Crowdsourcing with QuickCapture: Santa Sightings

Blog Post created by JHasthorpe-esristaff Employee on Dec 15, 2019

To get you in the Christmas mood, we have created a public Santa Sighting QuickCapture project. This allows anyone (or everyone) to report sightings of Santa as he does his Christmas rounds - no user account or sign-in required. It looks like Santa has been making an early start this year! 


In this blog, I'll share the steps used in creating the Santa Sighting project. Of course, you can change the project content in order to support your own crowdsourcing, citizen science, and community engagement needs. For example, you may want your users to submit public order incidents at a public event, report litter or illegal dumping, or record sightings of rare bird species. If so, you will just need to modify the project and layers to meet your needs.


If you are already familiar with setting up projects and just want to find out how to share a project publically, you can go straight to the SHARE YOUR PROJECT section below.


Let's get started.....




As you hopefully know, the foundation of every QuickCapture project is one or more feature layers. And the more effort you put into getting the layers right, the less work you need to do in the designer. For this project, we will create a new layer using the ArcGIS Online Points, lines and polygons template.


To create the template, sign into your organizational portal (with a Creator user type) and navigate through: Content=>Create=>Feature Layer. This will open the Create a feature layer dialog. From here you can choose Points, lines and polygons under Build a layer.



Click CREATE and configure the layer properties as you wish (i.e. Map extent, Title, Tags, Summary) and then click Done.


Next, you will need to create the fields you want to update when a new record is captured. This is done in the Data tab - click the Fields button.


Add the following fields to the Point layer:

  • sighting (string)
  • accuracy (double)
  • capture_time (date)
  • status (string)
  • name (string)


Additionally, for the sighting field, create a list with the following options:

  • santa
  • tree
  • lights




The next step is to symbolize. To do this, add the layer to a web map, and update the styling for the Sightings - point layer.



Make sure you select the sighting field as the Choose an attribute to show option, and choose the Types (Unique symbols) as the default drawing style



This will create some default symbology for the points, but you can improve this by using your own custom symbols:



When finished, make sure you save the layer

The sighting - line layer will be used as a tracking layer to show where the project user has been. If you want to capture any information in its fields, then optionally add the fields you want to the layer and configure the symbology the way you want. 




Once you have created your layers, you are ready to create your project. Sign into the QuickCapure web designer and create a new NEW PROJECT from the Sightings layer.



When the new project loads, you will see that a new button has been created for each type in the point layer, and a single (default) button for the line and polygon layers.



Next is the fun part. In the appearance tab, change the layout and styling of the project and buttons, the number of columns in a group, and delete the groups that you don’t need.



For each button, go to the DATA tab and configure the information that will be captured when a button is pressed. For the point capturing buttons (Santa, tree and lights) update the capture fields as follows:


  • sighting: Leave this alone, the designer has automatically applied the type based on the symbology of the layer
  • accuracy: Apply the horizontal accuracy (m) device variable
  • capture_time: Apply the Capture time (UTC) device variable
  • status: Enter a typed-in value of submitted (you can use this to review submitted records)


For the name field, create a project user input, that prompts the user to enter their elf name, so that it can be captured in the submitted record. This should be configured as follows:


  • Label: Elf Name
  • Text field type: Single line text
  • Hint: Enter your Elf name




Once configured, the user Input will be available as a variable to apply to the name field. In the Data tab, apply the variable to each of the point buttons.




Optionally, update the capture fields for the line (trail) buttons button and you are done.




Once your project has been created and saved, the next step is to share it. As long as your organization is licensed for ArcGIS Hub Premium, you will be able to share the project publicly. With your project open in the designer, select SHARE and then tick the Everyone option under the Who can use this project?



If this action throws an error like the following, don’t worry:



To fix, click on the link to launch the layer item and update its sharing to be Everyone (Public) - this is to make sure that the project and layers have the same sharing. Once this is done, reshare the project.


Once the project is shared with Everyone, you will have 3 options for sharing it to your users. These are Link, Access code and QR code. All options can be shared via email, copied into a document or embedded into a web page or application, but each provides a slightly different user experience. 



Let's look at each option:


       This is a URL that can be copy-pasted for sharing. The user will either need to paste the URL into a web browser or click/open the link. This will launch the mobile app and download the project.




  • Access code (Anonymous users only) - Example: 1iTOuC

       This is a unique (case sensitive) code that can be copy-pasted for sharing. The user must open the mobile app without signing in, select the ENTER ACCESS CODE option, and then enter the code to initiate the project download.




  • QR Code Example: 

   This is a QR code that can be copy-pasted or saved as a file for sharing. The user would need to scan the QR code using the device's camera (iOS), a dedicated barcode reader app (Android), or the barcode reader built into the QuickCapture mobile app (if it has already been installed).





Some notes on the dsitribution options:


- In order to download the project, the user will need to have the mobile app installed on their device. To aid users that have not installed the app, both the Link and QR Code open a landing page that contains a download link for the app.


- If the app is already installed, the landing page will display a dialog that prompts the user to allow the app to launch and download the project. The user must select the open option.


- As the access code does not open the landing page, the user will need to have already installed the app in order to enter the code.


- The access code is case sentive and only available for projects that have been shared with everyone.


- If the user is not signed into the app, the public project will be downloaded to a public workspace. If the user is signed in, the project will be saved to the workspace of the signed-in user. 


The different options: Link, Access code and QR Code, provide flexibility in the way in which projects can be distributed. Authors will need to consider the medium to be used (e.g. poster or email), the devices/platforms that are being targetted, whether the user will need to install the app, and the user's technical skills - when making a selection. 


For our Santa sightings project we embedded the QR code in a story map and included the full steps required to download it. Try it out and view the results here: ArcGIS StoryMaps 


Happy Christmas from the QuickCapture team!