Publishing Real-Time Information with Data Shares

30 April 2014 by Kyle Tolle

Many of Fulcrum’s users are in the field collecting data which later needs to be shared with various stakeholders, like clients, government agencies, or management team members. Today we’re releasing a feature that makes this process even easier. Data Shares allow you to generate simple URLs for downloading or accessing data within your Fulcrum Apps that you can publish or share.

Starting today, small plans and above have Data Shares available. An account’s owner can enable sharing for a specific App, and then have access to a URL that serves up that data in a variety of formats: CSV, KML, GeoJSON, or JSON. The owner can then give the link to, for example, a client. Each time the client accesses the link, they’ll pull up-to-date data from that App.

Being able to access your App’s data easily in multiple formats allows for sophisticated uses of that information in real-time.

Data Shares

Why This is Powerful

Data collection efforts are often continuous, with teams out in the field on a daily basis conducting inspections, user surveys, or field reports hour by hour, and syncing them to the cloud where the information can be visualized or exported. Many users export data as CSV on a recurring basis to analyze or merge with other data on their own systems. Now, once a data share has been enabled for publishing, you’ll be able to have their script use the URL to automatically fetch fresh data without running an export.

It’s powerful to visualize the data you collect, especially to quickly convey progress to stakeholders. Now it’s much easier to build a web map that uses current data each time the map is refreshed. You can use something like Bootleaf and a GeoJSON data share to easily display the data you’ve collected on a map. There are many parameters that can be used to customize the data returned to give a lot of flexibility and control.

Other users may have used the Google Earth Streaming capability to quickly visualize the data they collect. But that shows data from all your Apps. Using a KML data share will allow this same, quick visualization scoped to just the App you want to share.

Using QGIS, the free and open source GIS software, you can even use a GeoJSON data share URL and add your live data to a QGIS map project using the data share URL. This is fantastic for getting a mappable layer into a GIS for combining with your other GIS data layers.

We hope these examples give you an idea of what else you can do with Data Shares and how valuable they’ll be to your efforts to use your data once collected.

Enabling a Data Share

For a user with the proper permission, the data share (globe) icon is available to click on right from your list of Apps.

Screenshot 1 of 5 to set up a data share.

You can then quickly enable the data share, by clicking the button.

Screenshot 2 of 5 to set up a data share.

Select the data format for which you want to view the URLs. Then use the copy-to-clipboard button to be able to easily share the link in email or IM. You can also use the link to download the App’s current dataset to your machine in that format to use locally.

Screenshot 3 of 5 to set up a data share.

Apps with a data share enabled have a green icon on the App list to help them stand out.

Screenshot 4 of 5 to set up a data share.

And you can see which Apps share their data right from the data view.

Screenshot 4 of 5 to set up a data share.

Repeatable Data

If you have Apps that make use of repeatable sections for parent-child data relationships, Fulcrum will generate separate URLs for the child record datasets. When you have a data share enabled on one of these Apps, you’ll see URLs that call out the child data at the end of the URL, as you can see in the screenshot above.


With the growth of the open data movement, this is a great way for municipalities and governments to publish live versions of data for transparency and fast feedback from their citizens. We’d love to get your feedback on these data shares. Please let us know by leaving a comment below, emailing us or creating a discussion on our support site.


About the author

Kyle served as a software engineer with Fulcrum, and worked with our web and backend platform.

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