JTedrick-esristaff

Working with your Survey123 Photos

Blog Post created by JTedrick-esristaff Employee on Mar 22, 2017

Survey123 for ArcGIS lets capture photos anywhere in your survey.  These photos can then be accessed via several online and desktop tools.

Viewing your Photos

In ArcGIS terms, photos are attachments stored in the feature service’s database along with the rest of the survey data submitted.  There are a couple ways of exploring the images through the web:

  • The Data tab of the Survey123 for ArcGIS’s website displays the photos of a survey response when it is selected in the ‘Individual Response’
  • Sign in to your ArcGIS organization (for example https://www.arcgis.com) and you can view the data table of the service storing the data, including accessing the image attachments.  To do so, go to the Item Details of the service storing your form data and go to the ‘Data’ tab.
  • Links to attached photos can be displayed in the pop-ups of a survey point in a web map be available in a web application like a Story Map.

Exporting your Photos

Aside from having the photos stored with the survey data, there are analysis operations that may require the photos to be downloaded; for example, archiving the photos or using them in documentation/presentations.  Any individual photo can be downloaded from web sites by right-clicking on the photo and selecting ‘Save Image’ or right-clicking on the link and selecting ‘Download Link(ed File)’.  The most efficient way to export all of the photos is to download a File Geodatabase copy of the data and then follow the steps described in the Esri Knowledge Base article "How To: Batch export attachments from a feature class". Note that this will also download any signature question answers as well; signature questions will not have location information embedded.

Photo Metadata

When you take a photo, Survey123 records more than just the picture.  Photo metadata (camera type, camera settings and location information) are stored in what is known as the EXIF portion of the photo file. The location information in particular can enhance the understanding of a survey by providing additional points that can be associated with the survey.  A good example of this is inventorying equipment and facilities at a local park.  We can construct a form with the questions, including a photo, for the equipment are in a repeat of a form that gets filled out once per park.  Rather than asking for a point at every piece of an equipment, the collector can take a photo, from which the approximate location can be extracted.  The result is that the survey is recording multiple points without users needing to always add information onto the map.

To get the location information, the survey data must be downloaded as described above.  ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro both have a “GeoTagged Photos To Points” tool that then will create the new point features.  To make this process a little easier, I’ve combined the extract tool with the GeoTagged Photos to Points tool in Python Script and Toolbox.

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