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GIS software ported to Arm Linux devices for IoT apps

Nov 1, 2018 — by Eric Brown 1,164 views

Esri has launched an Arm Linux version of its ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Qt aimed at GIS mapping and analytics applications such as in-vehicle fleet management.

Esri has crafted a version of its cross-platform ArcGIS GIS (Global Information Systems) mapping and analytics package to run on Arm-based Linux IoT devices. The company has taken its Linux compatible, but previously x86-only ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Qt and extended support to Arm computers, including “small, embedded devices that make up the backbone of IoT systems,” says Esri.

ArcGIS displays
(click images to enlarge)

ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Qt is the first embedded play for ArcGIS. The GIS software is available on desktop and mobile computers using a variety of SDKs based on technologies like JavaScript, Java, Python, .NET and REST.

Potential applications of the new version include providing location intelligence to sensors that stream telemetry data to small devices on trucks. In this application, the software “gives a geographic context to real-time data collection and machine learning…to help logistics companies keep track of things like deliveries and incidents on the road,” says Esri.


ArcGIS provides 2D and 3D data visualizations, demographics data, and a wide variety of GIS maps, apps, and data layers. Features include spatial analysis, geocoding for addresses and place names, and real-time turn-by-turn directions for multiple vehicles and destinations.

ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Qt has been updated to the latest ArcGIS Runtime SDK 100.4 release, which arrived on Oct. 16. Version 100.4 adds support for the Multiresolution Seamless Image Database (MrSID) raster format, which is based on a proprietary compression technique for maintaining the quality of large images. There is also support for reading and displaying KML content in both 2D maps and 3D scenes.

ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Qt requires Qt Framework for Linux 5.9.2 or higher, Qt Creator 4.4.1 or higher, OpenGL, and OpenSSL. Qt supports the development of GUIs in addition to full applications. Although it’s cross-platform, including support for mobile platforms, the embedded implementation focuses on Linux.

Most GIS platforms offer Linux support, but primarily only on x86 desktop or server platforms. There are also a variety of Linux-friendly open source GIS packages to choose from.

“The Esri ArcGIS Runtime SDK has been a valuable tool for many Qt users looking to build native mapping apps,” stated Juhapekka Niemi, Executive Vice President at The Qt Company. “We look forward to expanding our partnership to include the exponentially expanding market of embedded devices.”

Further information

The Arm Linux compatible version of ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Qt is available in beta at an undisclosed price. More information may be found on Esri’s ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Qt developers page, which at publication still listed only x86 support.


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