Snap2Map Review Aug25

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Snap2Map Review

At the 2014 ESRI User Conference in San Diego this year, ESRI announced a nifty little app called Snap2Map which creates a Story Map straight from a smart phone. What is cool about Snap2Map is that Story Maps can now be created very quickly and easily from an IOS or Android device without needing to use ArcGIS Online on a computer at all.

For those that don’t know, a Story Map is an ArcGIS Online interactive map, which does a pretty good job of bringing a map to life with in media. Unfortunately, Story Maps often take a little bit more computer and GIS expertise than ESRI likes to claim. In my humble opinion, this is one of the flaws of ArcGIS Online in general. But that is another conversation. In this case, Snap2Map does an excellent job of allowing a general user to quickly select geotagged photos from their phone, add a title and description and upload. It is very easy. In fact, it is so much easier than creating a Story Map through the ArcGIS Online platform, that I have started moving geotagged photos to my smart phone and then using Snap2Map to create me a basic Story Map and then editing it afterwards for more customization. Surely, there is an easier way to make a map online without using my iPhone, but I haven’t found it yet.

Snap2Map Screen GrabSnap2Map Screen GrabOnce published, the Story Map cannot be edited from the app but instead needs to be edited from the ArcGIS Online account. At first, I could not find the location of the map in “My Content”, but Snap2Map actually makes a folder in your “My Content”. In my experience, the Android version makes a new folder for every map, and IOS now just adds new maps to a general “Snap2Map” folder. This may be in the process of changing, so you tell me how it works for you.
One annoying aspect of Snap2Map is that it wants you to create a title and description for every single photo that you add. This might make sense for some applications, but not all. When I am trying to show a recent trip (see my kayak trip below), if I am just showing friends, I do not necessarily have a description and title for every pic. I may just have wanted to show a picture, but if I do not fill in this data, the map then has annoying “Title” and “Description” attached to each picture. It would be a lot more useful to simply leave it blank, like I did.

Another issue that I had is that I lost a couple of versions of my first map before finally getting the correct version published. First time, I published my map (or at least thought so) then when I went back to my app the next day, I couldn’t find it. It seems to have been deleted. The second time, I created the app then when trying to publish, was asked to sign in again, when I signed in, the app seemed to have been deleted and I had to return to the home screen, and had to do it all over again. It turns out that these problems were related to my colleague using the phone with his ArcGIS username before me and the app getting confused. But this was a major setback as it took me a long time to type the titles and description, so I was quite annoyed. In the end, Snap2Map got me where I wanted to go and I have not had any issues since trying to create my first map.

Snap2Map only works with an ArcGIS Online account, but is otherwise free. It can be downloaded from the iTunes Store or Google Play Apps. In the initial release, the IOS version did not work, but as of mid August (2014) the issues have been fixed.

I am a fan of the app and think that it can become particularly useful for publishing quick maps online for people with limited GIS/ArcGIS Online knowledge. I have started using it for trips of mine, because it is simply cool to see my holiday on a map.

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