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:
http://support.esri.com/en/knowledgebase/techarticles/detail/42405

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.

…And Even More Geocortex Product Releases

February 5th, 2014 by Drew Millen

Further to our announcement earlier today about Geocortex Essentials 4 and updated versions of our HTML5 and Silverlight viewers, Latitude Geographics is excited to announce several products being released in conjunction.

Geocortex Property Viewer 1.0
Perhaps the most classic local government web-mapping activity of all time, many end-users just want to quickly look up information about a particular property. Geocortex Property Viewer is free for local government clients, is simple to deploy, and it’s dead simple for non-GIS folks to use.

Geocortex Property Viewer is built using our Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 and works across computing devices (desktops, tablets, and smartphones). Geocortex Essentials licensees can install Geocortex Property Viewer as a template from their on-premise Geocortex Essentials installation. Geocortex Property Viewer is also available through the ArcGIS Marketplace for ArcGIS Online.

Geocortex Mobile App Framework 1.1
Organizations can use the Geocortex Mobile App Framework to deploy Geocortex Viewer for HTML5-based applications that support offline/disconnected scenarios on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and notebooks). The 1.1 release for iOS has been restyled to match the new look and feel of the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.0, and it contains several minor enhancements. And coming later this month, the Geocortex Mobile App Framework 1.1 will also support Windows 7 and Windows 8 Pro, so HTML5 applications deployed on Windows notebooks can operate disconnected in the field.

Cityworks Extension for Geocortex Essentials 1.0
Create and manage Cityworks-integrated applications for citizens, field crews and office operations. This optional Full Geocortex Extension is delivered with a collection of Cityworks-connected workflow activities that offer support for service requests, work orders and inspections. It also includes functional examples and pre-built quick start workflows. More information here.

Voyager Extension for Geocortex Essentials 1.0
Voyager Search is an enterprise search solution that can index both geospatial and non-spatial content. This optional Full Geocortex Extension provides access to Voyager Search within Geocortex so that administrators can find cataloged services and layers to build applications, and end-users can discover cataloged services and layers to include in viewers on-the-fly.

The extension offers support for a variety of GIS content, including Map services, Feature services, Feature layers, WMS layers and WMTS layers. More information here.

Licensees with an active maintenance agreement can download installers, release notes and supporting documentation 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.

 

Introducing Geocortex Essentials 4.0

February 5th, 2014 by Drew Millen

After eighteen months of infrastructure development, we have reached an important milestone in the ongoing evolution of Geocortex technology. Today we are announcing the release of Geocortex Essentials 4.

Geocortex Essentials 4 represents the biggest leap forward in the platform since Geocortex Essentials was first released in 2007. Whereas Geocortex Essentials 3 was always about ArcGIS Server with support for ArcGIS Online added, Geocortex Essentials 4 has been fundamentally engineered for the modern and future ArcGIS platform (Online, Server, and hybrid deployment patterns).

Geocortex Essentials 4.0, coupled with supporting releases of the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.0 and Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight 2.0, introduces a number of great new capabilities and enhancements you can start leveraging right away in your current applications. Here are some of the highlights:

Architecture for the Cloud
We’ve developed a next-generation architecture that is the foundation for increased support of cloud and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) deployment patterns and environments in upcoming releases. Although the 3.x architecture will be gradually replaced over time to ensure continuity, Geocortex Essentials 4.0 features are able to transparently leverage aspects of either architecture as they run in parallel.

Expanded Integration with ArcGIS Online
Continuing to complement and integrate ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS is part of an ongoing strategy to ensure Geocortex alignment with Esri’s technology stack. In addition to existing integration capabilities previously available in 3.x, Geocortex Essentials 4.0 adds support for many additional service types.

Instant Search
Geocortex Essentials 4.0 introduces a highly scalable and extremely fast indexed search engine that is enabled by our new version 4 architecture. Define and index attributes from multiple map services and feature services to provide a fast and intuitive search across millions of features and associated records.

  • Note: The components required to implement the Instant Search feature will be made available upon inclusion and testing of late-breaking Beta program feedback. Expected for release 2-3 weeks following general 4.0 availability, the Instant Search feature will be directly installable on top of existing 4.0 installations (i.e. with no upgrades required).

Charting
Charts associated with map data can help users better visualize patterns and gain insight. Using Geocortex Essentials 4.0, administrators can configure data to display in bar charts, pie charts or via a variety of line charts. Version 4.0 supports the Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight, with support for Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 upcoming.

Security
Geocortex Essentials has long provided sophisticated and robust security for protecting applications and the components within them. With Geocortex Essentials 4.0, we take this to the next level by introducing global, federated authentication and anonymous access support.

User Interface Enhancements
Geocortex Essentials 4.0 introduces a clean new look and feel that puts the design focus on your data. The design of our HTML5 and Silverlight viewers has been harmonized for vastly improved inter-application consistency. While we were at it, we’ve introduced modernized iconography, fresh fonts, improved styling, and general user-experience improvements.

Tool & Feature Additions
Already well-established for relatively simple applications and mobile use, the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.0 includes major new tools and capabilities that increase its versatility and make possible more feature-rich, GIS-style applications. Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight 2.0 includes a numerous small of additions and enhancements, plus incorporates huge new 4.0 features like search and charting.

Service Discovery
Geocortex Essentials 4.0 allows administrators to easily search and discover available services, and save connections to those they use frequently. Service Discovery introduces the ability to register service catalogs, which can reference ArcGIS for Server, Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Online, WMS servers, WMTS servers and more.

Rich OGC Capabilities
Prior to 4.0, Latitude offered an optional OGC Extension for Geocortex Essentials that enabled the association of a WFS service with a corresponding WMS. This more advanced OGC support is now included with every Geocortex Essentials license.

But that’s not all…

In fact, we’ve only highlighted the main new core capabilities and additions! Along with numerous other new features, there’s even more coming as part of this milestone Geocortex Essentials 4.0 launch. Shortly, we’ll post another related announcement highlighting four additional (and related) product releases:

  • Geocortex Property Viewer 1.0
  • Geocortex Mobile App Framework 1.1 (for iOS and now Windows)
  • Voyager Extension for Geocortex Essentials
  • Cityworks Extension for Geocortex Essentials

For existing customers, we’ll soon add feature videos to the Geocortex Support Center so you can learn more about the new features and components introduced in all these Geocortex Essentials 4 (and related) releases.

Installers, release notes and supporting documentation can 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 what we’re up to sounds interesting, get in touch!

For a fast-paced, demo-rich introduction to Geocortex Essentials 4.0, we invite you to join us for a free 45-minute webinar on Wednesday, February 19, 2014. To maximize participation around the globe, we’ll be delivering live presentations at 7AM Pacific Standard Time (10AM EST, 4PM CET) and 1PM Pacific Standard Time (4PM EST, 8AM AEDT).

For more information about Geocortex Essentials 4, and to register for the upcoming webinar, visit www.geocortex.com/essentials4/

Geocortex Essentials and Microsoft .NET

October 24th, 2013 by Robert Dubicki

 

 

Geocortex licensees need to be aware of a recent decision affecting Microsoft .NET requirements for Geocortex Essentials. Geocortex Essentials 4, which is due to be released towards the end of 2013/early 2014, will move to a minimum required version of .NET 4.5 (Geocortex Essentials currently requires .NET 4.0). Why?

First, it reflects Latitude Geographics’ ongoing commitment to compatibility with Esri ArcGIS. Earlier this year Esri announced that ArcGIS 10.2 will be the last release supporting .NET versions prior to version 4.5.

Second, Geocortex Essentials 4 contains architectural changes and new capabilities that require .NET 4.5. Most of these changes are transparent to our customers until they are expressed in new features like instant search, built-in identity provider for federated authentication, or improvements to Geocortex Workflow Designer.

The change to .NET 4.5 will have deployment implications for Geocortex customers. Geocortex Essentials 3.15 will be the last release to support Windows server environments which do not fully support Microsoft .NET 4.5:

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003/2003 R2
  • IIS 6

While Geocortex Essentials 4 won’t support server deployments to the above listed operating systems and web servers, web mapping applications you deploy with Geocortex Essentials 4 will still run in web browsers on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 client machines.

Conversations we’ve had with customers have revealed very few cases where older servers will require upgrading. Even so, we want our customers to have plenty of lead time to plan an operating system upgrade so that they can move to Geocortex Essentials 4 as soon as it is available. Also note that Geocortex Essentials 3.15 will remain a supported version for some time following the release of Geocortex Essentials 4.

Silverlight Support in Chrome and other Browers

October 11th, 2013 by David Stevenson

Google recently announced they are removing support for Chrome plugins that use an old standard called NPAPI that goes back to the days of Netscape. This affects a lot of commonly used plugins, including Silverlight and Java. In fact at the time of the announcement, it was revealed that 15% of Chrome users have Silverlight installed. Google’s reasons for this are pretty valid — the old NPAPI architecture is the cause of many stability and security concerns.

So, how will this affect Geocortex customers? First, if you’re not using the Geocortex Viewer for Silverlight, then none of this applies to you. Similarly, if you control the browsers that Silverlight will be deployed to, then it’s probably not a problem either — this is common for internal facing applications.  If you don’t fall into one of these two categories, then the question becomes: what browsers are important to you? Microsoft has indicated support for Silverlight in IE through to 2021. None of us will be using Silverlight in 2021 so we’re safe there. Firefox has announced that they are changing the default behavior for how certain plugins are loaded, but appear to be maintaining NPAPI support. Finally, Chrome will continue to support Silverlight through 2014 and have indicated an intention to completely drop NPAPI support, and thus Silverlight, around the end of 2014. Although, in their announcement they mention this is subject to user input and might change.

We’ve delayed blogging on this topic because we were hopeful that Microsoft would provide some insight into if and how they will respond. As it stands, we’re assuming Silverlight will no longer run in Chrome browsers by the end of 2014. It’s possible that Microsoft could rewrite their Silverlight plugin with a more modern approach that Chrome supports, and it’s possible that Google will extend the white-list period, or reverse their decision all together.  We’ll have to wait and see what the official word is.

Ideally, Silverlight would continue to work in all browsers up until the time when the very last Silverlight application was decommissioned. But the march of technology change would never allow that. It was three years ago that the tide changed on Silverlight when HTML5 emerged as the future cross-platform approach for Microsoft and the rest of the industry. In those three years, we’ve aggressively grown our HTML/JavaScript offerings, while simultaneously continuing to build on our Silverlight viewer and help deliver myriad successful web mapping solutions built on Geocortex. Geocortex never has been and never will be about a specific technology. In fact, we work hard to be the antithesis of this; we engineer Geocortex to be the investment that lets you focus on solving your business problems while minimizing viewer specific technology headaches. So that when an announcement about Chrome dropping support for Silverlight is made, you can take some comfort in knowing that your technology investment in Geocortex already includes many thousands of hours of development in HTML5, JavaScript, native applications, technology agnostic workflows, that will jumpstart you building the next generation solution for your users.