We have been working with a number of transportation focused clients helping them set up mobile online and offline editing using Esri's new Collector for ArcGIS mobile app. There are a number of common steps to set up Collector which we will walk through in this post.
Collector for ArcGIS
What data do you plan to edit: point line and/or polygons? A first and crucial step is preparing this data. This often involves the use of ArcGIS desktop tools such as ArcMap. Agreeing feature types, and attributes then building out each schema. You may already have data, but need it cleaned or updated. Time spent at this stage is important. What data do you intend to use for base maps - satellite, topographic etc - existing data provided by Esri, or your own data? Offline base maps will use the same base map data.
ArcGIS Online Data Upload
Once you have all your data ready, its time to publish this data to ArcGIS Online. You may wish to use ArcGIS Online to host all your data as hosted feature services. If using ArcGIS Online alone, you will need to upload your prepared data. This can be done directly from ArcMap.
Setting up users and groups in ArcGIS Online
Once your data is ready, it is time to consider users and groups. Most often clients want map layers to be private, that means accessible only after users have logged in. ArcGIS Online provides ways to control users access to map layers, and grouping them. So one team has access only to the maps relevant to their work.
Web maps are the cornerstone of ArcGIS Online. Layers hosted in ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Server are combined in a web map and published, or made available to users. You set the extent, base map, editable layers, styling etc. Once logged into Collector these web maps are what field staff will be loading and editing.
Training field staff in the use of Collector
There is a learning curve for working with Collector for ArcGIS. This is particularly true for those without GIS training. The steps to successfully edit a layer, going offline and loading both the base map and editable layers, uploading edits etc. There will likely be training needed to help field staff become familiar with Collector. We provide our clients documents and videos to help staff, and serve as a reference source.
Updates and staying current
Collector is on a regular release cycle. Each release provides updates and changes to the mobile app. Staff have to be kept aware of these changes. If you upgrade to the most current release, additional training might be required. Collector for ArcGIS is an important mobile GIS release. This is a free app which works against your ArcGIS Online subscription. Its important to spend time setting up the data and layers correctly, and helping staff use the application. Collector has the potential to dramatically improve how your field staff work, as they lose their reliance on pen and paper.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about Collector for ArcGIS.