GTViewer Data Server is the back-end component used to distribute GTViewer datasets to GTViewer clients including GTViewer for Windows, GTViewer for iOS, and GTViewer for Android.   GTViewer Data Server also provides the back-end support for Data Collection, Photo Uploads, and Redline Sharing (formerly supported by GTShare Server).

Data Distribution

Traditionally, GTViewer dataset distribution has been left to the customers to implement by whatever means worked best for their environment.   This process ranges from Xcopy or Robocopy, to Systems Management Server (SMS), to elaborate PowerShell scripts, to USB Drive Duplicators, to CD and DVD creation.  All of these solutions met the workflow needs of the customers, and it was difficult for GTI to make a "one size fits all" solution that would meet everyone's needs.   Because of this broad set of requirements, we had not attempted a data distribution solution until we enter the world of device apps with GTViewer for iOS and GTViewer for Android.  The devices restricted applications to a sandboxed area making it difficult to get information onto the device for the application to use.   The solution was to create the GTViewer Data Server to distribute the GTViewer datasets from a server-based application.

GTViewer Data Server is simple.  It uses a list of valid users and a list of available GTViewer Dataset Projects.   Users are members of a Group which grants them access to Projects of the same group.   A Project contains all of the files that compose a GTViewer dataset in a compressed and encrypted format.   For GTViewer for iOS and GTViewer for Android, users connect to the GTViewer Data Server, authenticate themselves, then select any of the Projects available to their group to download. The Projects are downloaded, decompressed, and decrypted for use in the Application's sandbox.   If updates are made to the Project's GTViewer dataset, the user will see that an update is available on the server and the updated files can be downloaded.   A standalone application for Windows called the GTViewer Data Client is also available to perform the same tasks on the Windows platform.

A tool called GTManifest is also available for preparing and updating the Projects distributed by the GTViewer Data Server.  It will compare current and previous GTViewer datasets, determine which files have changed, compress and encrypt the files, and provide an update for the GTViewer Data Server.   A .NET Assembly version of GTManifest is also available to help streamline the Project management with PowerShell or any tool that can utilize .NET Assemblies.

Redline Sharing

Previously,  GTShare Server facilitated the sharing of redlines between GTViewer users. This functionality has been incorporated into the GTViewer Data Server to simplify server setup and provide even more functionality. 

GTViewer Data Server provides the back-end component for sharing redlines between GTViewer for Windows, GTViewer for iOS , and GTViewer for Android.  Users can post new redlines, make changes, and delete redlines as well as download redlines created by other GTViewer users.   Redline sharing was designed to work in an occasionally connected environment requiring a network connection only when syncing with the server.

Data Collection

The Data Collection Framework used by GTViewer for iOS and GTViewer for Android allows the creation of data collection forms that can be used with any feature or point in GTViewer’s map view.  Data Capture Forms are created and distributed with the datasets through GTViewer Data Server.  They can be associated with a single feature type to support Pole Inspections, Valve Inspections, etc. They can also be associated with a group of feature types for tasks like Line Patrol where a common set of data is collected for a variety of feature types.  Finally, any point on the map can be used for identifying Missing Features or adding Field Notes.

The Data Collection Framework is designed to work primarily offline (no internet connection required).  If the user is connected to the internet, all collected data can be posted to GTViewer Data Server, and any data posted by other users can be retrieved.

Supported Platforms

The GTViewer Data Server support two web server platforms:  IIS/ASP.NET and Linux/Apache.   The IIS/ASP.NET version provides all of the product's features and is designed for high volume use.  The Linux/Apache version provides basic functionality and will run on the GTViewer Server Box or other Linux/Apache servers.