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Survey123 for ArcGIS

100 Posts authored by: ichivite-esristaff Employee

The Survey123 Early Adopter Community (EAC) helps you access the latest Beta builds of the software. You can sign in with your existing Esri account and gain access to software downloads, documentation on upcoming features and discussion forums.

 

The Early Adopter Community is critical to Survey123. It allows the development team to share with you early access to the software for user testing and feedback. This feedback is used to refine new features and fixes before they are made available under general release. EAC offers you a great opportunity to try out your own surveys and workflows with the Beta software and anticipate any issues that may arise in upcoming releases.

 

We have just updated EAC with new Beta versions of Survey123. Below is a list of some of the Beta features and when we estimate they will be available.

As a general rule, we prefer feedback regarding our Beta releases through the Early Adopter Community Forums. We like to keep discussions in GeoNet for the released version of the software. Keeping things separate avoids potential confusion.

 

Survey123 Feature Reports (PDF, Previews and Merged Reports)

 

We released Survey123 Feature Report capabilities back in July 2019. EAC will give you access to the Beta builds of the Survey123 website, which include new options to:

 

  • Generate outputs in PDF format. We want to make sure this works well with your existing report templates and that you do not have any issues with fonts once you open the PDF on your computer.
  • Preview Report designs, so you can put together your report templates without incurring ArcGIS Online credit costs. The output preview documents will be always generated in PDF format and include a watermark.
  • Merge multiple reports in a single file. This new option is available when you want to generate report files in bulk. When chosen, all your feature reports will be combined into a single PDF or docx output file.

Please note that when generating reports (other than previews) through the Early Adopter Community your account will be charged with credits. Use the preview option if you do not want to be charged.

You can try out all of the above through survey123beta.arcgis.com. When testing the new PDF and report preview capabilities, please report your findings (positive and negative) in the new Survey123 website forum in the EAC website. We are targeting late January 2020 for the release of both of these features.

 

Survey123 Field App (Survey update notifications and more)

 

Through the Early Adopter Community website you can access Beta builds of the Survey123 field app for iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS and Linux. The Beta build of the Survey123 field app cannot run on the same device as the released version, so you will need extra hardware to test it or remove the released version from the device first.

 

The latest Beta builds available include support for:

 

  • Survey update notifications. This work is inspired by our most popular Survey123 Geonet Idea: Notify users a Survey123 form has been updated. This will facilitate having field users more easily refresh their surveys if new updates are available in ArcGIS Online or Enterprise. This feature is planned to be made available in late February or early March 2020. 

 

  • No more random log outs. This is a fix to an issue some of you have reported where field users would get randomly log out, forcing users to have to type their user credentials again. The fix to this problem is now included with the latest Beta builds.
  • There are also a number of additional features available for testing. Information about the specific bug fixes addressed in each Beta update and new features are detailed in the Announcements section of the EAC website. 

 

The Beta builds of the Survey123 field app are also useful for you to test your existing surveys. As much as we do our best to ensure backwards compatibility with older versions, your own testing can help highlight issues we may never find on our own.

[Updated Dec 18]

 

One more update to Survey123 to close out the year! A day like today in 1901 Walt Disney was born. Good opportunity to remember him!

 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book... Walter Elias Disney was a visionary. He brought animated cartoons to the next level, introducing new techniques, modernizing classic fairy tales and synchronizing music with his creations. He truly transformed a marginal form of communication into an entire new industry. Nobody has won more Oscars (22) or being nominated so many times (59). A pioneer of the American animation industry.

 

The 3.7 release is now available across all supported platforms. You can download this update from the iOS and Google Play stores or from our Survey123 Resources page. The build numbers are 3.7.55 for the field app and 3.7.59 for Connect. The Survey123 web app has also been updated.

 

This is a minor, yet important update, as it brings a handful of critical enhancements and fixes.

 

Inbox Enhancements

 

A lot of work in this update went into making sure you can work with the Inbox more reliably, faster and with many more records. The Survey123 field app Inbox allows you to update existing GIS records. If you are not familiar with the Inbox, I suggest you take a quick look at this video:

 

 

For more details, see the Prepare for editing existing survey data—Survey123 for ArcGIS | Documentation help topic.

 

With this release, the performance of the Inbox has been greatly improved, allowing you to more quickly download records onto your device; twice as fast as before! The Inbox can also now handle many more features. With this update you will be able to comfortably work with a few thousand records in your Inbox, even if you are downloading complex lines, polygons or have many related records. Overall, the Inbox is now much faster and less memory intensive. You will note a great improvement making this feature more reliable, particularly on low-end devices.

 

Based on our own tests, we can define an upper limit for the Inbox around ~40k (for points) and ~8k (for lines or polygons). Having said this, the intended and practical limit of the Inbox is lower; around a few thousand records. The philosophy of the Inbox is that of a 'to do' list where you can download surveys for field-users to process. For example, in an asset inspection workflow, each of the records in the Inbox, would represent an inspection for the end user to complete. You will not want to have the Inbox populated with every asset you have. Instead, you will want to use a filter to have the Inbox show only assets where inspections are due. You can apply Inbox queries using the username of the logged in user to tailor the Inbox contents for every person in your field crew. For the benefit of field users, try to keep your Inbox light, only showing records to be processed. Stay away from using the Inbox to download every record in your dataset, particularly if you have many tens of thousands of records.

 

Enhanced Numbers and Calculator appearances

 

Work with the numbers and calculator appearances was initially triggered by data-loss issues reported through GeoNet (Using Numbers Appearance Type Sometimes Will Not Store Value in Field). We addressed this issue and also took our time to revisit the usability of these controls.

 

The numbers and calculator XLSForm appearances are designed to accelerate data capture, providing specialized keypads that replace the generic screen keyboard provided by the operating system in your device.

 

As their names suggest, the numbers appearance will show a numeric keypad, and the calculator appearance will show... you guessed it: a calculator. These specialized keypads are also shown close to the question on which the data will be entered, as opposed to the bottom of the screen. This allows for faster data entry.

 

Throughout this release we performed many usability tests in various representative forms and against multiple form factors and devices. We refined the look, feel and behavior of these keypads with a focus on making data capture more efficient and intuitive.  If you have used these keypads in the past, you will notice a noticeable improvement. If you are new to them, you may want to give them a go!

 

You can use the numbers and calculator appearances with integer, decimal and text questions. To learn more, see the Appearance—Survey123 for ArcGIS | Documentation help topic.

 

 

 Geode sub-meter GNSS receivers are now supported

 

With this update we are adding support for Geode sub-meter GNSS receivers from Esri Partner Juniper Systems. The Geode receiver is compatible with Windows, iOS and Android devices. You can learn more about how to connect the Survey123 field app to an external GNSS receiver through Marika's Direct GNSS external receiver support in Survey123 3.3 blog post. On top of support for Geode, Survey123 also works nicely with the Juniper Systems Mesa 2 rugged tablet (available with either Android or Windows operating systems).

 

External GNSS receivers, such Geode, allow you capture sub-meter accuracy location data. Additionally, using XLSForm expressions you can easily use location metadata from the device to power data validation rules as well as to simply store the metadata for further analysis in the back-office.

 

 

Check out the Survey123 Tricks of the Trade: XLSForms and location quality blog post or Pulling data from geopoint questions to get the best out of your Geode with the Survey123 field app.

 

Other fixes and minor enhancements

 

This update includes a lot more other good fixes and enhancements. I wanted to briefly highlight a few:


Survey123 web app (aka web form)

 

Fixes to Survey123 web forms apply to newly published surveys. If you have an existing web form already published and want to benefit from these fixes, you can re-publish your form.

 

  • BUG-000126543 - Encountering error "Failed to submit. - Cannot set property 'z' of null' when attempting to submit survey in edit mode (error occurs when submitting a record to a survey which created on top of a standalone table).
  • BUG-000111892 Location for a Geopoint question can not be selected in a Survey opened in the browser of an iOS 10.3.3/10.3.2 device.


Survey123 Connect and Field App

 

  • BUG-000127248 - Location Expressions in watermarks display full JSON object [Updated Dec 18]
  • BUG-000115279 Hosted feature layers created from Survey123 Connect, do not produce shapefiles once exported with valid/visible geometry.
  • BUG-000102165 The default values of non-relevant questions are not preserved when the values are configured with a 'relevant' expression in Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS.
  • BUG-000125142 Survey123 for ArcGIS gets stuck at "Getting Service Information" when trying to submit a survey over VPN after the survey had been open for over 10 minutes and the connection to the internet or VPN have been disconnected during this time.
  • ENH-000115846 Review how Survey123 makes query requests from the Inbox to increase performance.
  • BUG-000116741 Survey123 Field App looks like it's frozen when refreshing Inbox with many records (more than 1000).

  • BUG-000123911 After increasing the maximum feature count for a feature service, Survey123 3.5.164 for iOS crashes and can't sync more than 1000 records to Inbox.
  • ENH-000119205 Provide the ability for Survey123 to load more than 1000 records in the Inbox.
  • BUG-000125947 Microsoft Surface Pen is incompatible with the Survey123 field app.
  • ENH-000119711 Add survey version to Survey Summary page.
    • The version number of your survey, as described in the settings worksheet of your XLSForm, will be displayed in the survey details page in the Survey123 field app.
  • ENH-000120747 Use appearance to enable/disable regional formatting (thousand separator) for a question.
    • As of this release, no thousand separators will be automatically added to your integer and decimal questions. The thousands-sep appearance can be used to add thousand separators to decimal questions.
  • Various UX enhancements to the map control when editing the geometry of geotrace and geoshape questions.
  • Survey123 Community pane is now hidden in Connect. A Community tab has been added.


Internationalization

 

  • BUG-000115321 Survey123 Connect. The Cancel button is not translated in the 'Select your active ArcGIS Portal' window in Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS 3.0 which is installed on German operating system (OS).
  • BUG-000115322 Survey123 Connect. The "Close" button is not translated in the "About Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS" window of the Survey123 Connect 3.0 which is installed on German OS.
  • BUG-000098942 Survey123 Connect: Untranslated "Show Details...", "Hide Details" and "OK" buttons when validating input.
  • ENH-000121448 Survey123 Field ap. For time and dateTime questions, the placeholder words for 'Date' and 'Time' should be displayed in the chosen language.
  • BUG-000126692 Calculation field returns the error message, "Invalid Number" on validation in Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS on French operating system.

 

Documentation

 

  • ENH-000118417 When using the Report (Beta) function on the Survey123 website to display a geopoint, there is no documented method of setting the map extent for the record.
  • ENH-000126633 Addition to the Survey123 documentation: While Survey123 can perform calculations on text fields, they will not be honored in the Survey123 webform; Use concat() or join() instead.

 

Next Steps

 

We have a number of new features and enhancements lined up for upcoming releases. If you want to know more about them, join our Survey123 Early Adopter Community (EAC). You will find documentation about on-going work, forums for your feedback and of course, the Beta software.

 

Available for testing now through EAC:

 

  • Survey123 Feature Report enhancements: PDF output and a new preview mode to generate free PDF watermarked outputs. 
  • Survey123 Web Form JavaScript API: A straight-forward JS API for web developers to embed, style and interact with Survey123 web forms within their web applications.
  • New map capabilities: Support for mobile map packages, web maps and vector tile packages in the Survey123 field app.
  • Windows setup for the Survey123 website and REST API (for Enterprise users).
  • Support for custom JS functions in the XLSForm pulldata function (Survey123 Connect and Field App): Embed custom JS code in your XLSForm expressions.

In this blog post I will explore a handful of XLSForm techniques to help you better control the organization and layout of questions within a form. You will learn about groups, grids and pages, but also other tricks to refine the size, placement and look and feel of questions within your form.

 

--------------Groups--------------


Groups: XLSForm Basics


Groups organize questions into sections, helping users more easily navigate complex forms.Our Survey123 for ArcGIS: Using Groups to split your survey into sections - YouTube  video is about the quickest way there is to learn the basics of XLSForm groups. I strongly suggest you watch it, it's only 2 minutes long.

 

 

As described in the video, you can create sections in your form by enclosing a set of questions within a begin group/end group block. You need to specify a value in the name column of the begin group row, and this name must be unique. If it helps you navigate the spreadsheet, you can also add a name to the end group row, but it is not compulsory.

 

nametypelabel
texthh_idHousehold ID
begin grouphh_groupBasic Household Information
geopointhh_locationGPS Location
hiddenhh_location_acHorizontal Accuracy
texthh_addressAddress
end group

 

You can add as many groups as you like to a form, and you can nest them too: you can add groups within groups!

                

On occasion, you may want to display groups collapsed and let the end-user expand them if needed. This can be achieved by setting the appearance column to compact.

 

It is not possible to dynamically expand or collapse a group with an XLSForm expression.

Use the compact appearance to make your group appear collapsed by default.

              

 

Formatting Group Headers

 

Since groups are fundamentally used to help users navigate long surveys, it is important to take pride in the headers. The group headers, if formatted appropriately, can really make a big difference for people.


The font of group labels by default is a bit bigger and bolder than the labels of questions. This helps the group header stand out. Using HMTL formatting within the label column of the begin group row, you can bring your own style to the group header. For example, you can center the label in the screen, change its color, and size.

 

In the example to the right, the group headers have been given different background colors to help users navigate more quickly between them. Note that the first two groups, in red and blue, are collapsed but users can choose to expand them.

 

The Style your survey—Survey123 for ArcGIS | Documentation help topic shows the most common HTML tags that you can use to format your labels. When setting colors, you can use either their HTML code name or their hexadecimal representation. At W3Schools you can use the handy color picker for HTML colors. All the properties described in the documentation are supported in the Survey123 mobile and web apps except for the background color, which is only supported in the field app. 

 

The next XLSForm sample shows the syntax for defining the background color of the group header.

 

Body bgcolor is only supported in the field app. Webforms will ignore this property.

              

 

nametypelabel
texthh_idHousehold ID
begin grouphh_group<body bgcolor="#C00000"><font color="white">Household Information</font></body>
geopointhh_locGPS Location
hiddenhh_loc_acHorizontal Accuracy
texthh_addrAddress
end group

 

Dynamic Labels for your Groups

 

When working with labels for your groups (and questions, actually), remember that on top of the formatting syntax described above, you can also dynamically change the label content. For example, say you have a health household interview survey where we you need to capture all symptoms detected in each of the household members. You can present the symptoms group with a label that matches the name of the household member for which you are capturing the data. This could help eliminate confusion. Below is the actual example. Look how the group header in black changes depending on the household member name entered.

 

 

Check out Understanding Dynamic Labels in Survey123 for ArcGIS to learn more about this technique.

 

Visibility of Groups


One final note on groups relates to their visibility within the survey, which is controlled through the relevant XLSForm column. If an expression written in the relevant columns evaluates to true, the group is shown, otherwise it is hidden to the user. 

 

A common bad practice with form design consists on repeating the same relevant statement to a large collection of consecutive questions. This slows down your survey, because the same expression needs to be evaluated again and again for each of the questions. If a sequential set of questions shares the same relevant statement, it is good practice to group them and apply the relevant expression to the begin group row only. If the group is relevant, all questions within the group will show. If the group is not relevant, all questions inside the group will be hidden. There is no need to duplicate the relevant expression again and again.

 

--------------Pages--------------

 

Introduction to Pages

 

Pages are particularly useful when working with large forms, helping you logically organize your questions and giving end users a sense of progress across the entire survey.


Even for smaller surveys, pages can be useful. In the example below we have a Special-Use application permit form.  I added a welcome image and text on the first page to create a cover for the form. Note that the first page does not expect any input from the user. It is just a welcome page, or cover page to the survey. Next, I organized the actual questions within my form into pages, giving each page a descriptive title at the top. As users move from page to page, a progress bar at the bottom shows how close they are to the end of the survey.

 

 

In the Survey123 field app, users can easily move through pages in the form one by one. Alternatively, a page menu lets users jump to any of the pages in the form with a simple selection. In the example shown below, the page menu helps the user jump from page 3 to 32 with just a couple of taps.

 

 

Pages: XLSForm basics

 

If you want to add pages into your form, firstly you need to set the style of your XLSForm to pages. This is done through the settings XLSForm worksheet as shown below.

 

form_titleform_idinstance_namesubmission_urlstyle
Zika Household Surveypages

 

Once the style is set, add one group for every page you want and set the appearance of the group to table-list. For example

 

nametypelabelappearance
texthh_idHousehold ID
begin grouphh_groupHousehold Informationtable-list
geopointhh_locGPS Location
hiddenhh_loc_acHorizontal Accuracy
texthh_addrAddress
end group

 

When working with the pages style, it is good practice to have all questions within a page. That is: make sure all your questions in the form are within an existing group with an appearance set to table-list. If you leave questions outside of a page, you will get erratic behavior across the web and field apps where a single question may appear on every page.

 

You can combine groups and pages. That is, you can include groups within a page. Groups do not become pages unless you set their appearance to table-list.

 

All the header HTML formatting tricks described for groups above, also apply to pages. The same goes for the behavior with the relevant expressions. You can hide pages by using relevant statements, however keep in mind that the behavior across the web and field app is different. In the web app, non-relevant pages will be truly hidden, you will not even see them in the page navigator controls. This will cause the total count of pages in the page navigation control to vary as pages become visible or hidden. In the case of the field app, as of version 3.7, the pages will still show in the page navigation control, but will be shown blank. This is a known issue (BUG) in the field app.

Hidden (non-relevant) pages in the field app will be shown blank. This is a known issue as of version 3.7.

                

 

--------------Grids--------------

 

Grids: Introduction


Typically, questions within a form are arranged to take the full width of the screen. It is possible however to arrange multiple questions side by side using custom grids (theme-grid in XLSForm jargon). This is particularly useful when you are designing a form for use on a tablet.

 

With this type of grid layout, you can maximize the number of questions shown within the width of screen, reducing the need for users to scroll up and down. Grids can also help you mimic more closely the look and feel of legacy paper forms. Copying the layout of paper forms is not necessarily a good idea, but in some cases achieving some level of resemblance can make nostalgic users happier.

 

In the example shown to the right, you can see how questions can be arranged side by side. Crafting such a survey, defining exactly the placement of questions takes some thought and trial and error, but the experience it provides to the end user is significantly better than with a regular layout. This type of design is generally put together with a specific form factor in mind. That is, you design your survey for a particular minimum screen size. If a grid design like the one shown is loaded in a smart phone, the form is not going to look right. I have seen some people creating two flavors of the same survey: one for tablets and one for smart phones.  It clearly adds an overhead during design, but if your survey questions are not going to change much it is a good thing to consider.

 

The theme-grid style is not supported in the web form. It is only supported in Survey123 Connect and field app.

          

 

Grids: XLSForm Basics

 

To arrange questions in a grid layout, you first need to set the style of your survey to theme-grid. This is done in the settings sheet of your XLSForm.

 

form_titleform_idinstance_namesubmission_urlstyle
My Surveytheme-grid

 

Once the theme-grid is set, all groups within your survey will contain questions using a four-column grid layout. You can change the number of columns in a grid by simply adding the w (as in width) property to the appearance column of your group. For example, w2 means two columns, w8 means eight columns.

 

nametypelabelappearance
texthh_idHousehold ID
begin grouphh_groupHousehold Informationw2
geopointhh_locGPS Location
hiddenhh_addrAddress
texthh_cityCity
texthh_zipZIP Code
end group

 

Unless specified otherwise, questions within a group will always take one column of the grid. In the example above, the GPS Location and Address will be placed side by side in one row, and the City and ZIP Code will complete a second row.

 

Using the w property for the individual questions within the group, you can choose how many columns you want each question to take. In the example below, I gave two columns (one full row, since the grid has two columns) to the GPS Location question, and another full row (two columns) to the address. I then arranged the City and ZIP Code questions side by side giving them a w1 appearance.

 

nametypelabelappearance
texthh_idHousehold ID
begin grouphh_groupHousehold Informationfield-list w2
geopointhh_locGPS Locationw2
hiddenhh_addrAddressw2
texthh_cityCityw1
texthh_zipZIP Codew1
end group

 

 

You will also note in the screenshot above that the Household ID question is taking the full width of the screen. That is expected. When using the theme-grid, questions outside of a group always get rendered as usual, taking the full width of the screen.

 

Grids: A few extra tips and things you should know

 

  • Survey123 Connect includes a handy XLSForm sample called Grid Style Groups. It shows some advanced techniques, including arranging repeats and geopoint questions side by side, combining pages with grids, etc.

 

 

  • Working with grid layouts gives you a lot of flexibility, but mastering it takes time and trial and error. Always test your designs on a mobile device that you are targeting to make sure things look as you expect.
  • Do not expect the grid layout, or questions within a grid, to automatically adjust to the size of the screen. If you do not give enough space to your questions, they will look ugly. For example, in practice, you can't work with more than 2 columns on a smartphone. Even when working with 2 columns you need to be careful when working on small screens: you need to keep the labels of questions and choices short and avoid question types like geopoint or dateTime which tend to take more space. Do not take this the wrong way, you can use 2 columns in a smart phone, but with caution.
  • I know I said this before, but I will say it again: the theme-grid is not supported in the webform. It is only supported in the Survey123 field app.
  • You can combine pages and grids. Simply set the style of your form as follows:

 

form_titleform_idinstance_namesubmission_urlstyle
My Surveytheme-grid pages

 

  • When using theme-grid, questions outside of a group (grid) will always take the full width of the screen.
  • If you do not define a width (w parameter) for a group, the number of columns in the grid will be four (as in w4)
  • If you do not define a width (w parameter) for a question within a group, it will default to w1.
  • Non-relevant questions will still take space in your layout. If a question is non-relevant, you will see an empty space in your grid.
  • Be careful with or_other. If you use a select question with the or_other option, your question will always take one extra cell (column). This is in anticipation that the end-user selects the 'other' choice. In that case, a new free text question appears, taking the extra space.
  • You cannot apply a width parameter to a repeat, but you can apply it to a group within a repeat.  If you want to learn how to arrange repeats side by side, have a look at the Grid Style Groups XLSForm sample in Survey123 Connect.
  • The table-list appearance does not work in combination with theme-grid or pages.
  • The body::esri:style XLSForm column can help you refine the height of questions. This can be useful, particularly when working with the theme-grid. For example, if you put a text and a geopoint question side by side, the layout will show unbalanced, because the text question by default is not as tall as a geopoint question. You can change the height of geopoint, geotrace, geoshape signature and multiline text questions. Learn more at Esri custom columns—Survey123 for ArcGIS | Documentation 

 

 

When using the body:esri:style column, keep in mind that some properties are not compatible with theme-grid. For example, borderColor is not supported (do you need border colors? If so Vote for this GeoNet idea), and repeats inside of grid style groups do not support backgroundColor either.

The 2020 Esri International User Conference is still eight months away, but the deadline for submitting presentation abstracts is approaching fast in November 8!   You do not need to have a fully developed story to submit your paper. A brief abstract describing what you intend to present is plenty. We are looking for inspiring stories showing how you are using #Survey123 to make a difference in your organization.

 

User Presentations

 

Every year many dozens of users present at the Esri UC. Definitively a great opportunity to share work with your peers. We all learn when information is shared! You can check the Recent Proceedings from Esri events to see what people have shared in the past.

 

Gidelines to submit your abstract for the 2020 UC can be found at Call for Presentations | Esri User Conference 

 

In short:

 

  • Author/Presenter name(s)
  • Author/Presenter name(s)
  • Presentation title (10 words or fewer)
  • Company name
  • Complete address, phone, and email information
  • Brief presenter biography (25 words or fewer)
  • Abstract (500 characters or fewer, including spaces): Do not include information in your abstract that will not be in your presentation.
  • Keyword set (list only 3–5 keywords): Keywords are used to organize presentations into appropriate sessions, so choose words that clearly describe the main ideas of your work.

 

 

Become a Sponsor

 

Be aware that user papers and presentations must be noncommercial. If you plan on advertising a product, service or company, there other venues for you. You can Become a Sponsor or Exhibitor | 2020 Esri Partner Conference As a sponsor, you can have your own booth in the Showcase area, collaborate to put together Special Interest Groups, etc.

 


 

 

 

The Survey123 Early Adopter Program (EAP) helps you access the latest Beta builds of the software. You can sign in with your existing Esri account and gain access to software downloads, documentation on upcoming features and discussion forums.

 

The Early Adopter Program is critical to Survey123. It allows the development team to share with you early cuts of the software feedback can be gathered. This early feedback is used to refine new features and fixes before they are made available under General Release. The EAP offers a great opportunity for you to try out your own surveys and workflows with the Beta software to anticipate any issues that may arise in the upcoming releases.

 

We just updated the EAP with a Beta version of Survey123 3.7, which is planned to be made available in December this year. Not all the new features and work you see in the EAP will make it to 3.7.Only features that have received positive feedback make the cut for general release. Below is a list of some of Beta features for which we want to actively gather your feedback, and some thoughts on when we estimate the features will join the production release of Survey123.

 

As a general rule, we prefer feedback regarding our Beta releases through the Early Adopter Program Forums. We like to keep discussions in GeoNet for the released version of the software. Keeping things separate avoids potential confusion.

 

Survey123 Feature Reports

 

We released Survey123 Feature Report capabilities back in July 2019. The Early Adopter Program will give you access to the Beta builds of the Survey123 website, which include:

 

  • A new option to generate outputs in PDF format. We want to make sure this works well with your existing report templates and that you do not have any issues with fonts once you open the PDF on your computer.
  • A new option to generate Preview Reports, so you can design your report templates without incurring ArcGIS Online credit costs.

Please note that when generating reports (other than previews) through the Early Adopter Program your account will be charged with credits. Use the preview option if you do not want to be charged.

When testing the new PDF and report preview capabilities, please report your findings (positive and negative) in the new Survey123 website forum in the EAP website. We are targeting 3.7 for the release of both of these functions.

 

Survey123 Field App

 

Through the Early Adopter Program you can access Beta builds of the Survey123 field app for iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS and Linux. The Beta build of the Survey123 field app cannot run on the same device as the released version, so you will need extra hardware to test it or remove the released version off the device first.

 

Our 3.7 release is mostly focused on bug fixes and performance improvements. Information about the specific bug fixes addressed in each Beta update are detailed in the Announcements section of the EAP website. Some of the main areas of work include:

 

  • The numbers and calculator appearances went through an entire overhaul. The main goal of this work is to address data loss issues reported. We also revisited the overall user experience and came up with a new design to accelerate data capture. We believe we got the data loss issue completely resolved. Can you prove us wrong? Your feedback regarding the new look and feel and usability will also be welcomed.
  • Inbox performance improvements. Our own tests show pretty substantial improvements in terms of memory consumption and speed. This means a better user experience and reduced chances of a crash, particularly on low-end devices. We want you to put points, lines and polys to the test in the Inbox, particularly when working with related records. We are not looking at the Inbox as the means to load 10K records ion your device, but working with a few hundred and even 1000 or 2000 should be now much smoother.
  • Added support for Geode external GNSS receivers.

 

The features above are planned for our 3.7 release. We are actively working to address random logout issues in the field app. It is our goal to upload new Beta builds so this networking issues can also be validated through the EAP.

 

The Beta builds of the Survey123 field app are also useful for you to test your existing surveys. As much as we do our best not to break backwards compatibility with older versions, your own tests can highlight issues we would never find on our own.

 

Survey123 Web Form JavaScript API (New)

 

  • This is for any JavaScript developer looking to embed Survey123 forms within a web application. Using this API you can easily have the form interact with your own web app. You can apply your own CSS styling, calculate questions and hook to web form events to make your web app and survey work like one.

 

This is the very first time we expose this feature through the Early Adopter Program. We are initially aiming to release in early 2020, but as usual, the ultimate release date will be dictated by your own feedback through the Early Adopter Program.

 

On-Premises Survey123 setup (Updated)

 

  • A Windows-only setup for those of you who want to deploy the Survey123 website and Survey123 REST API locally in your own on-premises environment.

 

We have had our On-Premises Survey123 setup available in the Early Adopter Program for some time. We are progressively making adjustments and improvements driven by your feedback. Currently, the beta version is ready for anyone who wants to test the website and API locally while keeping a connection to the internet available. If you plan on deploying in a completely disconnected environment (with no access to the internet), keep in mind that Survey123 Connect will not be able to work in that environment (the website and API will).

 

We are aiming towards a release of this feature (subject to positive feedback) within the first half of 2020.

 

Standard Map Types

 

  • Standard map type functionality was introduced in 3.6 as a Beta feature. This is the only Beta feature included in the released builds of the software.  Standard map type functionality needs to be explicitly activated in Connect and the field app, allowing you to work with web maps, mobile map packages and vector tile packages. 
  • Please note that our Beta builds in the Early Adopter Program do not include any new work in this area when compared with the 3.6 release. For this reason, if you are testing this feature you may want to wait for upcoming updates in the Early Adopter Program.

 

 

Other topics

 

You will find other Beta features such as how to use custom JavaScript functions in the field app or how to work with the Survey123 Feature Report service REST API.

Camera systems can help make homes and businesses safer. This technology has become cheaper and more accessible to consumers than ever before. As these systems multiply, they have become an important tool for capturing evidence of criminal activity in our communities. But with so many cameras it can be hard for police to know where these cameras are located or who to contact for access.  

 

Camera registration programs are a new initiative many police departments are introducing to enlist the communities help in crime fighting activities. These programs allow citizens and businesses to register their surveillance cameras with the local police department. Registration in these programs gives police permission to access footage from these cameras if a crime takes place nearby, which can provide much needed evidence in support of investigations.

 

Registering a camera does not provide police remote accessed to the camera or a live video feed, but it does give them a good database of security cameras in the area without having to go door to door to solicit this information.

 

By using the Survey123 for ArcGIS, police departments are easily able to setup a voluntary camera registration form that citizens can use to share the location, characteristics and contact information of private surveillance systems.

 

There are a number of Voluntary Camera Registration forms built with Survey123 out there. For example:

 

 

This article describes how to create your own Voluntary Camera Registration form using Survey123 for ArcGIS. If first explains how to design and publish the form, then provides tips to keep gathered information safe, to prevent unauthorized access. The last sections briefly discusshow you can include a link, or embed the form within a website, social media, etc.

 

You will need an ArcGIS Online account with publishing permissions (Creator User Type), and about 45 minutes of your time to follow instructions in this article.

 

Designing your form

 

To create a new form using Survey123 for ArcGIS, you will need an ArcGIS named user account with permissions to create content and publishing feature services in ArcGIS. If your organization does not have ArcGIS Online yet, you can create an ArcGIS Trial | Free 21-Day Trial subscription for free.

 

Before you start, it is best to spend some time figuring out what questions you want in your form.  Some of the examples above (St Charles, Redlands or Marietta) can serve you as inspiration.

 

Try to keep the form simple.  Write down your questions on paper and think carefully about the exact wording you want to use. Once you have your draft form design on paper, run it through a small group of colleagues and incorporate feedback. Once you have some consensus, it is time to build a first iteration with Survey123.

 

Next, purely as an example, I will provide step by step instructions that you can follow to learn basic techniques to add questions into your form.

 

  • In a web browser, navigate to survey123.arcgis.com and sign in with your ArcGIS Online credentials.  This will open the survey gallery.
  • Click on Create New Survey and select Survey123 Designer. Designer lets you visually create surveys right from within your web browser. It is very easy to use and plenty for what we need.  Survey123 Connect is a more advanced authoring tool, but we will not be using it here.
  • Choose a Name and tag for your project and optionally set a thumbnail. Then click Create.

 

Tip: If the animation below is too small, click on it to enlarge it.

 

 

After your initial survey project setup finishes, the Survey123 designer will open. You can now start adding questions to your form. We are going to organize our form with a header, two question groups, and a closing section for a disclaimer and terms of use acceptance.

 

  • Lets start by adding and labeling the groups as shown in the animation.

 

 

Groups are a great way to break down your form into sections. They can help you make your form more readable. You can add as many groups to your form as you like and even add groups within groups.  For a simple form like this we will keep all questions and groups within a single page.  For larger forms, you may want to break your survey into pages.

 

  • Add the Name, Email and Phone questions into the Contact Information group. Note that you can use hints to add subtitles into your questions and also mark questions as required. For the Name and Phone questions, use a Singleline Text type of question. For the Email, use the Email type of question, which has built-in email validation.

 

 

Tip: You can use the Preview option in the lower-right corner of Survey123 designer to look at your form as you build it. Note that you can preview your form in desktop, tablet and mobile form factors.

 

In the Security Device Information group we are going to add questions to capture the location of the camera and a few key characteristics.

 

  • For the location of the camera, we will add a map question (Geopoint question type). Make sure you mark this question as required. Optionally you can use the left panel to select the default basemap and zoom level for your map.

 

 

  • In addition to the map, it is a good idea to add a question for users to enter the address where the camera is located (Single Line Text), as extra validation.
  • Add a question of type Single Choice to capture the number of cameras at that location. We could add also a Number type of question, but to keep things simple we will just provide three choices: One, Two and Three or more. You may also want to arrange the choices horizontally to reduce the need for users to scroll up and down.

 

 

Next we are going to add a question to find out if it would be possible to have access to the footage and if so, what is the retention policy. We will use a rule to control the visibility of the footage retention question.

 

  • Add a question of type Single Choice. Change its value to Can the footage of this camera/s be accessed and shared? Then add Yes, No  to the choice list. You may want to also add I do not know.
  • Add a second Single Choice question type. For the label, use Footage retention policy. For the choices set them to: A few hours, One day, One week and More than one week.
  • Select the Yes/No question above in the preview and click on the Set Rule button so you can control when the Footage retention policy is shown.

 

 

You can apply rules to choice questions such as Single Choice, Dropdown and Likert.  When defining a rule, you can control visibility on a single question and entire groups.

 

Tip: Save your work from time to time. It does not hurt! The Save button is on the lower-right corner of Survey123 designer.

 

Now we are going to add questions for people to optionally provide additional information about the camera. system. On top of the basic types (text, choices, numbers), Survey123 forms also support photos and even documents.  People for example may want to upload a zip file with blueprints of the building highlighting the exact location and coverage of the camera, etc.

 

  • In the question panel on the right, look for the Image question type and add it to your form. Set the label to Attach a photo of what your camera can see.  You can add multiple Image questions if you want to let users add more than one photo.
  • Add a File Upload question type. Note that you can define what file extensions will be accepted. This question will let users upload documents such as zip files, pdf documents, etc.

 

 

The basics of your form are set. We will now work on the disclaimer section and the header.  The disclaimer section is important according to your own lawyer. Make sure you check with her first!  I will use in this tutorial some boilerplate text as an example but do not quote me on this one! The exact Terms of Use and Disclaimer text you will want to use are something between you and your lawyer.

 

  • Add a Single Choice question to the bottom of your form, outside the group. Use the Title and Hint to paste your disclaimer text.  Reduce all choices to just one: I agree and make sure you mark the question as required. In this way, users will not be able to submit their data unless they agree to the terms.

 

 

The header is also important because that is a good place to insert some context about your Voluntary Camera Registration Program. This is where you can tell users why the Police Department is looking to collect camera information, etc. You can also use the header to bring the logo of your organization.

 

  • Scroll to the very top of your form and click on the Description text in the preview. Then replace the description text on the left panel. Note that you can insert links to other websites, images, change the size and alignment of your text, etc.  Make this look good because it is the first thing people will see.

 

Your form is complete, but since manners matter, we are going to refine the look & feel and also configure a Thank You screen that will appear after a form is submitted.

 

 

 

  • To the right of the Appearance tab, you will find your survey Settings dialog from which you can customize your Thank You screen. Note that you can include links to other websites and also embed your organization's logo.

 

Testing your form

 

The Publish button, in the lower-right corner of the screen lets you publish your form so you can start capturing data with it.  By default, published forms are only available to the author of the survey. That is, you need to login with the credentials of the person that created the survey in order to submit data.  This is by design, so you can test your own form before you share it with other people.

 

  • Click on the Publish button to publish your form.
  • Open the survey link and submit some test data.

 

 

I strongly suggest you give your form a quick test, submitting data and making sure all looks good, before you share it with other people. Once your data is submitted, you can check it through the Data tab in the Survey123 website. You will be presented with both table and map views of your data. Note that you can further edit information submitted. For example, you can update and delete your test records, right from within the Survey123 website.

 

  • Once data has been submitted, open the Data tab of your survey project and explore the submissions.
  • Learn how to update and delete submitted data.

 

Do not be shy, run your form by people in your office and get feedback on it. You can make further adjustments to your survey at this point, and then publish the changes again. Once you feel confident with your form design, you are ready to share it.

 

Sharing your form (to submit data)

 

Using the Collaborate tab, you can share your survey design for others to submit data. You want to be extremely careful following these steps or otherwise you could be compromising the data that users will submit.

 

  • In the Survey123 website, click on the Collaborate tab.
  • On the left side of the screen, make sure that the Submitter tab is selected.
  • In the Who can submit to this survey section, select Everyone.
  • Scroll down a bit to the What can submitters do? section and switch the default option to Only add new records.
  • Click on Save to publicly share your form.

 

 

The What can submitters do? section is critical. You want to make sure you enable only access to adding features. If you also enable the option to update features, then a malicious person could technically query, download and even modify data submitted through your survey. 

 

In short, what we have done so far is to make our survey publicly available, so anyone, even without an ArcGIS account can submit data, but we have disable all options for non-authenticated users to query and download the data. That is, we have shared a survey that can only be used to submit data: your data will not be compromised.

 

Next, you can get the link to your survey and use it within social media, your own website, etc.

 

  • Scroll up to the top of the Collaborate dialog and copy the link to your survey.

 

 

You may notice that you can also get a QR code for your survey and even easily copy and paste HTML code to embed the survey within a website.

 

Sharing your form (for people to look at survey results)

 

Data submitted to your survey will only be available to you, the author of the survey, unless you explicitly share your survey results with others. This can also be done through the Collaborate tab.

 

  • While in the Collaborate tab, open the Viewer section in the left panel.
  • Select the groups within your organization that will have access to the survey data
  • Click Save.

 

 

Any person with an ArcGIS account belonging to the groups you select in this dialog will be able to log into the Survey123 website to look at the results of the survey. Viewers will be able to download, filter and map all submitted data.   Think carefully who you want to grant access to this data. You certainly may not want to allow Everyone to access this data. Keep it safe.

 

Socializing your form

 

A key aspect to make your Voluntary Camera Registration campaign successful is to promote it within your community. Connect with people in your organization to find the most appropriate way to present your  registration form. Using links provided in the Collaborate tab, you can:

 

  • Include links to your form in social media: Facebook and Twitter for example.
  • Include a link or the survey itself within an existing website (use the embed option).
  • Include a link to your survey in an e-mail campaign to residents and business owners in your community.
  • Add a QR code to easily open your form from printed marketing materials.

 

Maintaining your data

 

All data submitted through your form will be kept secure in ArcGIS Online (or your own ArcGIS Enterprise organization if you happen to run on ArcGIS Enterprise). I am not a big fan of exporting data out into Microsoft Excel or other formats because the export output becomes obsolete as soon as someone adds a new record. Having copies of the data proliferate can also become an issue. Whenever possible, it is best to have everyone work against a single source.

 

You can use the Survey123 website to visualize, analyze and curate all data submitted. The Data and Analyze tabs within the Survey123 website are pretty easy to use, yet powerful.

 

I will emphasize here that you can not only view, but also curate all submitted data from the Data tab of your survey in the Survey123 website. All records submitted can be updated and deleted right from the table and individual response dialogs within the Data tab.

 

We did not talk much about the Analyze tab in this article, but you will find more info in the Understanding Your Results with the Analyze Tab post.

 

You can also use other tools within ArcGIS to look, analyze and curate your data. ArcGIS Pro, Web AppBuilder, etc are great examples.  All data in Survey123 resides in a standard ArcGIS Feature Layer, so anything you can do with a Feature Layer, you can also do to Survey123 data.

 

I hope the above was easy to follow. If you have additional questions or feedback, do not hesitate adding your comments below. Thanks!

A minor update to the Survey123 website and field app has just been made available. This new release includes a handful of critical issues:

 

  • BUG-000125792: Japanese and Chinese keyboards not working in the field app on iOS 13.
  • BUG-000125769: The Survey123 field app image gallery is unsorted on Android devices.
  • BUG-000125687: Attempting to publish or save a survey in the Survey123 website containing a multiple choice question with the choice name containing more than 32 characters fails with the error, "Errors when parse form."
  • Null geometry is submitted by the Survey123 web app if there’s no Geopoint question in the survey or the Geopoint question is left blank.
  • Corrupted characters being displayed in some languages in the field app on iOS 13.

 

The latest build number for the Survey123 field app on Android and iOS is now 3.6.157. The Windows version of Connect and then field app has not been updated. 

 

The source code of the Survey123 Enterprise Template in AppStudio for ArcGIS has also been updated to version 3.6.

 

In preparation for the 3.7 update, which is planned to be released before the end the year, we will shortly make the Beta builds of the Survey123 website and the field app available in the Survey123 Early Adopter Program.

According to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies written by J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo and Frodo were born during the Third Age in the years 2890 and 2968 (of the Shire calendar) respectively. Translated to our Gregorian calendar, Bilbo was born in 1290 and Frodo in 1368. Bilbo and Frodo share the same birthday on September 22 and that makes this day a very special one: Hobbit Day.

 

Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”
Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit, Riddles in the Dark.

 

Survey123 version 3.6 is now available to all, even the Elves!

 

Critical fixes

 

This update includes over 30 critical bug fixes in the Survey123 web app and field apps. An area or particular focus has been ensuring a more correct and consistent behavior of your XLSForm expressions. For example, dealinig with relevant statements and submitted data. The general rule is that data should not be submitted from non-relevant questions. That is, the output of your calculations or default values set, will never be sent to ArcGIS for questions where the relevant expression evaluates to false. In addition, with this update relevant statements apply to hidden and calculate questions. Thus, the use of relevant expressions is reinforced not just as the means to hide questions, but also to better control what data is submitted to the target feature layer.

 

You will also find a list of device-specific fixes in this release. Barcode scanning capabilities have been greatly improved on Android devices, as well as other improvements to keyboard and input behavior. Others fixes relate to the new iOS 13 update, which introduced some changes affecting the Survey123 field app.

 

A list of critical BUGs (and relevant enhancements) addressed in this release can be found at the end of this doc.

 

 

Lines and polygons

 

You can now work with line and polygon GIS features within the Survey123 apps. This is possible through the new geotrace and geoshape XLSForm question types, which you can incorporate into your surveys through Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS.  

 

Geotrace and geoshape questions are similar to geopoint questions in that they are shown in your form as a map. The only difference is that with geotrace and geoshape you can create and update lines and polygons respectively.

 

Support for geotrace and geoshape is available in both the Survey123 field and web apps. That is, you can work with lines and polygons from a web browser and also from the native app. The website has also been updated so you can view, filter, analyze and even create feature reports with line and polygon data.

 

There is quite a lot to know when working with lines and polygons in Survey123. You can find more details in our Survey123 Tricks of the Trade: Lines and Polygons post.

 

 

 

 

Single choice grid in the field app

 

We introduced single choice grid in the Survey123 web designer and the web app at version 2.8. We are now expanding support to Survey123 Connect and the field app. Single choice grid allows you to compact series of choice list questions, reducing the need for end-users to scroll up and down the form. They can also help you make your forms more easily readable. The key to using single choice grid is a sequence of more than 2 or 3 questions sharing the same list choices. In XLSForm jargon: A sequence of select_one questions sharing the choice list. This new appearance is ideal when you plan on using forms with a tablet, although keeping labels short and choices limited can give you good results even in smart-phones.

 

In the next animation you can see a single choice grid compacting a set of 5 building condition questions. Note how the choices are labeled just once for the entire set. 

 

 

In XLSForm, you can add a single choice grid by simply enclosing your select questions within a group and setting the appearance of the group to table-list.

 

typenamelabelappearance
begin groupassessment_groupReport building conditiontable-list
select_one evaluationassess_collapseCollapse
select_one evaluationassess_leaningBuilding leaning
select_one evaluationassess_structuralStructural damage
select_one evaluationassess_fall_hazFalling hazards
select_one evaluationassess_group_movGround slope movement
end group

 

Please note that groups using the table-list appearance will take the whole width of the form when your form uses the theme-grid style.

 

Feature report enhancements

 

Survey123 feature reports allow you to create high quality printable documents from your Survey123 data. The layout, content and look and feel of your reports are defined in a Microsoft Word document template. For a basic introduction to Survey123's feature reports, refer to the Understanding Survey123 Feature Reports blog post.

 

 

This update includes a few refinements to the feature report syntax. You can now:

 

  • Control how many decimals should be shown in a number.  ${myNumber | round:2}
  • Extract the elevation of a geopoint question. ${myGeopoint | getValue:"z"}
  • Get the x/y coordinates of a geopoint in a particular spatial reference: ${myGeopoint | getValue:"x":26865}.

 

The template syntax validator has also been improved to handle some logical errors that were not handled before.  In the past, these invalid expressions would pass the syntax validation and then be ignored at run-time.  Starting with this release, you will get a validation error when you attempt to upload the template. For example, the following expression is incorrect:

${if image_field_1 | getValue:"size">0}

A parenthesis should be added as follows:

${if (image_field_1 | getValue:"size")>0}

Or alternatively, you could use:

${if image_field_1}

Another common syntax error is as follows:

{if choiceQuestion1="choice1"}

The equal sign above is used as an assignment. A double = sign should be added  for a comparison:

{if choiceQuestion1=="choice1"}

A side effect of this more strict template syntax validation is that existing templates you may have uploaded will start triggering 'parsing errors'.

        

The complete feature report syntax is described at: Feature report templates—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS 

 

If you happen to be using Survey123 web hooks and Integromat with ArcGIS Enterprise, you will notice that you can now configure the Survey123 Integromat module to create Feature Reports with your own ArcGIS Enterprise instance.

 

Finally, be aware that coinciding with the upcoming ArcGIS Online update in October 2019, each feature report generated will consume 2.5 ArcGIS Online credits. Refer to Understanding Survey123 Feature Reports for more information.

 

Note to ArcGIS Online users: Coinciding with the upcoming ArcGIS Online update in October, Survey123 Feature Reports will consume ArcGIS Online credits.

    

 

Web form view-only mode

 

In most cases, you want to use a Survey123 form to help people capture data. Using web form URL parameters, your survey can be launched with some predetermined responses. You can also use URL parameters to load data from existing records into a survey and let people update that information. With this update, you can also open a survey in read-only mode. This can be done in two steps:

 

  • Go into the Collaborate tab in the Survey123 website and share your survey results (Viewer tab) as appropriate.

 

  • Build a URL setting the mode parameter to view, and pass the objectid of the record you want to display.

https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/1cb28b212b5542acbbdbaa35feba0765?mode=view&objectId=10

If you get an error like shown below, make sure  you share your survey results through Collaborate as described in step 1 above.

 

 

As the mode=view parameter is only introduced with 3.6, you will need to republish old surveys to take advantage of this feature with them. Alternatively, you could also add the version=latest parameter to dynamically upgrade your survey when it loads in the user's web browser. However, it is generally best to republish the survey with the latest version.

 

Extended XLSForm support in the Survey123 field app

 

With this update, we are introducing a handful of very specific enhancements to our XLSForm support in the Survey123 field app. These new features are currently not supported in the Survey123 web app. Demand for these types of capabilities is much more general among Survey123 field app workflows, so we are introducing them in that context exclusively for now.

 

 

Range question

 

The range question is designed to restrict integer or decimal user input to a well defined range. If you setup your survey on top of an existing feature layer, range questions are a perfect fit for fields with a range geodatabase domain. Range questions display in your form as a horizontal slider, ideal for touch screens, although when the control has the focus you can also change its values using the left and right arrow keys.

 

In the screenshot on the right, you can see a range question being used to help users document pH values on a water sample. Values can be easily set between the pH range of 0 (acidic) and 14 (alkaline).

 

Through the XLSForm spec, you can dictate different aspects of the slider such as the minimum and maximum accepted values and the colors of the control. Like other XLSForm questions, you can apply calculations, data validation constraints, default values, etc.

 

Check out the Range help topic for more details.

 

 

Custom height for signature, text (multiline), and geo questions

 

You can now set a custom height for multiline text, signature and geo (geopoint, geotrace, geoshape) questions. This is particularly helpful when you arrange multiple questions in a single row using the theme-grid style, allowing you to adjust the height of different controls to keep your design more symmetric. In the case of text input, expanding the default height also helps signifying to the end-user that large amounts of text can be inputted.

 

The height is set using the body::esri:style column, which has been added to the far right of the XLSForm survey sheet. You can also manually add this column to old XLSForms you may have.

 

typenamelabelappearancebody::esri:style
geopointlocationLocationheight=15
textcommentsCommentsmultilineheight=7
imagesignatureSignaturesignatureheight=20

 

The height value unit is expressed as lines by default, where a line is the height of the current input text font. Alternative units include % (height=25%), where the height is calculated as a percentage of the current window height, and pixels (height=300pixels). Remember not to add spaces between the unit and the value!

 

Pictorial lists

 

There are a few common ways to represent a list of choices: a drop-down list, horizontally, vertically... etc. Carefully choosing the best style for a list, is important. A horizontal arrangement is a good choice for short lists, reducing the need for users to scroll the form up and down. Vertical lists present options in a very clean way, but if you have many choices, a drop-down list will save users time, particularly if you enable auto-complete.

 

There are some cases, where a pictorial representation of a list is by far the best option. Brett Stokes put together a nice collection of examples, which you can see in the animation below. In all these examples, making selections over the images comes more naturally than making the selection over a traditional list of choices. It is more intuitive, can be less prone to errors and quicker for the user to make their selection.

 

 

To learn about including selectable images in your smart form, refer to the Using the image-map appearance in Survey123  post by Brett. Well worth a read!

 

Critical fixes and minor enhancements

 

Survey123 Field app (XLSForm support)

 

  • BUG-000097105 Default values are present in fields that are not relevant.
  • BUG-000124014 Non-relevant repeats are being submitted with values, if the default values or calculations are applied within the repeat.
  • BUG-000123547 Unable to calculate geopoint locations when repeating a survey in the same survey form.
  • ENH-000123296 Hidden and Calculate fields should support relevant expressions.
  • ENH-000105822 Provide ability to create surveys using geometry types other than points in Survey123 (lines, polygons).
  • BUG-000124284 Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS 3.5.x and Survey123 Field App 3.5.x do not hide questions accurately if a relevant column value is calculated on a complex pulldata expression.
  • BUG-000124360 When manually entering Lat/Long for a geopoint location on a 'repeat' question, the 'device location' preview window does not show the device's location until the second repeat and onwards.
  • BUG-000124121 If the spatial filter is enabled for a survey with a 'Query expression' in the 'Inbox Filter', records are omitted even if the records are within the map extent before clicking Refresh.

 

Survey123 Field app (device specific issues)

 

  • BUG-000125295 The Survey123 Field App freezes/crashes when attempting to attach an image from the local device on iOS 13.1 Beta.
  • BUG-000121080 Barcodes cannot be scanned in the Survey123 application on Samsung Galaxy Tab E.
  • BUG-000123872 Survey123 Field app crashes upon launch on Android 5.1.1.
  • BUG-000123228 The keyboard of Android devices with 5.2 inches or lesser screen size disrupts the Survey123 for ArcGIS app sign in page.
  • BUG-000123572 Unable to connect error in Survey123 Field App 3.5.164 on iOS 12.3.1 device when Allow Location Access setting is set to "Never" or "While Using the App".
  • BUG-000115243 The final page in Survey123 for ArcGIS App 3.0 installation wizard on Windows 10 German OS contains an action text that does not match the text indicated on the button below the text.

 

Survey123 Field app (Usability)

 

  • BUG-000105325 Survey123 for ArcGIS maps do not automatically open to the Home extent as default behavior.
  • BUG-000120565 In Survey123 for ArcGIS, Inbox icons in the Map View randomly turn orange or disappear after a point has been edited and sent, or when the Inbox is refreshed within the Map View.
  • ENH-000107453 When using the Tab key to move through text questions in Survey123 field app on the Desktop, the survey does not scroll automatically.
  • BUG-000124636 Editing the Signature field submitted using the Survey123 for ArcGIS field app creates a permanent black bar over the response.

 

Survey123 Web app

 

  • ENH-000113292 Allow the pulldata(@property, utcoffset) function to be used in Survey123 web forms.
  • BUG-000124448 Survey123 webapp version 3.5 fails to return addresses from geopoint using the pulldata() function when geopoint and address questions are in repeat.
  • BUG-000122210 Reverse geocode fails to return results in the Survey123 web app when using a custom geocoder.
  • BUG-000123616 In Japanese language, the data does not show correctly for multiple choice questions in the Survey123 for ArcGIS web app.
  • BUG-000122892 When submitting the form several times in Survey123 for ArcGIS, the sentence mentioned for submitting another survey is misleading in French.
  • BUG-000123376 The setting 'Show message to prompt the user to submit another record' is not honored when the survey is created from Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS.
  • BUG-000118801 An existing secured ArcGIS Server feature service added to ArcGIS Online with credentials saved is not be able to attach images when using the web browser to submit the survey (the data is submitted, but not the attachments).
  • ENH-000118845 Survey123 GeoPoint questions should have the option "Explore" on the Web Map, which activates zoom/pan on the Map.
  • Multiple usability enhancements added to the map control, including an option to enlarge the map when working in a desktop computer and making map navigation easier.

 

Feature reports

 

  • BUG-000111657 Photos submitted in landscape orientation in the Survey123 field app, result in poor quality when individual responses are printed or saved to PDF from the Survey123 website.
  • BUG-000125306 Conditional statements for images with the relevancy setup are not honored in a feature report in Survey123 for ArcGIS.

 

Survey123 Designer and website

 

  • BUG-000123663 The Data tab fails to zoom to the point extent initially for Survey123 for ArcGIS website.
  • BUG-000124275 Ordnance survey basemaps that are specific to the UK act fuzzy within the Survey123 website.
  • You can now manually set choice names for multiple choice questions in the the Survey123 designer.
  • BUG-000125107 The Analyze tab at survey123.arcgis.com does not show the correct Bar Chart reports and percentages for surveys with multiple choice-questions configured with the Batch Editor option when the language for ArcGIS Online Organization is set to 'Japanese - 日本語'.

 

Security

 

  • BUG-000124114 In an organization that does not allow HTTPS only, if a Survey123 for ArcGIS form is accessed via the item details page, the error message, "Request needs to be made over HTTPS" is returned.
  • BUG-000122890 Survey123 for ArcGIS sends a query that is logically correct but appears as a potential SQL injection attack to firewalls.

 

Documentation

 

  • ENH-000124633 Update Survey123 documentation to inform that 'Hints' are not supported within 'Repeats'.
  • BUG-000124657 Update Survey123 with ArcGIS Enterprise documentation to provide more details on the limitations of creating feature reports with feature services hosted in Portal.

Starting with version 3.6, Survey123 supports working with line and polygon GIS features within your smart forms. There are many common scenarios for creating new, or working with existing, line and polygon GIS features in Survey123. For example:

 

  • To support a noxious weed control program, you need a form to report areas where certain chemicals are being applied. You will want your form to include a question for users to delineate the exact area (polygon) where treatment occurred.
  • You want to create a digital form following the SCAT methodology for assessing the impact of an oil spill along a shoreline. Your form must be able to let users highlight the segment (line) of the shoreline, or path, that was assessed.
  • Let's pretend you want to expedite the completion of ATC building inspection forms against an existing collection of building GIS features. In this case, you will want users to open an inspection form for the selected building (polygon) and let them complete all other details.

 

This blog describes how you can add support for line and polygon GIS features in your Survey123 smart forms using Survey123 Connect and XLSForm.  If you are not familiar with Survey123 Connect and XLSForm, please have a look at our Survey123 video tutorials, our XLSForm essentials—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS help topic, or the Survey Customers to Gain Marketing Insight | Learn ArcGIS Learn lesson.

 

Support for configuring map questions in the Survey123 web designer to capture line and polygons is planned for a future release.

                            

The Basics

 

The basics: geoshape and geotrace in Survey123 Connect

 

Hopefully by now you are familiar with the XLSForm geopoint question type. It allows you to bring a map question into your survey, so end users can define a point location of interest as part of your form. The geotrace and geoshape XLSForm question types will also be shown as a map within your form, allowing users to work with line and polygon shapes respectively.

 

To get started, I suggest you build a new test survey with Survey123 Connect and add the following questions:

 

typenamelabel
datetreatment_dateTreatment Date
geoshapetreatment_areaTreatment Area

 

If the geoshape question does not render correctly when previewing your survey, make sure you download and install the latest version of Survey123 Connect.  Geoshape and geotrace questions are only supported with version 3.6 and above.

                              

Next, publish your survey to test your geoshape question within the Survey123 field app or web app. If using the field app, make sure you have version 3.6 or later installed on your device. You should be able to delineate a treatment area and submit. Using the Survey123 website Data tab, you will be able to look at your newly created features.

If you attempt to use geoshape or geotrace questions in forms authored prior to 3.6, keep in mind that the geoshape and geotrace options will not show in type column choice list. If you want to make these new question types appear in your old form, have a look at the Survey123 Tricks of the Trade: Microsoft Excel blog post.

                            

The basics: geoshape and geotrace questions in the Survey123 apps

 

You can use geoshape and geotrace questions in both the Survey123 field app and web app. The user experience in the native app and web browser are very similar: A map is presented to the end user with tools to sketch or digitize the corresponding shape (line or polygon).

 

Here is what using a geoshape question looks like from a web browser (Survey123 web app):

 

 

And here is the experience for capturing a line in the Survey123 field app using a geotrace question:

 

 

You will notice that the map control shows an info bar describing the length and area of the shape digitized. The units in this info bar are set by your device locale. If your locale is set to the United States, imperial units will be used. Otherwise, metric units will be shown.

 

The basics: Looking at captured data in the Survey123 website

 

You can view and perform QA/QC operations on all Survey123 captured data using the Survey123 website. Through the Data tab you can visualize data captured through the geotrace and geoshape question types in a map and individual response views.

 

 

You can also bring your line and polygon data into your own custom Survey123 feature reports.

 

Beyond the basics

 

Adding multiple geo type questions in a survey

 

Values for geo type questions (geopoint, geoshape, geotrace) are stored in the SHAPE column of your surveys feature layer. The ArcGIS geodatabase model only allows for one single SHAPE (geometry) column per feature layer, so this restricts the number of geo questions you can add to a survey to one: either one geopoint, or one geoshape or one geotrace question. The only exception is when you add repeats to your survey: each of your repeats can also include its own geo question.

 

For example, with our SCAT survey, lets pretend you want to use a geotrace question to document the segment of shoreline surveyed and then you want to flag locations where severe oil damage has been found. You could create a survey as follows:

 

typenamelabel
datesurvey_dateSurvey Date
geotraceshoreline_surveyedShoreline segment surveyed
begin repeatsevere_damageSevere damage observations
geopointissue_locationLocation of damage
textissue_commentsComments
imageissue_photoPhoto
end repeat

 

Note that the survey includes two geo questions: one in the main body of the survey, and one inside a repeat. This is allowed because questions within the repeat will be stored in a separate (and related) layer.

 

Input Methods: vertex vs sketch

 

When using geoshape or geotrace questions, you can optionally define the input method of your map.That is, you can control which style of tools will be presented in the map to help users delineate a shape.  You can do this through the body::esri:style column in the survey XLSForm sheet.

 

The map supports to input methods:

 

  • sketch: Enables drawing tools in the map. This is meant to help users quickly draw, or sketch, a line or polygon in one single take.
  • vertex: This input method is more appropriate when you want users to digitize shapes more accurately. The vertex input method provides tools to add vertices one at at time by:
    • Tapping on the map.
    • Centering the map at a target location.
    • Getting the coordinates through the built-in or external GPS.

The vertex method also lets users switch between edit and navigation modes, update and delete existing vertices.

 

You will want to experience on your own each of these two input methods and decide what is best for your particular workflow. In some cases you want a simple and quick way for people to sketch a geometry. In others you want to give them more control, even if that implies some initial trial and error with the tools until they get familiar with them.

 

The following example shows how you can set the vertex input method using the body::esri:style column:

 

typenamelabelbody::esri:style
datetreatment_dateTreatment Date
geoshapetreatment_areaTreatment Areamethod=vertex

 

 

XLSForm functions: Calculating perimeter, area and length.

 

Along with the geotrace and geoshape question types, we have also extended XLSForm support, so you can create expressions to work with these geometries. Two common functions we anticipate you using are area and length. Back to our noxious weed abatement scenario, the area function could be used to automatically compute the area treated.

 

typenamelabelcalculationbind::esri:fieldType
datetreatment_dateTreatment Date
geoshapetreatment_areaTreatment Area
hiddentreatment_sqmCalculated Area in sqmarea(${treatment_area})esriFieldTypeDouble

 

Note that in the example above, the calculated area is stored in a hidden field. This is optional, as you could be using a decimal question type instead. You can use a hidden question to keep the output value without presenting it to the end user.  Hidden questions are mapped automatically to text questions in the geodatabase but since I want to store the area as a number, I added esriFieldTypeDouble value to the bind:esriFieldType XLSForm column.

 

The output of the distance and area functions is always in meters (or square meters), but you can easily apply conversions and rounding as needed.

 

round(area(${treatment_area}),2)Extracts the area in square meters of a geoshape and rounds the value to 2 decimals
distance(${treatment_area})Calculates the perimeter of a geoshape or the length of a geotrace. Output in meters.
distance(${shoreline_surveyed}) div 1000Gets the distance of a geotrace geomery in meters and divides by 1000 to get the distance in kilometers.
distance(${pipe_to_install}) * ${price_per_meter}Estimates the installation cost of a pipe.

 

The distance and area functions can also be used in other contexts. In the example below, we use the function to control if a particular question will be required or not. If the area treated is less than 100 square meters, then a justification text question will be shown, but it will not be compulsory. If the area is larger than 100 square meters, then a justification must be provided.

 

typenamelabelrequired
datetreatment_dateTreatment Date
geoshapetreatment_areaTreatment Area
textjustificationJustificationarea(${treatment_area})>100

 

More on XLSForm functions:  repeats, sum and count.

 

With some creative thinking, there are some more advanced XLSForm techniques you could leverage when working with geotrace and geoshape questions. In the next example, a repeat is used to capture the exact location of electric poles. For each pole, type, observations and some GPS metadata for the pole location is collected. Using the sum function, a line feature representing the electric line joining all the poles is automatically generated.

 

typenamelabelcalculation
datesurvey_dateSurvey Date
begin repeatpolesPoles
geopointpole_locationPole Location
hiddenpole_haAccuracy (m)pulldata("@geopoint", ${location},"horizontalAccuracy")
select_one typespole_typePole Type
textpole_obsObservations
end repeat
geotracepole_lineElectric Linesum(${pole_location})
hiddenpole_count# Poles in Linecount(${pole_location})

 

While not included in the example above, it would make sense to set the geotrace question as readonly, to ensure that the electric line is truly following all the pole locations within the repeat. Otherwise the end user could open the map for the pole_line question and manually alter its geometry. Depending on your workflow, the desired behavior is up to you and can be configured either way.

 

Geotrace and geoshape in the Survey123 field app Inbox

 

So far, we have explored how to use the geotrace and geoshape questions to enter new line and polygon features. In some scenarios however you may want to simply reference existing line and polygon features and help drive data capture workflows within Survey123.

 

A classic example is that of building inspections. For example if you need to score a set of buildings to assess fire risk, or to evaluate damage after a hurricane or earthquake. Your intent in this scenario is not to create or update the polygon footprints. Instead, what you want is to update attributes in these existing buildings based on your own on-site assessment.

 

In this case, you will want to build your survey on top of the existing building (polygon) layer. The geoshape question will help you drive the whole user experience in the Survey123 field app, allowing the selection a building from the Inbox map and opening the assessment form for the selected building right away. When submitting your survey, the polygon shape of the building will remain untouched, but the attributes reflecting the assessment will change.

 

The next animation shows the whole workflow: 1) Bring features (polygons) into the Inbox, 2) Select a feature from the map to open its corresponding form, and 3) Submit changes to update the feature:

 

 

If this pattern interests you, keep in mind that the Survey123 field app Inbox is meant to work with a small number of features. When enabling the Inbox in Connect, I strongly recommend you set a filter to query and filter the features based on attributes (buildings pending inspection, or buildings assigned to the logged-in user, for example). From a practical perspective, with 3.6, you will not want to load more than 200 or 300 surveys in the Inbox. You will see some new performance improvements for the Inbox coming in future releases, but as of version 3.6, you will need to keep the number of records loading in the Inbox as low as possible.

 

Performance improvements to the Inbox are coming with version 3.7. As of 3.6, keep the number of records in the Inbox under a couple of hundred by applying spatial and attribute queries to the Inbox in Survey123 Connect.

 

For a more detailed description on the Inbox, check our Prepare for editing existing survey data—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS help topic.

 

Including lines and polygons in your Feature Reports

 

Using Survey123 Feature Reports you can create high quality printable documents for any of your Survey123 records. TheUnderstanding Survey123 Feature Reports blog post describes in more detail how to use this feature. The Feature Report syntax has been extended to allow you to dynamically include in your report the perimeter and length and area properties of a survey record. For example:

 

  • ${segment_surveyed | getValue:"length":"meters":"geodesic"}
  • ${treatment_area} | getValue:"area":"hectares":"geodesic"}

 

The length property returns the length of a line and the perimeter of a polygon. The area property only applies to polygon features. The length unit options are feet, kilometers, meters, miles, nautical-miles and yards, for length. For area: acres, hectares, square-miles, square-kilometers, square-meters, square-feet and square-yards. The last property defines if you want to get the planar or geodesic measurement. If your data is in WGS 84 Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere, which is going to be the case with Survey123 unless you set your own custom projection on the data, you should always use geodesic. If your data uses a local projection, typically planar will be the best option.

If you use Survey123 Connect to author forms you are surely to become a regular of Microsoft Excel and the Survey123 XLSForm templates and samples. In this blog post, you will find some tips to help you be more productive with all of that. The first half of the post focuses on the Survey123 XLSForm templates and samples, describing how you can manipulate them to your liking. The second half compiles a handful of general productivity tips for Microsoft Excel.

 

Survey123 Connect XLSForm Templates

 

Some context first: XLSForm, .xls files and Microsoft Excel

 

Before jumping into the actual tips, I want to provide some clarification about Microsoft Excel and how it relates to XLSForm and Survey123. The XLSForm specification describes the syntax you need to follow in order to define a smart form in an .xls spreadsheet file. Survey123 adheres to the XLSForm specification. The foundation of Survey123 forms is ultimately an XLSForm document (.xls file).

 

Xls files were introduced in 2007 by Microsoft. Initially it was a proprietary format, but it was ultimately shared as an Open Specification. Technically, you can use any means to create Survey123 forms as long as you follow the XLSForm syntax and the output is stored in a proper .xls binary file. You do not need to use Microsoft Excel, other programs such as Open Office, Libre Office, Numbers can create xls files.

 

Formulas and data validation in Survey123 templates and samples

 

Survey123 Connect includes a number of samples and templates to help you get started with XLSForms. These .xls files (technically .xlsx) have been created using Microsoft Excel, and while we know they can be used and manipulated outside Microsoft Excel, we do not test them outside of this program.  On top of the compulsory XLSForm sheets (survey, choices and settings), our templates and samples include a number of formulas and data validation rules meant to facilitate the authoring of XLSForm compliant documents.  For example:

 

  • Several XLSForm columns in the survey spreadsheet include choice lists: type, appearance, bind: esriFieldType, etc.  This is to make it easier for you to pick a valid XLSForm choice.
  • A data validation rule in the name column of the survey sheet will highlight cells that have duplicated values. It also ensures that the value you enter will be accepted by ArcGIS as a field name. It checks for reserved keywords, length and special characters.
  • A yellow tip briefly describes the intent of each XLSForm column.
  • etc.

 

The formulas and data validation rules included in the Survey123 templates and samples are for your convenience, but they are not strictly necessary. If you feel these validation rules and formulas are in your way, you can manipulate and even eliminate them.

 

The next animation shows how you can access the data validation rules of a cell in Microsoft Excel.

 

 

Virtually every cell in our samples and templates has data validation. At this moment, I just want to make sure you know how to open the data validation rules for a particular cell.

 

Yellow tips (and how to hide/disable them)

 

When you select a cell in the survey sheet, you always get a yellow tip.  We added them to describe the purpose of the different columns in the survey sheet.  Below is the tip for the bind::esri:fieldAlias for example.

 

 

The yellow tips provide good info, but they also can get on your way obstructing the view of your form design. If you simply hit the Esc key, the tip goes away until you select another cell.

 

 

The yellow tip, in Microsoft Excel jargon, is an Input Message. To disable it, you need to go into the data validation dialog as shown in the next animation. 

 

 

If you feel ready for it, you can also disable all the Input Messages in one go. First, select all cells in the survey sheet using Ctrl-A, then open the Data Validation dialog and disable the Input Message for all.

 

Manipulating XLSForm lists such as appearance, type, etc.

 

As described above, some specific columns in the survey sheet limit inputs to values within a list. This is the case, for example, for the type, appearance, bind::esri:fieldType, required and readonly columns. It is important to know how to manipulate these lists.

 

Take the type and appearance lists, for example. They define, respectively, the XLSForm question types and question appearances that Survey123 supports. As support for new question types and appearances grows, lists in old surveys  you may have created could become obsolete.  For example, support for geotrace and geoshape question types came with version 3.6.  If your survey used a template downloaded with 3.5, these question types will be missing.

 

If you look at the data validation of a cell in the type column, you will see that it limits input to a list. The list is defined as a range of cells coming from the types sheet.  The types sheet is not part of the XLSForm spec.  It was spcifically added to the Survey123 Connect templates to help build data validation rules like this. It also serves as a nice quick reference for XLSForm syntax, listing the different question types, appearances, operators  and other things you can use.

 

If you want to add a missing entry to a list, you will do it in the types sheet. The next animation shows how you can add the geotrace and geoshape question types into a pre-3.6 template.

 

 

The same technique described above can be used to add new appearances. 

 

You should keep in mind two important things:

You must add new entries in the types sheet one by one. That is: You insert one new row, and you add values in it. Then you add the next row and so on and so forth. If you insert more than one row without values, your list range will not be happy.

You must enter new entries somewhere in the middle of the list. That is, never add a new entry at the very beginning (first position) or end (last position) of the list.

In the case of the lists for the required and readonly columns, you may want to delete the data validation rule completely if you want to enter an XLSForm expression in them.  The list included by default only has one value: yes. If you want to enter expressions you may want to delete the data validation rule to eliminate the drop-down list.

 

Creating your own template

 

By now you may be wondering if you can create your own template. To some extent, the answer is: yes. You can first create a new survey from the Advanced Template and make your own modifications to the Excel file. You can then use the Create a new survey option to derive new surveys out of your own template.

 

 

What I like about this approach is that not only you can create a new survey with all the modifications in your Excel file, your new survey will also inherit other properties of your template, such as the thumbnail, summary and description of your own template. Style, Inbox and Image settings in your template will also be matched, as well as custom content in your media folder if you ever add it to your template form.

 

If you publish your template from Survey123 Connect and share it with groups within your organization, other people will be able to use it  too.  Your survey, once published, will appear in the My Organization category of the New Survey dialog in Connect.

 

The real advantage here, again, goes well beyond tweaks to the data validation rules and formulas. It is other things in your template, like settings or even common lists you may have added in the choice sheet that would benefit anyone in your organization using your template.

 

Microsoft Excel Productivity Tips

 

So far, I have described specific tips to handle the Survey123  templates and samples that come with Survey123 Connect. Next, I want to compile a few general Microsoft Office tips for all of us who spend time designing Survey123 forms using XLSForms, Microsoft Excel and Connect. It is likely that you will already know many of the tips listed, but if just a single one you don't, that may make this read worthwhile.  If you have other tips you want to share, please add them as a comment below, so we can keep the list growing.

 

Inserting new rows, the quick way: Ctrl-Shift-+.

 

It is no secret that you can insert a new row by selecting a row, right-clicking and then using the insert option in the context menu. If you want to do that same thing much more quickly, select a row and then hit Ctrl Shift +.

 

 

Careful with copy paste!

 

Copy-pasting is often our friend. Nothing wrong with it... unless you copy too much. In Excel, when you do a standard copy-paste, you actually are copying way more than you think: you are copying the cell values, but also formatting style and formulas.  It is the formula bit that can get you in trouble, particularly when you copy cells from one xls file to the next.  To avoid any issues, I like to copy just the values.  This is described well in this Microsoft article.

 

Extend values and formulas

 

This tip is particularly valuable when constructing lists in the XLSForm choice sheet. Simply double-click on a cell's bottom right corner to extend that value and formula down to the end of the list. In the animation below this technique is used to apply a list name to over 250 list choices.

 

 

Keyboard shortcuts

 

In Microsoft Excel, using the mouse is often the slowest approach to get anything done. There are keyboard short-cuts for anything you can imagine. I use keyboard shortcuts for selections quite a bit: Ctrl + A to select all cells in a sheet and  Ctrl + Shift + Down Arrow to expand a selection to the bottom of a list.

 

But there are way too many shortcuts to describe and only a few that you will truly take advantage of. If you hit Alt, Microsoft Excel will describe keyboard shortcuts to open a ribbon. For example, Alt + A opens the Data ribbon but you do not have to remember that, because if you simply hit Alt, the Data ribbon will be highlighted with A as a reminder. Even better, if you hit Alt + A not only the Data ribbon opens, but also every function within it is also highlighted with its shortcut. For example, Alt + A + V opens the Data Validation menu.

 

 

Again, just a few tips. If you want to share a few more, please do so below!

There is truth in the saying a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes I wonder if that is enough, no pun intended, to give you the whole picture. Lets burn into that image the date and time when the photo was taken, the geographic coordinates of that location or some other critical information, and the value of that picture is now multiplied. That will make your photo be worth a few more than one thousand words, and most importantly, give you the whole picture.

 

Watermarking is an old, yet useful concept, allowing you to superimpose extra information on a photo.

 

In the Street Service Report survey example in the right side, you will appreciate that the photo taken from Survey123 automatically includes the Job ID as well as the date and time when the photo was taken.  

This information is part of the image, it is a photo watermark.

 

Watermarking is often used for two main reasons:

 

  • To add critical information necessary to understand what is depicted in the photo, even if the photo is presented out of context.
  • To show evidence that the photo was taken at a particular time and location, or by a particular person.

 

Many field data collection workflows can benefit from photo watermarking. Asset inspections, damage assessments or code violation reports are good examples.  For an asset inspection, you may want to burn into the photo the unique identifier and status of the asset. In a damage assessment or while documenting a code violation, you can use watermarks to carry the location, time and name of the inspector or team that shot the photo.

 

Starting with version 3.5, the Survey123 field app has built-in photo watermarking capabilities.  As you will learn through this article, you can create watermark expressions to add date, time, location and user information into your photos. You can even dynamically set the content of your watermarks with data previously entered in your smart form.  Survey123 watermark expressions give you a great deal of flexibility to control the placement and display properties of your watermarks.  All it takes is a bit of XLSForms magic.

 

To configure a survey with photo watermarking capabilities, you need to design your survey with Survey123 Connect. Survey123 Connect is a desktop application used to author Survey123 projects following the XLSForm specification. With XLSForms you define the questions and behavior of your smart form in Microsoft Excel (following the XLSForms syntax). XLSForm files are then published as Survey123 forms into ArcGIS with Survey123 Connect. If you are not familiar with Survey123 Connect and XLSForms, I suggest you start with our XLSForms video tutorials in YouTube, or with our step by step XLSForm guides.

 

Getting started with photo watermarking

 

Watermark definitions are applied to image questions using the bind::esri:parameters XLSForm column. For example:

 

typenamelabelbind::esri:parameters
geopointlocationGPS Location
imagephotoPhotobottomRightWatermark="Bula World"

 

The above will add a watermark with the text Bula World in the lower-right corner of your photo. Pretty much self explanatory. Don't you think? The most obscure aspect in all of this is the Bula part.

 

A photo watermark expression in Survey123 is split by an equal sign into two parts:

 

  • Watermark placement: The first half defines the placing of your watermark within the photo.
  • Watermark content: The second part is always enclosed in double quotes and defines the contents and display properties of your watermark.

 

Watermark expressions are extremely sensitive to extra spacing and casing. Tip: Do not add extra spaces between the placement and the equal sign, or in between your watermark content quoted string and the equal sign.

Watermark placing

 

The first half of your watermark expression defines its location within the image. You can choose betweeen 9 different positions:

 

  • topLeftWatermark
  • topCenterWatermark
  • topRightWatermark
  • leftCenterWatermark
  • centerWatermark
  • rightCenterWatermark
  • bottomLeftWatermark
  • bottomCenterWatermark
  • bottomRightWatermark

 

For the bottom-right corner of your photo, you can either use bottomRightWatermark, or simply watermark, for short. That is, bottomRightWatermark="Bula World" and watermark="Bula World" are equivalent.

 

You can add more than one watermark to your photos. For example, you can add one in the top-left corner, and another one in the bottom-right corner.  We will look at this later but before that, lets progressively disclose how to control the contents of your watermark.

 

Adding static text and basic text formatting

 

The content and display properties of your watermark are set in the second half of your watermark expression.

bottomLeftWatermark="Bula World&color=red"

leftCenterWatermark="Bula World&color=red&size=18"

watermark="Bula World&color=red&outlineColor=black&haloColor=white&size=12&bold=true&margin=10"

 

Note that you can add one or more formatting parameters. All you need to do is to separate them with an ampersand sign (&). The complete list of text formatting parameters can be found in the Watermark Hep Topic.  Here are the most common:

 

ParameterExampleNotes
color

color=red

color=#0000FF"

You can specify the color using a color code name or an hexadecimal value. The default color is blue. Find a list of colors at W3Schools.
outlineColoroutlineColor=blackHexadecimal color values and color names are also accepted.
haloColorhaloColor=white
fontfont=ArialArial, Helvetica, Cochin, Scheme, Verdana, Optima, Courier New...
sizesize=12Set in pixels
marginmargin=10Sets the margin in pixels from the edge of the image

 

Colors: In terms of colors, I like to set a bright color for the text (color), a dark one for the outline and then white for the halo. That ensures the watermark will stand out on top of your photo. The W3Schools list of color codes and hexadecimal values is a great place to help you define colors properly.

 

Text (and image) Size: The size parameter deserves a more detailed explanation.  Setting the right size is going to be a trial and error exercise and will largely depend on how you plan to use your watermarks.  For example, you may want to watermark photos so you can use them in a printed report, or simply show them in a screen within a dashboard or web mapping application. Depending on the use, you may want larger or smaller text.  Testing the size of your text in Survey123 Connect can be tempting, but you really want to look at your watermarks in the same environment where your users will ultimately use them. Do not go by what you see in Connect: validate your text size on paper if you intend to print, on a mobile device if you want people to preview the watermark from a device, etc

 

The size parameter is measured in pixels. For this reason, the size of the photo really comes into play.  While there are many devices out there and each may generate photos of different sizes, Survey123 allows you to define the size of photos taken with the Survey123 camera.  This is controlled through the Settings | Images dialog in Connect as shown below.

 

 

By default, Survey123 Connect always sets your image size to 640px on the longest edge.  In a 640px image, text at 12 pixels in size will show pixelated.  You could increase the size to 16 pixels for better results. If you change the image size to 1280, at 12px your text will be very small; you may want to change then the size to 24 or 26.

 

The default image size set by Connect (640px) is not ideal for watermarking. Give it a go in your own, but I typically use 1280px because otherwise there is barely any room for the watermark.

 

Breaklines: If you want to break your text into two or more lines, you can simply add \n to your text. For example:

watermark="Bula \n World"

You will likely use break lines all the time to split your watermark content.

 

Adding dynamic content: Location and Dates & Times

 

Very often you will want to add information in your watermark about the current date, time and location where the photo was taken. You may be tempted to use XLSForm variables to get this information into your watermark, but you should not. We will learn later how to add data from your form into the watermark.

 

To add the current location or time information you will want to use watermark-specific syntax. For example:

watermark="Inspected on: @[dateTime:short]"

watermark="Inspected on: @[dateTime:short] \n At @[latitude longitude]"

watermark="Inspected on: @[date:dddd] \n At @[latitude longitude] \n Accuracy: @[accuracy] meters"

watermark="Lat @[latitude] \n Lon: @[longitude]"
watermark="USNG: @[usng]"

 

Here is a list of accepted placeholders to extract location-related information. All location data is relative to the place where the photo is taken.

 

PlaceholderNotes

@[longitude:ddm]

@[longitude:dms]

@[latitude]

@[longitude]

@[latitude longitude]

Use the ddm and dms qualifiers to get the coordinates in degrees-decimal-minutes versus degrees, minutes and seconds. If you do not explicitly set a coordinate format you get DMS.

You can use @[latitude longitude] to get the coordinate pair at once, but it is useful to get the coordinates separate so you can split the data across two lines.

@[mgrs]

@[usng]

@[utm]

Reports the location where the photo has been taken in MGRS, USNG and UTM coordinate formats respectively.
@[altitude]Returns the elevation in meters where the photo was taken as reported by the device.
@[compass]Returns the compass bearing at the time the photo was taken.

@[direction]

@[speed]

Returns the direction and speed of travel when the photo was taken. If the user is not moving when capturing the photo, these values will be empty
@[accuracy]The horizontal accuracy as reported by the device when the photo was taken.

 

Lets go with time-related information, which is also relative to the instant when the photo is taken.

 

PlaceholderNotes

@[datetime]

@[datetime:short]

@[date]

@[time]

Returns the date and time when the photo was taken. Unless otherwise specified, the date and time are formatted according to the date and time formatting rules in the device.  The :short qualifier will output the date/time in a compact format, but still using the formatting rules from your device.

 

If you want to dictate date/time formatting rules independent of the device used to capture the photo, then you need  to explicitly set formatting rules in the watermark expression.

 

Here are a few examples for formatting dates and time:

 

@[datetime:d MMM yyyy HH:mm]  Example output: 7 Aug 2019 14:01

@[date:dddd]                                  Example output: Sunday

@[time:hh:mm t]                              Example output: 14:23 Pacific Daylight Time

 

To create your own formatting rules, the following tables should come handy:

 

FormatterDescription
dThe day as number without a leading zero (1 to 31)
ddThe day as number with a leading zero (01 to 31)
dddThe abbreviated localized day name (e.g. 'Mon' to 'Sun')
ddddThe long localized day name (e.g. 'Monday' to 'Sunday')
MThe month as number without a leading zero (1 to 12)
MMThe month as number with a leading zero (01 to 12)
MMMThe abbreviated localized month name (e.g. 'Jan' to 'Dec')
MMMMThe long localized month name (e.g. 'January' to 'December')
YYThe year as two digit number (00 to 99)
YYYYThe year as four digit number

 

FormatterDescription
hThe hour without a leading zero (0 to 23 or 1 to 12 if AM/PM display)
hhThe hour with a leading zero (00 to 23 or 01 to 12 if AM/PM display)
HThe hour without a leading zero (0 to 23, even with AM/PM display)
HHThe hour with a leading zero (00 to 23, even with AM/PM display)
mThe minute without a leading zero (0 to 59)
mmThe minute with a leading zero (00 to 59)
sThe second without a leading zero (0 to 59)
ssThe second with a leading zero (00 to 59)
zThe milliseconds without leading zeroes (0 to 999)
zzzThe milliseconds with leading zeroes (000 to 999)
APThe AM/PM display. AP will be replaced by either "AM" or "PM"
apThe am/pm display. ap will be replaced by either "am" or "pm".
tThe timezone

 

 

Adding previously entered data from your form

 

It is possible to add a watermark using data previously entered in your form. In the example at the very beginning of this article, we added the Job ID value to the watermark.  You could also add an address or a priority, even some comments from the person completing the form.

 

Data from your form cannot be added directly in the bind::esri:parameters column. Do not attempt to include standard XLSForm functions within your watermark expression. The right way to do this is to first put together the watermark content in a separate question, and then reference that. Here is a basic example:

 

typenamelabelbind::esri:parameterscalculation
geopointlocationLocation
textcommentsComments
calculatewatermarkWatermarkconcat("Comments", ${comments},"&size=20")
imagephotoPhotowatermark=${watermark}

 

Note how the first half of the watermark expression defining the placement of the watermark is added in the bind::esri:parameters while the second half, defining the content, is prepared in a separate calculate question and then referenced through an XLSForm variable.

 

To compose the watermark content, I am using a calculate type of question. Calculate questions are never shown in the actual form, but are useful when you want to compute some temporary values to be used somewhere else within the form. The value is computed using an expression in the calculation column.  A calculate question is very similar to a hidden question.  The only difference is that calculations are compulsory for calculate questions and not for hidden questions.

If you do not want the output of your calculate to be stored as a GIS attribute in your feature layer, set its bind::esri:fieldType column to null.

The safest way to construct complex watermark expressions is through the concat() function.  You can do pretty interesting things when working in this way. Not only you can bring data from your form, but also control the formatting of your text dynamically. In the next example, we set the color and content of the watermark text dynamically based on information entered by the user in the form.

 

typenamelabelbind::esri:parameterscalculation
geopointlocationLocation
select_one yes_nois_urgentIs urgent?
textcommentsComments
calculatetext_colorText Colorif(selected(${is_urgent},yes),'red','green')
calculatewmWatermarkconcat("Comments", ${comments},"&color=",${text_color})
imagephotoPhotowatermark=${wm}

 

Finally, note that when you reference watermark content in bind::esri:parameters as shown above, you no longer need to enclose the second half of the watermark expression with double quotes. Double quotes are needed to help the parser process the contents of bind::esri:parameters in case that you include spaces in your watermark expression. When you reference pre-computed watermark content like in this example, you can't add spaces, so no quotes are needed.

 

 

Adding images to your watermark

 

Say you want to add a logo to your photos. You can. Simply add your image in PNG or JPEG format into the media folder of your survey, and then use the image and imageSize watermark parameters:

watermark="image=MyLogo.png"

watermark="image=MyLogo.png&imageSize=35&text=All rights reserved"

In the example above I wanted to show the text after the image, so I decided to add the text parameter explicitly.

 

Adding multiple watermarks

 

Now that you know how to create your own watermark expressions, you may like to hear that you can add many to the same photo!  All you need to do is to separate your different watermark expressions with spaces within the bind::esri: parameters column.

 

For example, you can write this within bind::esri:parameters:

topLeftWatermark="Bula World" topRrightWatermark="Bye World"

 

As with many things XLSForms, you will want to start easy and increase the complexity of your watermark expressions progressively. You can use Survey123 Connect to make sure your syntax is good and do some preliminary testing, but eventually you will want to test your watermarks from the field app and if you plan your photos to be printed, print them to make sure you get them right.

 

Known limitations

 

  • Photo watermarking is only available in the Survey123 field app. All watermark expressions will be ignored by the Survey123 web app.
  • You cannot combine watermark expressions with the annotate or draw appearances of image questions.
  • On iOS, the Unrestricted image size currently doesn't support watermarks. The image will be scaled down to 1920 pixels on the longest edge.

 

Other resources

 

A great resource to see many photo watermark examples is the Watermarks XLSForm sample included in Survey123 Connect.  It includes over 20 different watermarks across multiple pages.

 

 

Our Watermarks—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS help topic is a great reference too.

 

 

Happy watermarking!

A new update to the #Survey123 field app is now available in the app stores. The new build number is 3.5.177. This minor update is a targeted release addressing two critical issues recently raised:

 

  1. BUG-000124227: Downloading a survey will hang when using Portal 10.7 or earlier, or when trying to download and open a shared survey via the share URL link from website (shortened URL).
  2. Offline TPK files are not displaying correctly in the basemap menu on 32-bit Android devices.

 

Many, many thanks to TCPUD GIS , Eric Pescatore , Lindsay King , Kenneth Eggering , Braden Burkholder , Carol Northcott , Tatag Bagus Narendra , Jennifer Lidgett , Mason Bailie and Luke Amos-Binks for helping diagnose the issues  above and validating the fixes through our Early Adopter Program.

A Survey123 update is now available across all supported platforms. This release includes some important fixes. To download the latest version of the Survey123 field app and Connect refer to the Install Survey123 for ArcGIS—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS help topic. Changes to the Survey123 website are available without further action on your side.

 

Here are the main issues addressed:

 

Survey123 website

 

  • BUG-000123405 Cannot open a survey published with Survey123 Connect from the form item details page.
  • BUG-000123464 Generating Feature Reports in the Survey123 for ArcGIS website fails with the error message, "Generate reports failed. You do not have enough credits to perform this operation. Contact your organization administrator for assistance" when an organization has negative credits. Thanks to Becky N who described this problem in GeoNet:Feature Reports Failed - Not Enough Credits 

 

Survey123 Connect and Field App

 

  • BUG-000123925 A survey containing hidden question type storing the data values for start and end time of the survey (using calculation) fails to load the records in the Inbox folder.
  • BUG-000123746 Constraint validation fails to execute if used against a question set as non-required if the question is followed immediately by a hidden question with a calculation. Thanks to Tarun Jaiswal for raising this.
  • BUG-000123822 Pulldata (CSV) will not work against a question of type note if the XLSForm name column is left empty.  Thanks to Florence Raimbault for finding it out.
  • Date questions are now set to use a default time of noon as opposed to mid-night. This helps avoiding unintended time-zone shifting issues when applying XLSForm expressions. Kudos go to Nicolas Roger.
  • Geopoint calculations within a repeat are now working.Thanks to Adilson Furlani for reporting issues with calculations affecting the first record of a repeat with 3.5.
  • The page counter when using the pages style in a survey now works correctly in Arabic.

 

With this update, we are also introducing support for Garmin Glo 2. To learn how to make a connection to your Garmin Glo 2 from Survey123, please check Direct GNSS external receiver support in Survey123 3.3 

 

As usual, our What's new in Survey123—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS help topic highlights what is new in this and previous releases.

 

In addition to this update, you will also find the initial Beta builds of our 3.6 release available for testing through our Early Adopter Community | Esri Early Adopter Program  The Beta builds include support for polygons and polylines, web maps, mobile map packages and many other map enhancements. A Windows setup program to install the Survey123 website and REST API locally is also ready for testing. We are looking at September for our next update.

Survey123 includes out of the box functionality to help you generate high quality documents out of submitted surveys. This is extremely useful when you need to present your survey123 data following strict formatting guidelines, for example when mimicking legacy paper forms or to comply with legal documents. 

 

In this blog post I will describe how you can configure this feature report functionality against your own surveys, defining the content and look & feel of your own feature reports.

 

 

A bit of context: Survey123 feature reports vs summary reports

 

Before we get into the details, I want to provide some context up-front about what exactly I mean by feature reports.

Generally, the word report is associated with summary reports where data is aggregated to help identify trends. Survey123 includes basic summary report capabilities, but these are not the focus here. This discussion is about feature reports. A feature report presents data from a single survey record.

 

Say for example you use Survey123 to support asset inspections and you want to generate one document, as proof-of-work, for each inspection performed. For that you use feature reports. Say Survey123 is used to document city code violations and you want to generate and mail individual tickets for violations observed... For that you use feature reports too.  The purpose of a feature report is not to aggregate data across multiple surveys. The purpose is to represent the data a single submitted survey.

 

In a way, the Survey123 feature report capability is about bringing your survey data back into a form format, except that in this case, you want the form to present data, as opposed to using the form to collect data.

 

Creating a feature report from the Survey123 website

 

The following animation shows how you would generate a report from the Survey123 website. Note that the feature report is triggered from the Data tab in the Survey123 website.  The Data tab is designed to help you explore and drill down into individual survey records (features).  Using the map or the table views you can select a particular survey record and generate a report for it. That is, of course, assuming that you have previously configured your survey with a template. You will learn shortly about creating your own report templates.

 

 

Feature reports can be generated for one or multiple records at once. You can use filters or manually select multiple records using the shift key.  If you create a single report, you will be able to open the document right away from your browser. If you create reports in bulk (from a selection), then the outputs will be stored in your ArcGIS account.

 

The Survey123 feature report service will always create a single document for every record you select. That is, reports from multiple records will not be merged into a single document.  If you select 200 survey records and you trigger feature reports for them, then Survey123 will create one document for each record: 200 separate documents.

 

Creating a Sample Report Template

 

To get started on your own, you need first a report template to create feature reports. This is how you create one:

 

  1. In the Survey123 website, go to the Data tab of your survey.
  2. Select one record from the table or the map.
  3. Click on Feature Report in the top bar
  4. In the Feature Report panel that just open on the left side, click on the Manage Templates link.
  5. Create a new sample template as shown in the animation below and close the dialog.
  6. Generate a report.

 

 

Now that you have a template, click on the Generate Report button and open the resulting output document.  The sample template is generated automatically, and as such, will not create the most beautiful results, but it is a great starting point for you to refine it.

 

Feature report templates are stored along with your survey in your ArcGIS account. If you navigate to the directory of your survey within your ArcGIS content, you will find your feature report Microsoft Word template in there.  You can associate one or more templates with a single survey.

 

All templates you associate with your survey will be available to any user that has Viewer access to your survey. That is, anyone who has been granted Viewer access to your survey, will also be able to generate reports using the templates you define for that survey.

 

Getting started with custom feature report templates

 

Going back to the Manage Templates link you will be able to download the sample template to your computer.  Once you download the template, you will realize that it is a simple Microsoft Word document. This is what the sample template for my Water Violation v2 survey looks like:

 

 

You can see right away how templates work: A series of placeholders for questions in your form are included in the template. The most basic syntax for the placeholders looks like ${question_name}. All you need to do is to make your Microsoft Word template document look the way you want and insert the Survey123 feature report placeholders accordingly. 

 

Once you are happy with your report template, you can upload it using the Manage Templates link.  Until you get familiar with the placeholder syntax, I suggest you start easy: Start by rearranging text within the document and copying and pasting the placeholders from the sample template. Change the color and style of the text, arrange existing placeholders within tables, etc.

 

Generate a report again with your updated template to see the effect.

 

Using advanced feature report syntax

 

Survey123 feature report syntax can get a bit more sophisticated than just a generic ${question_name}. For example, note in the example below how extra parameters are used to format dates, to control the size of a photo or signature and even to define the scale and contents of a map.

 

 

This is what the final output of the template above looks like when the report has been generated.

 

When working on your template, you first need to understand how to uniquely reference questions within your survey. Downloading the sample template is the easiest way to get a complete list of placeholders, but you can also get the complete list from the feature report template dialog as shown below.  This dialog also lets you explore some more advanced syntax for your placeholders.

 

 

You can insert a | sign after your question name (aka: field code) and include some extra parameters to either format the value written to the report, or extract other information from your survey question.

 

Feature Report SyntaxDescription
${myQuestion}Inserts  in your report the value stored in the specified survey question.
${myDateQuestion | format:"DD/MM HH:mm"}Date questions are tricky, because they will not come pretty unless you format them properly. The format parameter is your friend. For a complete reference look for the Formatting Dates section in our Formulas—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS help topic.
${myPhoto | size:300:0}When working with image questions, you can set the exact size in pixels that the image will have in the output report document. The first value defines the width and the second the height. If you set the height to 0, then the width will be applied and the height will be dynamically set so your image aspect ratio is preserved.

${myPhoto | getValue:"name"}

${myPhoto | getValue:"date"}

${myPhoto | getValue:"time"}

Also for image questions, you can add to your report the photo filename using the getValue:"name" parameter. Similarly, you can also extract the date and time when the photo was taken and have it written in your report. That, of course, assuming that the EXIF of the photo includes that info.
${myLocat | size:400:400}The size parameter is valid for map questions too. In this case, we will add in the report  map with a size of 400x400 pixels.

${myLocat | mapSettings:"6712da572":5000}

${myLocat | mapSettings:"":5000}

Use the mapSettings parameter to describe the exact webmap you want to draw and the map scale.  First you pass the webmap item id and then, separated by a colon, the map scale. If you do not know how to get the webmap item id, have a look at Lisa Berry's  Where can I find the item ID for an ArcGIS Online item? blog post. If you pass an empty webmap item id, then the report will use a default webmap.

${myChoiceQuestion | selected:"yes"} Yes

When working with choice questions you can use the selected parameter to output a checkbox. The expression on the left will output Yes if the option selected is yes.  This works well with both checklists (select_multiple) and single choice and dropdown questions (select_one).

 

Combining your mastery of the syntax above and a bit of good taste applying layouts and formatting in Microsoft Word will go a long way. You can pretty much do anything you want with your Microsoft Word document. For example, you can change the size and orientation of the page, use tables to arrange content, set the alignment and justification of text, its color, size, etc.  You can also include Survey123 placeholders in headers, footers or anywhere in the body of your document.

 

As you get started with the feature report syntax, I suggest that you start slowly, making small incremental changes against the sample template and you let your confidence grow progressively. You will need to upload your template again and again until things look they way you want. Every time you upload the template, the syntax of your report template will be validated.  You will get errors when you add an incorrect number of parameters on your placeholders, when you reference field codes that do not exist in your feature service or when you do not open or close the brackets correctly.  Also be careful making sure parameters are set with the right casing and honor the necessary spaces.

 

On top of including photos, signatures and maps in your Survey123 feature report templates, you can also handle related records (repeats) and even define conditional visibility statements. The complete reference for the feature report syntax is included in our Feature report templates—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS help topic.

 

ArcGIS Online support and credit consumption

 

Survey123 feature reports are generated through an ArcGIS Online premium service. At this moment, the use of this service does not consume ArcGIS Online credits, but it will starting with our next update to ArcGIS Online.

The feature report service will consume ArcGIS Online credits at a rate of 2.5 credits per document generated starting with the ArcGIS Online release in October of 2019.

              

In the event that a user sees the Feature Report functionality disabled in the Survey123 website, an administrator of the ArcGIS Online organization can enable the Feature report functionality for that user as shown in the animation below.

 

 

ArcGIS Enterprise support

 

The Survey123 feature report service is at this moment hosted in ArcGIS Online and it is designed to work with surveys hosted in ArcGIS Online. However, with some limitations, this service can also be used with surveys hosted in your own ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5 or newer.

 

  • Your ArcGIS Enterprise instance must be accessible to the Survey123 ArcGIS Online Feature report service. That is, you must configure your  ArcGIS Enterprise web adaptor to expose access to your Enterprise instance from the internet. Please note that portals with Integrated Windows Authentication will not work with the report service.
  • The inclusion of any type of feature service attachments (photo, signature, annotated images...) is not supported when your data is hosted in ArcGIS Enterprise. This is a limitation listed in the backlog of ArcGIS Enterprise as ENH-000125371: Support keyword attachment columns into ArcGIS Enterprise so that survey photo attachments can be printed when generating reports from an ArcGIS Enterprise feature service.

 

Bearing the limitations above, the use of the ArcGIS Online Feature Report service from your ArcGIS Enterprise instance will not incur into any ArcGIS Online credit costs.

 

Automation

 

You can automate the generation of Survey123 feature reports through Integromat and the ArcGIS Python API.

 

  • Integromat: You can the Survey123 module in Integromat to automate the generation of feature reports when a new survey is submitted. Even better, with Integromat, you can also take that feature report document and include it as an e-mail attachment, or upload it into cloud storage.  You can learn the basics of automating report generation with Integromat in this brief video-tutorial:

 

 

  • ArcGIS Python API: The ArcGIS Python API is ideal if you want to generate reports in bulk in an automated way. For example, in case that you want to automatically generate reports for all surveys submitted daily or weekly. Refer to our ArcGIS Python API developer documentation for details.

Yeap! World UFO Day is approaching so we want to use this out-of-this-world release to remind you. This is a really substantial update to Survey123, including many, many fixes, new features and enhancements. We are really excited about 3.5 and we hope you will too! 

 

Survey123 Feature Reports

 

Many of you are already familiar with the Survey123 Feature Report capability, which we have had in Beta for quite some time. With this update, the Survey123 Feature Report service is no longer Beta. It is fully supported by Esri Technical Support and it is here to stay.

 

The Survey123 Feature Report service is designed to help you generate beautiful reports of your Survey123 records. You can define the contents and look and feel of your reports using a report template in Microsoft Word format. Once your template is uploaded to ArcGIS Online, the Survey123 Feature Report service can generate individual reports for records submitted from Survey123. 

 

The Feature Report functionality can be triggered from the Data tab of the Survey123 website as shown below. You can create reports for a single selected record, or in bulk, for a larger selection set.

 

 

You can control the layout, contents and look and feel of your output reports through report templates. One or more templates can be associated with a survey, so users in your organization with view access to the survey data can generate reports on their own.  Report templates are authored in Microsoft Word. You can add headers, footers, tables and format the text  in your template as you like.   Feature Report Templates include placeholders to bring responses from your survey record into the report. This includes text, dates, numbers, choices and checklists, photos, annotated images, signatures and of course, maps!  The syntax to bring data from your survey into a template is described in our Feature report templates help topic.  A full blog post dedicated to the feature report syntax is on its way.

 

Feature Report generation is available as a premium ArcGIS Online service. Users who want to use the service will need to be granted Feature report privileges. By default, all roles and role templates included in ArcGIS Online include this capability, but if you use custom roles you will need to turn it  on.  This can only be done by an administrator of an ArcGIS Online organization by including Feature report access to the custom member role. The next animation shows how:

 

 

As of today, and until the next release of ArcGIS Online (planned for October 2019), you can generate as many reports as you want for free. Starting October 2019, feature report generation will consume 2.5 credits per report file generated.

 

One final note for ArcGIS Enterprise users: The Survey123 Feature report service is designed to work and is fully supported with surveys and data hosted in ArcGIS Online. However you can also take advantage of this service with surveys hosted in ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5 or newer, with some limitations:

 

  • Your ArcGIS Enterprise instance must be accessible to the Survey123 ArcGIS Online Feature report service. That is, you must configure your  ArcGIS Enterprise web adaptor to expose access to your Enterprise instance from the internet. Please note that portals with Integrated Windows Authentication will not work with the report service.
  • The inclusion of any type of feature service attachments (photo, signature, annotated images...) is not supported when your data is hosted in ArcGIS Enterprise. This is a limitation listed in the backlog of ArcGIS Enterprise.

 

Bearing the limitations above, the use of the ArcGIS Online Feature Report service from your ArcGIS Enterprise instance will not incur into any ArcGIS Online credit costs.

 

 

Web surveys: Survey open, survey closed! 

 

Up until this update, if you wanted to disable access to a public survey,  you would simply unshare it. In this way, people could not longer submit data to your survey, but you could still view and analyze its results. The challenge with unsharing a survey is that when attempting to open your survey users would get a generic dialog asking for a user and password, and that is the last thing someone would expect.

 

You can now configure a "Survey closed" dialog and define when to show it. In the 'Survey closed" dialog you can add your own text, images and links describing to survey takers why survey responses are not being accepted. Through the Collaborate tab, you can also define the exact time when the survey will be closed or open.  For example, you can design and publish a survey today, schedule it to start accepting responses in November 1, 2019 and stop accepting responses in December 13, 2019.

 

 

This feature is currently only supported for web surveys.  The Survey123 mobile app will not honor the "Survey closed" custom dialog until a later release.

 

Web surveys: Avoid multiple submissions

 

This new feature is also built with web surveys in mind. The idea here is to prevent users from submitting a survey multiple times.  By default, users can submit data to your web survey as many times as they like, but you can now configure your survey to limit submissions to one. This is done through the Collaborate tab as well.

 

For clarity, the way this works is not bullet proof for public surveys.  If working with a public web survey, this setting will persist a cookie in the user's web browser. If the cookie is present, the user will not be able to submit again. A smart user can delete the cookie by clearing the browser's cache or running an incognito session in the browser.  Also, for public surveys, we can't really do anything if one person submits from different devices (a phone, a desktop computer in the office, a laptop at home).

 

 

If you really want to confidently block multiple submissions from the same user, the best option is to secure your survey to force users to identify themselves.  At that point, we can more consistently block multiple submissions.

 

Working with related records (repeats) in the Survey123 website Data view

 

Through the Data view in the Survey123 website you can interactively inspect all submitted records as a map, table and a form.  In this release, the table view and map views have been enhanced so you can navigate to related records in the table view and display or hide related records in the map. You can also apply filters to the table view.

 

 

In the example above, we have a Zika Household survey example. At each household, we have one or more household members and for each of them we document all trips they did in the past 4 weeks.  The member households and travel locations are modeled in the smart form as a nested repeat, and in the feature service relational model as two nested related tables. Look carefully at the table view and you will see that each of these layers/tables is shown in an independent tab. You can switch between the tabs, look at the data, apply filters and select records.  This gives you much more flexibility to explore your survey data!

 

Survey owner? Double-click to edit (Survey123 website)

 

One more enhancement on the Survey123 website Data tab. Double click on a cell in the table view... and voila, now you can edit the value.You can even edit related records. This function is only available to survey owners.

 

 

Photo Watermarking (Connect & Field App)

 

Over time we have received a number of requests to add watermarking capabilities into Survey123. This is important in some field data collection workflows; for example when performing certain damage ***assessments, documenting work performed or inspecting assets. 

 

The basic idea is to burn some critical information into the photo while it is taken from the device. Information such as the current date and time, the compass direction or the latitude and longitude. We have extended the XLSForm syntax so you can do all of this and much more.

 

In the example on the right we have a street service report survey. This is used to document work performed.  Note how the photo is watermarked automatically to include in the bottom-left corner of the image the unique identifier of the job. This job id comes from one of the questions in the form.

 

In the bottom-right corner you will see the date and time when the photo was taken as well.

 

You can control almost anything you want in these watermarks: the position, color, font, halo effects and of course the content, which can be dynamically calculated or retrieved from the form itself.  You can even use a logo in your watermark expressions!

 

To learn more about watermarks, check out our Survey123 Tricks of the Trade: Photo Watermarks blog post and our Watermarks help topic

 

Grid Theme (Connect & Field App)

 

Grid theme has been a long awaited feature, so we are really proud of announcing it today. Using grid theme you can control the layout of your survey to arrange multiple questions in a single row. This is important when you want to make your surveys resemble more closely paper forms, and when you want to take advantage of the wider screen of a tablet or desktop computer.  Using grid themes wisely can help you create much more usable forms to accelerate data capture because you can reduce the need to scroll up and down through your form.

 

Below is an example of a Certificate of Roadworthiness. No kidding, that word actually exists, you can google it .  Note how the form includes multiple sections: A first section at the top for the Tester's License Number, where we arranged a single question all the way to the right. Then a second section for the main title, with a single note centered in the screen. In section A (vehicle description) where we place questions, notes and even a signature pad side by side.

 

 

When taking advantage of grid themes, you will want to test thoroughly in your own field devices. A form with the layout shown above, for example, will work well on a tablet, but not on a smartphone.  Combining grid themes and multiple pages in your form is a really powerful combination too.  Grid themes and pages are worth their own blog post, so wait for one coming up soon. If you cannot wait, check our Appearance help topic for details on the XLSForm syntax, or the newly added sample in Survey123 Connect.

 

As of this release, grid themes are only supported in the field app, but we are working towards bringing them into the web as well.

 

Other miscellaneous topics (Connect & Field App)

 

You are going to find many other enhancements throughout Survey123 Connect and the field app in this release.  I simply want to highlight a handful, although you can find the complete list in our What's New help topic.

 

  • In Survey123 Connect, you can now preview your surveys in different form factors.

 

 

  • Constraint and required messages now appear inline, helping you identify the exact questions in your form that need attention. This is particularly useful when you have long forms, or forms with multiple  pages.

 

  • Many visual controls in the field app and Connect have been refreshed bringing a cleaner look.
  • The Survey123 field app now sends information about the type of submission (add or edit) to webhooks. This was introduced in our previous release for the Survey123 web app, and now we close the circle with this update for the field app.

 


Critical Fixes and Enhancements

 

There are a lot of new new features in this release, but in truth our biggest commitment for this update has been quality.  If you have been testing Survey123 through our Early Adopter Program you will recognize that many of the features we make official today had been on the works for quite some time. Our 3.5 release has been for the most part, devoted to fixing issues and applying some popular enhancements.

 

We want to thank all of you who have worked with us to validate many of these fixes over the past 10 weeks.  Here is a list of the most important bugs addressed.

 

Survey123 website and web app

 

  • BUG-000118801 An existing secured ArcGIS Server feature service added to ArcGIS Online with credentials saved is not be able to attach images when using the web browser to submit the survey (the data is submitted, but not the attachments).
  • BUG-000119623 Survey123, non GlobalID/Guid primary key field gets automatically populated with a GlobalID when submitted from the web form.
  • BUG-000120589 When a survey is published from Survey123 Connect, then modified in the Web Designer to check on "Allow the respondent to add another record" the option does not appear in the Web App.
  • BUG-000121051 Pulldata calculation on select_one question does not work when accessing the survey in a browser.
  • BUG-000122048 Survey123 doesn't submit survey through mobile browsers if the survey has pages and signature fields.
  • BUG-000121719 In the Survey123 for ArcGIS website, the total number of features displayed changes when logged in using the credentials of other people in the organization apart from the owner.
  • BUG-000122052 When running a report on a Survey123 for ArcGIS form that contains the Other option as a response from a Multiple Choice question, the Other option is repeated after each of the Other selected responses.
  • BUG-000122750 The sum() aggregate function does not concatenate string inputs and records a "NaN" value when submitting responses from a web browser.
  • BUG-000123131 Exporting results to a file geodatabase fails if a survey contains more than one nested repeat from the Survey123 for ArcGIS website.
  • BUG-000114635 Photos do not appear in the Analyze tab of the survey in survey123.arcgis.com when logged in as a custom role account.
  • BUG-000121812 The custom basemap is not visible in the Survey123 for ArcGIS web form when the basemap is not shared publicly.

 

Survey123 Connect and field app

 

  • BUG-000121623: Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS 3.3.51 and Survey123 Connect Classic 2.9.3 crash when using a pulldata() function that references a CSV with 1048,576 records.
  • BUG-000100441: Survey123 Connect: Truncated "Search" string and wrongly placed search icon in search box.
  • BUG-000103155 Surveys created from the Survey123 for ArcGIS Web interface that contain geopoint questions allow field users to zoom in further on the map than is allowable in the Survey123 for ArcGIS mobile app.
  • BUG-000103942 Large surveys crash the Survey123 for ArcGIS iOS field app when specific answers are provided on an iPhone 6 without saving data.
  • BUG-000113684 Surveys with multiple repeats with the repeat counts added crash upon opening in the Survey123 for ArcGIS (iOS) field app.
  • BUG-000113734 The survey creation performance degrades when greater than 5-6 repeats are added to a single survey form.
  • BUG-000114396 The Survey123 field app successfully submits the survey even when all the required questions in the Repeat field are not answered.
  • BUG-000097367: Truncation in Date field in Survey123 and Survey123 Connect.
  • BUG-000094992  Truncation in Publish survey in Survey123 Connect.
  • BUG-000094993: Truncated string in Settings-Style in Survey123 Connect.
  • BUG-000115227 When the language of an Android device is set to the Korean language, switching the device keyboard to Korean to type Korean characters into an autocomplete field in a Survey123 for ArcGIS survey is not possible.
  • BUG-000118014 Unable to use a Japanese keyboard in Survey 123 for ArcGIS (3.1.158) on Android devices. This behavior appears to be restricted to the Survey 123 for ArcGIS (3.1.158) release. This issue is not reproducible on iOS.
  • BUG-000118208 In the Survey123 field app, when a constraint is applied to a select_one question, it is not validated until submitting the survey.
  • BUG-000118366 Unable to send surveys in the Survey123 for ArcGIS field app when Layer ID has values other than the default value.
  • BUG-000119632 Once relevancy exposes a repeat in Survey123, the information in the repeat will get submitted regardless of whether the repeat becomes non-relevant again.
  • BUG-000120023 Select_one questions with an expression in Required or Relevant fields do not validate in Survey123.
  • BUG-000121057 In the Survey123 3.3 mobile app, a select_one question in a nested repeat conditional based on a select_one question within a single repeat will not display after changing the answer to the single repeat select_one.
  • BUG-000119414 In Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS, nested repeats are not preserved when scrolling through the Form Preview.
  • BUG-000121921 Data not displaying in first record of nested repeat with relevant expression referencing a question outside of the nested repeat when open from Drafts.
  • BUG-000122112 When required fields are not answered, the survey does not honor question ordering when alerting the user of required, unanswered questions.
  • BUG-000122534 Survey123 for ArcGIS hangs indefinitely when Form Item is moved or deleted from ArcGIS Online. An error message must be thrown instead.
  • BUG-000122255 The Survey123 for ArcGIS field app does not retain the font size setting on iOS and Android devices.
  • BUG-000121156 Submitting surveys from the Survey123 for ArcGIS field app retains related records from a repeat question, even after removing the attribute values for the same related records before submitting the survey.
  • ENH-000106588 Provide the ability to expand a Group in Survey123 by clicking the Group header text, not just the arrow.
  • ENH-000115797 Survey123 should allow users to have control over color schemes for the group box on a survey form.
  • ENH-000118020 Lessen the touch precision needed for the Group expand/collapse button in the Survey123 field app.
  • ENH-000120369 Clarify the messaging when deleting a survey from Survey123 Connect to be more explicit that AGOL/Portal items will be deleted.
  • ENH-000121453 Provide additional functionality for there to be two "Text" question types be adjacent on one line in the "Form Preview" page of the Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS, instead of only one "Text" question type on top of another "Text" question type.


Next steps

 

We are now furiously working on 3.6. Join our Survey123 Early Adopter Program to test some of the new features we are working on, including:

 

  • Support for custom webmaps and mobile map packages.
  • On-premises setup for the Survey123 website and Survey123 REST API.
  • Support for polygons and polylines.
  • And more...

 

For developers customizing or branding the Survey123 field app, we will be making version 3.5 available with AppStudio for ArcGIS 4.0 Beta in the next weeks.

 

Do you believe?