Software and the Open SSL Vulnerability (Heartbleed)

April 15th, 2014 by Drew Millen

There has recently been media attention regarding the Open SSL vulnerability (nicknamed Heartbleed). We have been receiving questions from our customers and partners about Heartbleed as it applies to Geocortex software.

Heartbleed is a software bug in the open-source cryptography library OpenSSL, which allows an attacker to read the memory of the host computer, allowing them to retrieve potentially privacy-sensitive data.

We are happy to announce that Geocortex software is NOT affected by the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability.

More specifically, we don’t provide an SSL implementation within our software (OpenSSL or otherwise). Our security components recommend (and urge) that our customers implement SSL in their environment in order to secure network traffic; however, this recommendation does not require OpenSSL.

Geocortex web applications are hosted in Microsoft Windows IIS, which has an implementation of encryption that does not use OpenSSL and therefore is not vulnerable to Heartbleed.

Geocortex software extends and relies on Esri’s ArcGIS platform, so we recommend that customers ensure they understand Esri’s response to Heartbleed, which is described in a detailed knowledge base article here:

Instant Search is here!

March 31st, 2014 by Robert Dubicki

Latitude Geographics is thrilled to release our major Instant Search feature, which enables a powerful new capability of Geocortex Essentials 4.

On the cusp of the Geocortex Essentials 4.0 release in February we had an important decision to make about the inclusion of our new Instant Search feature.

Shortly before our release date, beta customer installations highlighted a major, hard-to-pinpoint bug involving our search crawler. We had two options. We could delay our long-anticipated and biggest product release in years (that was otherwise ready to ship) for an unknown amount of time until the issue was resolved. Alternatively, we could ship 4.0 without Instant Search (and release it independently when the problem was solved).

Given it was simple to remove and could be dropped in cleanly when ready (i.e. without even requiring a Geocortex Essentials upgrade) we opted to proceed with an immediate 4.0 release with Instant Search to follow.

We think it was the right call. We originally estimated a two or three week timeframe to resolve the problem and ship Instant Search, but fixing and testing took a bit longer in the end.

Whatever the case, we’re happy to announce that Instant Search, which introduces a highly-scalable, extremely fast, indexed search engine, is now ready and available for you to download.

You can define and index attributes and geometry to provide fast and intuitive search capabilities across millions of features on your maps. As you type, search suggestions will be displayed instantly; when listed, the most relevant results are shown on top to quickly help you find what you’re looking for.

While we’ve been finalizing Instant Search, we’ve had the opportunity to make search-related usability improvements to our HTML5 and Silverlight viewers, which are now available in their 2.1 versions.

Instant Search and our HTML5/Silverlight 2.1 viewers work together by:

  • Displaying pushpins on the map to show the location of search results;
  • Enabling the ability to give precedence to search results in the current map extent; and
  • Offering more intuitive auto-complete hints in the search text box.

A video demonstrating these feature enhancements will be available in the Geocortex Support Center very soon.

We aren’t done making improvements. Towards the end of April we will be releasing Geocortex Essentials 4.1, with 2.2 versions of our HTML5 and Silverlight viewers.

This leaves a number of options for you, depending on your preferences:

1. Get started with Instant Search, today, in your current environment.

Install Instant Search on top of your Geocortex Essentials 4.0/2.0 viewer environments. You can still upgrade to Geocortex Essentials 4.1 with our 2.2 viewers at the end of April to realize further usability improvements.

2. Upgrade your viewers and gain advanced access to the best user experience.

Install Instant Search on top of your current Geocortex Essentials 4.0, as well as upgrade your viewers to 2.1. Again, you can still have access to Geocortex Essentials 4.1 and our 2.2 viewers at the end of April.

3. Not in a rush and only want to perform one upgrade? Wait for both releases at the end of April.

Geocortex Essentials 4.1 and our HTML5 and Silverlight 2.2 viewers will be here in just over a month.

Whatever path you take, we’re confident you and your users will be excited by this significant addition to Geocortex Essentials. And this is just the first release of Instant Search… we’ve got big plans for the future of this major new product feature. Over time, we plan to steadily increase the intelligence of search and how we prioritize results.

Installers be downloaded from the Geocortex Support Center by licensees with an active maintenance agreement. If your account is handled by an authorized Geocortex reseller, please contact your local representative for access. If you’re not already a Geocortex Essentials licensee and want to learn more, please get in touch!

Geocortex & the ArcGIS WebApp Builder

March 7th, 2014 by Steven Myhill-Jones

Although our viewers are only one aspect of Geocortex Essentials, they are undoubtedly the public face of the product. This post explains our planned approach for the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 in the context of Esri’s recently announced JavaScript viewer roadmap.

Esri first publicly previewed their upcoming ArcGIS WebApp Builder in the last few weeks, ending months of community speculation. Though we haven’t been able to talk about it, Latitude Geographics has had visibility on this project for some time now. Advance information makes a real difference for our planning, and we’re grateful for the early access we’ve received from Esri as part of our close ongoing partnership.

We see the ArcGIS WebApp Builder (which we expect will be discussed in-depth at the Dev Summit in Palm Springs next week) as a necessary and very positive development for the Esri community, and we’re confident that the opportunity for Latitude Geographics to add compelling value to the viewer equation remains fundamentally unchanged.

Latitude Geographics first released the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 two years ago (April 2012) with the full expectation that Esri would eventually build an HTML5/JavaScript viewer to replace their Flex and Silverlight viewers.  Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 is mature, feature rich, and has many established implementations; we envision it serving as a parallel viewer to the ArcGIS WebApp Builder while Esri’s new offering develops and matures.

Consistent with the approach we’ve always taken, we are not planning a competitive roadmap. Factoring in market uptake and solution maturity, our plan is to integrate our existing HTML5/JavaScript capabilities and features with the ArcGIS WebApp Builder to help Esri customers maximize the potential of this platform while receiving the benefits associated with Geocortex and our overarching approach. Our goals will be to deliver an outcome greater than the sum of the parts, while ensuring no loss of functionality to existing users.

For us, being complementary (and not competitive) is key. However, that’s not to say there isn’t going to be some overlap. When we first architected our HTML5 viewer more than two years ago, we made decisions to separate the structure and plumbing of the viewer from the reusable components (modules/widgets) that live within it. This “framework design” is a common way of building software systems, and Esri is taking a similar approach with the ArcGIS WebApp Builder. So while there is some overlap in the underlying viewer frameworks, there’s also exciting potential to pick and choose reusable components from either viewer to best suit project requirements.

As always, our strategy is to help customers get even more done today, while keeping customers closely aligned with core Esri technology. We’re excited about Esri’s ArcGIS WebApp Builder. Our planned integration will open up a large new market of potential customers, avoid redundant development over time, and maximize alignment.

If you’re looking for something more specific or definitive right now in terms of scope and timelines, we can’t provide that just yet. The reality is that our work can’t get ahead of the realities of how (and when) real-world technology develops. The future has yet to unfold, but rest assured we’re watching closely and we’ll be there to help you make the most of it.