Do you use Collector for ArcGIS | Questions & Answers

Document created by MLamas-esristaff Employee on Feb 23, 2015Last modified by MLamas-esristaff Employee on Feb 23, 2015
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Here are the Questions and Answers from the Do you use Collector for ArcGIS? Public Works Meetup

 

  • Q1: At some point, will the Collector be able to support more advanced Image attachment naming conventions? For example, I'm currently using the Collector to Survey high crime viaduct locations in Chicago. Our surveyors are looking at 20-ish different assets for each viaduct (lighting condition, wall condition, column condition, handrail condition etc) the surveyors then take a picture of each asset being surveyed. For each viaduct point I have 10-15 field photos attached to each point, these photos are all labeled as default by collector with random attachment names. If I click on a point in the paired web map/app and want to look at the lighting field photos...I would have to guess to which photo attachment it is because of the non-unique attachment naming conventions collector spits out. It would be great if I could somehow label the attachment with a "tag" label during the image capture process so it gives some context into what the field photo actually is. (iOS example: "Lighting_Photo1")
  • A1: Yes. We do have plans to address naming of attachments in a future release of Collector for just this reason.

 

  • Q2: Does it honor required fields and force a user to complete the form prior to submitting?
  • A2: Unfortunately no, not really. At this point in time, there is an issue within the publishing of the feature service whereby it adds/pads a space into the default value for a field without a default value. In the short term we are planning to post an update to this blog article where it will show you how to remove the padded space and enforce required fields.

 

  • Q3: Where is the related tables located in a data base or excel sheet?
  • A3: Related tables support is via relationship classes within the geodatabase. Feature services (the service architecture from which editing within Collector is founded upon) does not support map joins or relates. For details on relationship class support, please read this blog article.

 

  • Q4: We are on ArcGIS Server 10.1- Can we use existing relationship classes for Inspections with Collector 10.3?
  • A4: It is not recommended. If you plan to use a versioned transaction model you will need to upgrade to version 10.3. If you need to work offline, you need to upgrade to version 10.2.2 at a minimum.

 

  • Q5: Can you collect polygon information with Collector?
  • A5: Yes you can. Points, line and polygons are supported. You can use the map or GPS to create vertices and with the GPS you can stream the boundary of a polygon as you are in motion.

 

  • Q6: What happens when you lose connectivity while in a connected session?
  • A6: If you know you are going to be in an area where network connectivity can be lost, it is recommended that you download the map to your device for offline use. If you lose connectivity and you have not downloaded the map to your device, the view of the map will remain static (you will see what is currently in the map display but if you pan or zoom away from your current extent the map will be blank). If you are in the mode of collecting a feature, lose connectivity and then tap “Submit”, you will not be able to sync your edits.

 

  • Q7: Could you describe dynamic labeling in Collector?
  • A7: Currently dynamic labeling, as authored in the web map, is not supported within Collector. If you publish a feature service with simple labeling in the map document, those labels will appear in Collector when you download the map to your device. This is a preview of future dynamic labeling functionality that we are in development on. In a future release Collector will support labeling as defined in the web map and the service itself.

 

  • Q8: What/where is the backend feature that this app is writing to?  Is this created automatically when I download the app from the store?  Can the map layer be consumed in ArcGIS Desktop for our inside desktop users to analyze?
  • A8: That depends upon the service type used within the web map. If you use an ArcGIS Server feature service then your data is stored directly inside of an enterprise geodatabase. If this is the case, you can directly connect to your enterprise geodatabase and edit features synchronized from Collector If you are using ArcGIS Online Hosted feature services then your data is stored within Esri’s cloud. If you are using hosted services then you will need to make a local copy of the features within ArcMap for editing.

 

  • Q9: Is there anyway to be able to snap the point to the pipeline?
  • A9: Unfortunately no. You can use the magnifier to approximate the location you place on the map but there is no way to directly snap inside of Collector at this time. We do have snapping listed as an enhancement for a future release. In the interim you may want to consider using the snap geoprocessing tool against data that is collected in the field after it is sync’d back to your enterprise geodatabase.

 

  • Q10: Are there ways to improve the GPS accuracy on a mobile device when using Collector that you can discuss?
  • A10: You can connect your mobile device to an external GNSS receiver as described in this blog article. However there are inherent limitations in Collector to support high-accuracy coming from an external receiver (inability to display the true accuracy from the receiver inside of Collector – note that most external receivers come with an app that will display it however, Collector does not let you define a datum transformation and assumes GPS positions are WGS84, there is no way to auto-populate GPS values like PDOP, HDOP into attributes of a feature). All of these noted limitations we are considering for a future release of Collector.

 

  • Q11: Is there a way to review all the edits from different field personal before they sync with the data base?
  • A11: The only way that you could do this would be through a versioned transaction model using ArcGIS for Server 10.3. Using versioning you can isolate each user’s edits, QA/QC those edits and then reconcile and post them with their parent version.

 

  • Q12: How does the search function work? Or how do you setup the search function?
  • A12: You can setup search when authoring the web map. It can search for places, use the geocoder specified in the organization and/or search for features. For details on how to enable feature search, please refer to the ArcGIS Online documentation here.

 

  • Q13: If you have a field crew using Collector, does each user have to be a named a user or can they share the same user login?
  • A13: Yes each field crew member must have a unique identity within Collector. This identity is stored on the features that they create and update as well so you can track the progress of their work.

 

  • Q14: I hear that editing of related tables is now going to be supported.  Can you confirm/deny this?
  • A14: Yes. It is supported with the 10.3 release of Collector.

 

  • Q15: Can Collector be used to interact with published feature layer services independent of AGOL?
  • A15: Collector requires ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS to gain identity. Feature Services themselves can be ArcGIS Server feature services and do not need to be hosted within ArcGIS Online.

 

  • Q16: Is this presentation being recorded and stored for future viewing/rewatching?
  • A16: Yes.

 

  • Q17: I would prefer to be able to turn on/off the location data of the photos -- to validate photo to feature and also have the ability to publish photo(s) in a report without location data embedded.
  • A17: At this point in time, the location data for a photo is not stored within the attached photo. The location is only available from the feature itself.

 

  • Q18: Is Collector compatible to a windows mobile device yet?
  • A18: No. We are working now on building Collector as a Windows Store and Windows Phone app and plan to release it in late Q2 of this year.

 

  • Q19: Can we get a sample with related tables?
  • A19: Samples of editing with related tables are available in this blog article so you can follow along.

 

  • Q20: Do you have Collector for Windows 8 or Windows Desktop?
  • A20: We are building it for Windows 8 now and plan to release in Q2 of 2015.

 

  • Q21: Can geometry location editing be disabled in when published from a hosted website?
  • A21: Yes it can. Click the edit button on your hosted feature service item and scroll to the section titled Properties. Here you can set the option to “Update feature attributes only."

 

  • Q22: Can you collect Z values?  Elevation data?
  • A22: At this point, no. Both Z and M values cannot be captured as part of the location of a feature. This is being considered for a future release.

 

  • Q23: My surveyors use both android and iOS...the default attachment naming convention using an Android device in the Collector is very long and generic (Example: "Railroad_Viaducts_195_0_ArcGISApp_1424282548849.jpg") having 10 images on one point like this isn't very intuitive as for what image it's referring to. Not sure how/if we could give the user some ability to affect how the attachment name is generated but could be huge for those of us taking multiple photos per feature. Will there be an update for this anytime soon?
  • A23: Yes this is planned for a future update of Collector.

 

  • Q24: Can you attach many photos to a single feature using attachments via Collector?
  • A24: Yes. Photos are stored within an attachment table and you can attach many photos to a single feature.

 

  • Q25: Will collector support an interface with vehicle distance measuring equipment for establishing location of an asset?
  • A25: At this point in time, no. However if you care to provide more details to us, we can consider this for a future release.

 

  • Q26: What is vertical position accuracy (height)?
  • A26: Vertical accuracy depends upon the device and whether or not you are using an external GNSS receiver. As a general rule however, vertical accuracy for the embedded chip set of an iOS or Android device is quite poor.

 

  • Q27: Where do the photos go, and is there a limit to the amount of data stored online?  Can you get the photos back onto your network?
  • A27: Photos are stored inside of the local database on the device. Collector uses the attachments data type inside of the geodatabase to manage photos. Here is the documentation for how Collector works with attachments. If you use hosted feature services, note that if you published them after July 2nd 2014, attachments will not cost you any credits. You can extract attachments from features within a feature class using methods discussed on the Geonet forum.

 

  • Q28: Can you add an undo/redo button?
  • A28: Thank you for the feedback. Please post this to ideas.arcgis.com so that it can be promoted by others.

 

  • Q29: When selecting to use a map on device, it seems as if collector only downloads the area visible on the screen. Is there a way to define the area that needs to be downloaded on the device?
  • A29: The downloadable area is based upon the initial extent of the map rather than your current area. In a future release we will provide a means for you to prepare and cache map areas at known geographies using ArcGIS Online. This will simplify the download process greatly.

 

  • Q30: Can you currently add additional fields to Collector form to fit unique business needs?
  • A30: At this point no. You will need to add those fields to the feature service directly.

 

  • Q31: Are there any plans for support for post-processing of GNSS coordinates?
  • A31: At this point in time, no.

 

  • Q32: Currently my iOS surveyors use a third party camera app to get photo's down to 100K (since iOS doesn't have a setting to reduce photo resolution, android I know does) We've found iOS takes pictures anywhere from 2mb-3mb, Obviously if we are taking hundreds or thousands of photos this will get unmanageable. Will Collector be able to reduce iOS photos better on the fly?
  • A32: Collector applies compression using the compression methods available in the iOS SDK. The size varies dramatically based upon color density and can grow to approximately 1.5 or 2mb in size. When synchronizing data to the server however, Collector will ensure that packets are no greater than 2mb in size. This ensures that Collector can support a low bandwidth connection when synchronizing edits.

 

  • Q32b: Do you suggest storing documents such as photos/pdf's inside the GDB, or on a webserver with a URL link?  It seems that the workflow provided in this demo is suggesting in the GDB.
  • A32b: Collector only supports capture of photos where they are stored as attachments inside of the GDB. See question 32a for more information.

 

  • Q33: How much memory/storage is required on the device to contain the web map and one or more basemaps?
  • A33: That depends upon the amount of detail and extent of the map area you wish to download to your device. Basemaps accrue the majority of storage. You can create them directly in ArcMap and sideload them to the device. Using this method you can take a large amount of data offline and transfer to your device in the most efficient manner. See this blog article for details.

 

  • Q34: So we can't use our Trimble GeoXH 3000 for GPS readings?
  • A34: Well you can if you are running Collector on an Android device. It is possible to pair the two together.
    • Here are the steps:
      • In Android device, pair GeoXH via Bluetooth (password: 0000)
      • In GeoXH, open Bluetooth setting, check incoming COM port number.
      • In GeoXH, open GNSS Connector app and Choose incoming COM port number and click Connect
      • In Android device, open 3rd party Bluetooth help app, like  Bluetooth GPS
      • Select the receiver from the pulldown menu at the top of the screen.
      • Click the Connect button.
      • The app will begin to communicate with GeoXH and show you information about the connection.
      • You can check Status to see position info
      • Now you are ready to use Collector

 

  • Q35: Is editing versioned data available?
  • A35: Yes however you need to use ArcGIS for Server 10.3 feature services.

 

  • Q36: Is it possible to automate filling in some of the fields (inspector, date, etc.)?
  • A36: Yes via default values within the geodatabase. Also there is a continuous collect mode in Collector that will copy values from previously created features.

 

  • Q37: Can you pass through the ArcGIS Online user name when using a secure service from ArcGIS Server that has edit tracking enabled where the service credentials were stored when adding that service to ArcGIS Online?
  • A37: Yes you can.

 

  • Q38: If you have 6 field staff, that would bump you up in the next level of named user packages?
  • A38: Each field staff member must have their own unique named user. You can purchase additional named user licenses without having to bump up. See the plans for details.

 

  • Q39: Is it possible to fill other (possibly hidden) fields depending on how an inspector fills in other fields?
  • A39: At this point in time, no. You can default field values and hide them but not based upon conditional logic. The only way to do this would be as a post-processing step after the data is synchronized to the geodatabase.

 

  • Q40: How about AGOL cloud users wanting to migrate their cloud based data to a network geodatabase with related tables?
  • A41: Related tables are supported both within Esri’s Hosted Feature Services and within ArcGIS for Server feature services.

 

  • Q42: Can you require certain fields?
  • A42: At this point no. Please see answer to question 22 above.

 

  • Q43: If we have 10.2.2 ArcGIS Server, can we use Collector for ArcGIS 10.3?
  • A43: Yes. However if you want to edit versioned data you must upgrade to 10.3.

 

  • Q44: How are the photos stored?
  • A44: Please see details of question 32.

 

  • Q45: Where this data stored that is gathered? Within Esri or another data base?
  • A45: Data is stored within the origin database of the feature services that you publish. If that is a hosted feature service then within the Esri cloud, if ArcGIS Server then within the enterprise database you use to store and manage your GIS data.

 

  • Q46: How do you have multiple inspections for 1 point?
  • A46: Using a 1:M related table to the parent point feature layer.  Please read this blog article for details.

 

  • Q47: Can related tables be edited in disconnected mode? Or are they read only?
  • A47: Yes they are editable and supported in disconnected mode. Please read this blog article for more details.

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