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2017

Following the 17.0.3 release of Collector for ArcGIS on the iOS and Windows platform, we are pleased to announce the release of Collector on the Android platform this evening!

 

The Android release includes the following key features introduced late in September on the iOS and Windows platforms:

  • New 95 percent confidence interval setting
  • Managed App Configuration with ArcGIS Enterprise
  • Passing collection information through the URL scheme

 

However, there is one big addition that is specific to the Android platform that has been added as well! Collector now supports integration with Trimble Catalyst. With Catalyst, Collector now has high accuracy GNSS data capture on demand. This new product from Trimble features a subscription-based software GNSS receiver that is capable of streaming centimeter accuracy to Collector when you need it.

 

CH2M and the City of Centennial joined our Collector beta program for Trimble Catalyst. Here is a blog article that discusses their success.

 

This release marks a major milestone for Collector. We are now heading full steam into the development of the next big evolution for Collector - the Aurora Project

 

Thank you,

 

Collector Team

When using Collector to do data collection in the field, there are workflows that require you to collect similar things one after the other. There are two common workflows where I see this:

  1. Collecting many things of the same type, but in different locations.
    For example, you might be walking down the street collecting all the light posts, or through a field and collecting all the orange trees that were just planted. You might be collecting all the addresses or pipe segments in a new housing development.
  2. Collecting multiple things that are all in the same place, but have different qualities. 
    For example, a pole and a transformer that is on it.

 

Whatever it is you might be collecting, you don't want to have to tap Collect new and type the same attributes each time. That is time-consuming and leaves room for human error. And you don't have to: set the Collection Style setting to Continuous and each collection you complete will initiate a new collection. You'll get to choose if attributes, location, both, or neither from your previous collection are brought into your new collection, saving you from providing the same information over and over.

 

Let's try it out. You can use any map, but for this post, I'm collecting palm trees for the City of Redlands. In a newly developed area of town, palm trees are being planted lining the road. They are the same type of tree, the same height, and planted on the same date. These fall under the first type of workflow: I have a lot of things with similar attributes, each at a different location. 

 

The new row of trees

 

  1. Open Collector, and in the Settings, set Collection Style (iOS or Android) or Collection mode (Windows) to Continuous.
  2. Open the map, choose a feature type, and provide the details about it.
    For my note, I pick California Palm, provide species information, set the planting date to today, and provide a height and diameter. I also took and attached a photo of the tree.
    The first palm tree
  3. Submit the collection, and choose what information you'd like to start your new collection with.
    Continuous collect choices
    Since I'm going to continue at the next tree, which has the same size and planting date, I picked Like the last one, at my location, copying attributes but using my new location. My new collection starts, and I can see the attribute values I provided before, along with my new location on the map. I don't see the photo I took, but that is expected and appreciated as I'll take a new photo of this tree.
  4. Update any attributes that you need to, and add any attachments.
    I take a new photo and make sure my other information is all in place.
    New tree's attributes
  5. Submit the second feature.
    I now have two trees with detailed information on my map, and Collector is prompting me for the next.

 

While this is a pretty simple example, think about all the data you have for your organization where the attributes are similar, or the geometry's shape repeats. Try out Continuous collection to get your job done faster and with less human error.

 

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Attachments and related records are not copied, as those are usually unique to the feature they were collected with.
  • If your data uses related records, this setting only applies to collecting parent feature types (for example, light poles) but not the children (for example, the lights associated with each pole). When collecting child features, you won't be prompted to start your new collection.
  • If you are recording GPS metadata for your points, and you duplicate the location (either with Like the last one or At the same location) the GPS metadata is also copied.
  • If you are recording GPS metadata for your points, and you use a new location (either with Like the last one, at my location or New feature) the GPS metadata is captured as part of capturing the new location.
  • If you are adding a feature similar to one already on your map, not similar to the one you just collected, check out Copying the feature. This gives similar options that will save you time and reduce errors.
  • Continuous collect used to be restricted in maps containing features that participated in relationships. That restriction was removed in June 2017 as part of version 17.0.1.

To explore Collector, the "Try it" maps (available before you sign in) are a great starting point. They let you jump right into the app and see what it can do. But the next question is always "How can I get my own data in the app?" Users starting on their data from scratch should take a look at the ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise templates. This blog answers their question, showing how to use the templates and, in five minutes, be out in the field with your own data in the app. It takes three steps: 

  1. Create a feature layer (tip: use templates!)
  2. Put your layer in a map
  3. Open the map in Collector and get to work 

 

First, create a feature layer

While there are multiple ways to create a feature layer, using the Feature Layer templates available in ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise is a great way to quickly create a layer in your ArcGIS organization. While a variety of templates are available (and worth exploring!) in this blog you'll use the Field Notes template.

  1. Sign in to your ArcGIS organization using either ArcGIS Online or your ArcGIS Enterprise portal. 
  2. Go to Content, and in My Content click Create and choose Feature layer to open the New Hosted Feature Layer dialog.
    Create > Feature Layer
    If you are using ArcGIS Enterprise your screen will look a bit different, but the same options are there. 
  3. Scroll to or search for the Field Notes template, and select it. Click Create in the panel.
    Create from a template
  4. For now, you just need a single point layer. Make sure Field Notes (Points) is enabled, and uncheck the other layers. Click Next.
    Select only the point layer
  5. Set the extent for your layer and click Next.
  6. Provide a title, like Field Notes. You might need to include your initials in the name to get a unique layer name. Click Done to create your layer and see its item page.

 

Second, put your layer in a map

Now that you have a layer for the data you collect, put it in a map that you'll open with Collector.

  1. Go to the item page of your layer, if you aren't already viewing it. Click the drop-down next to Open in Map Viewer and click Add to new map.
    Add to new map
  2. Because you are collecting data into the layer and will want to see it on your screen, you'll want the layer to update on the map regularly. Hover over your layer, click the More Options ellipses, hover over Refresh Interval, and provide an interval of 0.1 minutes.
    Set a refresh interval
  3. Save the map. You'll need to give it a name (like Field Notes) and tags.

 

Third, open the map in Collector and get to work

Now that you've made the layer and the map, open the app and get to work.

  1. Open Collector on your device (Android, iOS, or Windows 10). 
  2. Sign in to your organization. You'll want to use the same account that made the map, as you haven't shared it yet.
  3. Browse to the map you just made and open it.
  4. Tap Collect + (or go to the Collect new panel on a tablet) and select a type of note to start your first collection. 
  5. Your GPS will be used to add the point, or you can use the map to set a different location. Provide a name for your note, and any other information you'd like to fill out in the form. 
  6. Tap Submit (the checkmark on Android) to add your note to the layer.
  7. Go back to your web browser and look at the map you made. Within a couple seconds, you'll see your note appear on the map.

 

In three steps you've created a feature layer, made a map, and brought your data into Collector, where you can collect the data that matters to you. Although we didn't try it here, you can add attachments to your data, and even work offline. While you might need to collect field notes, there are templates that provide the data structure for a number of industry-specific projects, too. Go take a look at them, and see what data your organization could bring into their GIS. Have a suggestion for another template? Let me know!