where, when, who is capturing data?

Blog Post created by ichivite-esristaff Employee on Aug 23, 2015

Who is capturing data?

Survey123 will always store the username used to capture data. This is achieved through Editor Tracking, which is enabled by default in every Survey you publish.  We use this information to generate the Participation charts in the survey123 web site, but you can also look at who created an individual entry by simply looking at the attribute table (Data Tab in the survey123 web site)


If someone in your organization were to edit the data submitted after the fact, the Editor field will reflect the name of that person as well. You will know who captured the data in the field and who, if anyone, edited the data once submitted.  The Edit date field also comes automatically and refers to the time when the data was edited.


If you are interesting in capturing the email of the person that submitted the data handy, you can also add in your form a question of type email as described in the metadata section of the XLSForm help.



When is data captured? 


This one is a bit tricky. When you enable Editor Tracking, ArcGIS will keep track of when the data is received. Although we hide the field in the Survey123 web site, you will be able to see that field if you load the survey data (the feature service) into ArcGIS Pro, or the ArcGIS Map Viewer in your browser. But do not get fooled: the Creator_Date field will not tell you when the data was captured… it simply tells you when it made it into ArcGIS… when it was written into the feature service.


If you really want to know when the data was captured, you will need to add a new type of question into your survey spreadsheet. This question will actually not be visible to the end user. The XLSForm spec describes it as part of the Metadata section of your survey and is called ‘start’.


It is actually quite simple: just add a start question as in the next screenshot:



You can add this question at the beginning, the end or pretty much anywhere in between. Again, the question will actually not show up in your form… but the survey123 app will capture the time when the user started the survey and that bit of information will be persisted when submitted. If you use the question type ‘end’, we will always capture when the user finished the survey.  Having both can be useful if you want to measure how much time it took to fill out the form.


When using the start and end type of questions, your feature service will immediately become time-aware. Simply take your survey data into the ArcGIS.com Map Viewer and a slider bar will show at the bottom so you can animate data over time.





Where is data captured?


By now you know that you can add geopoint questions to your survey. By default the Survey123 app tries to capture the location of your device. If your device in fact provides a location, it will be used as the default location. Typically, a user can overwrite that location by tapping on the map.   Sometimes you may not want the end user to be able to change the location and go with what the device provides.  If that is the case simply flag the question in your spreadsheet as readonly.  The map control will still show up, but the user will not be able to move the location.   Alternatively you may want to decide to hide the map control all together. That is possible too… simply create a survey with no geopoint questions at all.    Survey123 will still capture the location for you… if provided by the device.