AppStudio or Other ESRI Software Capabilities to Develop Map/Photo Based Mobile App

03-20-2020 10:18 AM
New Contributor

Hello All,

I hope that everyone is staying safe in this time of crisis.

My nonprofit organization is working on developing a mobile app. Since we are a nonprofit we cannot afford to pay an app developer so the task has fallen to myself to try and develop something that will meet our needs.

Let me start with an overview of the project. Within the San Juan Mountains there are innumerous human carvings on trees, some more artful and historical than others. Over the years researchers have identified a number of similar carvings located throughout the range that have been attributed to Basque and Irish sheep herders that traversed the landscape over 100 years ago.These artful marks are commonly called arborglyphs, not to be confused with modern carvings that includes hearts, initials, etc... Most, if not all, of these carvings are found on aspen trees that are starting to reach their maximum life span. As such, our funder, would like to create an app that documents the locations of these traditional carvings.  
The app, that we hope to develop, will hopefully have two main functions. First, we would like for users to have the ability to view, on a map, where currently documented arborglyphs are as well as having the ability to navigate to them. These locations (points) will be accompanied by popups that should contain photographs and text descriptions. Second, we would like users to be able to use their cell phones to take geotagged pictures of arborglyphs that are not identified on the aforementioned map. These photos can then be uploaded by the user and if necessary we can fill in the text details later on through an administration role. 
I have been playing around with ESRI's AppStudio program over the last couple of weeks, working through some of the basic tutorials, but I am not sure if that is the best avenue to be heading down.
What I have not found is if I can develop an app where you can customize point popups to contain attribute information such as pictures, descriptions, located on public/private property, creator of carving, etc... that can be controlled by either the user uploading the photograph, or an administrator post upload. I also have not found anything that says whether a user can use their mobile phone camera to take and upload photos to the app. I looked at the camera app that is included in the package but I am not sure if you can then upload a geotagged photo to the app or not?
Finally, I am not sure if AppStuio is even the right ESRI software package to use for this project? I know that there is 123Survey and Collector for ArcGIS. Maybe those are better avenues to travel down for the functionality that I am looking for? We are not going to sell this app commercially, but I suppose that it would be hosted on an app download site.
Any insights would be greatly appreciated. 
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3 Replies
Esri Regular Contributor

Check out  Nonprofit Program 

For out of the box solution.

Survey123 (or Collector) would be a good fit for capturing the information in the field.

Explorer can provide a read only version of the map for use in the field (low or no cost).


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Esri Regular Contributor

Hello Garrett, 

It sounds like from two main functionalities that you have outlined, it would be a combination of our Map Viewer template and Quick Report template, or they could also be separate apps to minimize customization work that you need to do. 

Our templates are easily configurable, so there is no need to have developer skills to configure them, please take a look at this case study by one person GIS department with no developer skill that can produce an app in both Apple AppStore and Google Play Store, Clean Up San Juan | AppStudio for ArcGIS Case Study | Esri. This case study is fairly similar to your scenario, where they are using our Quick Report template to do a data collection app, and then simply use Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS‌ to show the features and status on the map. 

This is the video on how to configure the Quick Report template, and this is the video on how to configure the Map Viewer template.

Although, if there are few missing functionalities in our templates, you would need to open the source code of the templates and code them. With that being said, it is doable, we have a lot of samples and tutorials, and feel free to send us your questions.

I hope this is helpful,


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New Contributor

Thank you both.


I have contacted ESRI support about the nonprofit program.


Thank you for the suggestions on the templates to use and the case study. I will check them out in the coming week(s). Things are pretty upended in our world right now.

Thanks again and I will let you know if I have any questions.


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