Collector: A review, and notes for development

Idea created by kmsagis on Oct 24, 2016

    We are using Collector and Server 10.2.2.  We are using it with great success with photo attachments and domains, to conduct field surveys for hurricane damage assessment. Multiple teams working daily in the field evaluating damage per FEMA regs.  However, it took a bit of experimenting and calls with Esri Tech Support to get running. Thank you to Esri Support they're always excellent, and certainly helped expedite our work.   Once we got everything set up it works very nicely! We used domains to great effect.  Overall, using Esri Collector for ArcGIS will probably save at least hundreds of manhours. If Esri is interested in contacting us we could perhaps discuss an article.  


    Some notes on setup...

    1. A user can only select one feature at a time to edit.   We have streets with addresses to check for hurricane damage assessment. Sometimes, a user will want to select a hundred addresses at a time to mark "no damage".  So you'd have to click "No" let's say 500 times on 500 points, to mark "Visited/No Damage" only for one street. Then on to the next. (we have red/green symbology for this) However, we did come up with a workaround -- a polygon layer to draw over and mark for this, so we can intersect it later. While this works, this is probably one of the more common use case scenarios. For example imagine utilities surveying in the field. Or inspections for construction sites. You want to mark dozens of features as "no damage" or "inspected" or some other attribute. Thus, we would like the ability to select and edit multiple features in a future Collector version.


    2. Downloading maps for disconnected editing is probably a very common use case for field workers. You can only download one area at a time for caching, i.e. one area to cache a basemap or basemap of imagery, at a time. This is an ability we would greatly like added. It should allow multiple areas over multiple days of downloading (caching) in the office each morning to be possible.  For us we wanted both Esri topo basemap, and our in-house imagery tiled layer. For multiple areas. 


    3. setting up Collector - Multiple settings for publishing the feature service must be set a certain way not in the docs: Example- Update Geometry is required with Server 10.2.  That was an issue, as we didn't want updating to be possible (moving existing addresses) but it needs to be that checked. (it has been logged as a NIM bug for 10.2, fixed in 10.3 just fyi for people here still on Server 10.2.x) More misc notes to self for me mostly:  Sync is required for disconnected editing. It can not be versioned. Which therefore means now we can't edit the layer in ArcMap.  We had to set up a WebApp Builder site to edit the feature layer for data cleanup, since ArcMap won't allow Editing now. Which works, although this seemed odd, as if somehow I missed some setting or something, since you'd think you'd want to always have capability to edit a layer from ArcMap. For periodic data cleanup. I understand the inherent conflict with versions and disconnected editing, perhaps (?).. But I would still think it should, or at least could, be possible somehow.  The point is to get the product to work requires a very specific workflow.  The workflow and documentation could either be simplified and allow for more use cases such as in items 1 through 3 here.