Collector - The Aurora Project

46149
165
09-06-2017 08:20 AM
Esri Regular Contributor
70 165 46.1K
Update: Collector's Aurora Beta is available. Already have it? Join the discussion in our Early Adopter Community

Collector for ArcGIS launched in the Apple App Store and Google Play in January 2013, followed by the Windows Store in December 2015.  Since its initial release Collector has evolved considerably, and as its capabilities have grown, so has its adoption and we are very thankful for your support.

 

Now the time has come for a refresh. A refresh in user experience, a refresh in technology, a refresh in field data collection workflows. So… here comes the Aurora Project.

 

Through the Aurora project, Collector is getting a number of improvements you have requested:

  • Better maps
  • Improved user experience
  • Smarter forms
  • Streamlined offline workflows
  • Enhancements to high accuracy 3D data collection

 

Most importantly, the Aurora Project brings a new foundation we will build upon to advance data collection workflows in the ArcGIS platform. Let’s take a deeper look at some of these improvements:

Better maps

Collector is adding support for vector basemaps (both online and offline), so that you can view crisp, high quality cartography that takes advantage of the amazing pixel density of your iPad Pro or Samsung S8+ device. Downloading vector tiles to your device will dramatically reduce the footprint of offline content on your device as well.

 

Rich symbology and smart mapping capabilities you rely on to effectively represent your spatial information and publish using ArcGIS Pro will look great in Collector.  In addition, it will support displaying labels in your map, the top idea you’ve asked for in Collector.

 

With these improved mapping capabilities, your maps will look great rotated, too!

FIMT symbology, Labeling and Heat Maps

FIMT symbology, Labeling and Heat Maps

Improved user experience

Significant improvements to the user experience (UX) of Collector are coming and you will see this in the very first beta release. We have spent time redesigning the collect experience so that we can streamline workflows. Some improvements include:

  1. Better layout to support your workflows – Core tools like Collect are more accessible to promote the scenarios you use every day.
     
  2. Easier capture of accurate data locations – use cross hairs that provide a “cursor-on-target” experience to precisely define location.
     

  3. Better use of screen real estate - let’s face it, working on a phone often leaves you wanting a bit more screen real estate.  Sometimes you want to see the map, sometimes you want to see the form, sometimes you want to see a bit of both. With our new sliding panel design, move between these views seamlessly by sliding the panel up or down to seamlessly move between map-centric and form-centric views to fit your workflow.
     

  4. Smarter data entry - have a lot of exciting work planned for the form, starting with the UX. Take a photo in fewer taps, capture additional media (audio, video), read information from QR and bar codes, edit in place on the form, and use a proper keyboard when editing numeric fields.

 

Smarter Forms

Forms are improving more than just the UX: you’ll find they honor the modern capabilities of the ArcGIS platform.

Collector is founded on the principles of the web map. Layers that you collect data into follow the guidelines set by feature layers you author and feature services you publish. The dictionary of feature types are based upon feature templates you create, and the forms experience is driven by popups you configure from the information model you create. But within that popup, support for validation of required fields, Arcade expressions, and attribute rules will be added.

Arcade Expressions are particularly exciting, as they will drive a smarter forms experience when editing in Collector, in web apps, and in ArcGIS Pro. Conditional logic, enrichment of data, inheritance of values from other features, grouping, and ordering of attributes will all come with this update.

Streamlined Offline Workflows

Collector works anywhere, anytime you need it. Maps can be downloaded to your device and you can synchronize changes when you gain connectivity. This release brings a simplified download experience, improved management of offline map areas, and the ability to keep working when you drift in and out of connectivity.

 

Within your ArcGIS organization, you will be able to plan ahead: prepare the areas to go offline, store them in your content, and share them throughout your organization. Mobile workers simply select the map areas they need and download them to their devices.

We are simplifying the interactive download experience as well as managing local content on the device. One key aspect is how you work with basemaps. In addition to packaged tile map services, Collector will support packaged mobile maps built with ArcGIS Pro and vector tiles. In the app, you’ll be able to download and manage a collection of offline basemaps.

Enhancements to High Accuracy 3D Data Collection

As part of this project, Collector is adding support for direct capture of 3D data. In addition, vertical datum transformations will allow you to transform elevations on the fly, eliminating office workflows usually required to achieve accurate elevations.   

 

Collector - Aurora Project Schedule

The Aurora development project is underway and the first beta of Collector’s new dawn will be this fall! We will release a series of betas, bringing new capabilities with each update. To participate in the beta, please email collectorbeta@esri.com and then join our Early Adopter Program.  Your feedback throughout the beta is important to us – we want to hear from you!

 

Our current target for release is Q3 of 2018 for the iOS platform and Q4 for the Android platform. We have not set a release date for the Windows platform yet. We know Collector is an essential part of your mobile workflows, and our goal is to make the transition easy for you. Starting with the beta releases, Collector as you know it today and this significant update will happily live side-by-side on your device.

 

Collector Team

165 Comments
Regular Contributor

sweet, sent an email to beta the releases....

Esri Contributor

This is great, arcade expressions in collector is an awesome enhancement.

New Contributor II

Thanks for listening to all the feedback ESRI! Very excited for the Aurora project and I would love to be a part of the beta testing!

New Contributor III

This all sounds great! Can't wait to the join the Beta.

Jeff-Do you know if the addition of snapping functionality in Collector will be a part of this project?

Thank you!

Occasional Contributor II

jshaner-esristaff Is there any plan to also enforce database rules when it comes to NULL values. Currently, Survey123 is the only app that will prevent the users from submitting the form if they have not filled out all the required fields. Even though in the Geodatabase that I created the Hosted Feature Service in I said for a field to not allow NULL values, Collector still allows them to bypass the field and submit the form.

Thanks!

Esri Regular Contributor

Hey Nick,

Snapping is on our roadmap and absolutely part of this project, but at this time it is out of scope for the initial release. 

Jeff

New Contributor III

Great news, Jeff and team! Do you anticipate this being a standalone app upon release, or will it be a version upgrade from old Collector to new Collector? We do have a lot of users and we will need to provide training before we have them make the move once the new app comes out.

Occasional Contributor II

But will it be able to get positions from a serial COM port?  We are using Panasonic FZ-G1 with a u-Blox receiver, and we can't use Collector because Collector can't connect to the COM port that it uses. 

This isn't unique to Panasonic, either.  When we were looking at Windows-Based at ruggedized tablets with dedicated GPS antennae, we found that all of them delivered their positions via NMEA strings through a virtual serial COM port.  ESRI has a workaround with a third-party piece of software, but we found that in our testing it wouldn't work well for us because:

  1. it required the user to be an admin on the device.  That might work for a small organization of, say, 10 people.  But we have potentially hundreds of users and there is no way our IT department would agree to make them all admins (and knowing some of these users, I would agree);
  2. it interferes with our existing apps ability to access that COM port.  The only way to free up the COM port for those apps was to shut down the third-party piece of software (again, requiring you to be an admin), which then causes the software to uninstall itself; and
  3. You have to pay for licenses to this piece of software, not only making Collector not free to use, but adds the hassle of trying to maintain all those licenses.

And yes, I know that UWP doesn't support serial devices unless it is over a USB connection.

Regular Contributor

any update when labeling for feature access service will be enabled? this is crucial to many projects we have. 

New Contributor III

Clark,

I fully understand you issue here.  We are in the same boat with the Getac tablet.  I am hesitant to use GPS direct for the same reasons. I am currently playing around with GPSGate. It shows promise, but I haven't gotten it to play nice yet.  

New Contributor

Hello Collector Team! When are you planning to release the first beta of Collector?

New Contributor II

Hi Guys !! 
We are waiting long for improvement of the collector App , In our organization want to use it day to day activities when It will release the first beta !!

This is crucial to many projects we have now and looking forward!!

Esri Regular Contributor

 Have you tried to contact Panasonic to see if they have a firmware update about this? Sometimes they will have the firmware update available and u-blox receiver will be a location sensor feeding into OS location service. 

New Contributor

Hello.  Are there any plans to include the Touch ID in iOS to unlock ArcGIS Collector?

New Contributor II

Has anyone already received invite for beta testing version?
Folks sitting on collector4arcgis@esri.com seems to be busy I don't get any reply to my emails.
Maybe anyone had more luck?

Occasional Contributor II

Waiting on my invite to test Aurora too

Occasional Contributor II

Any plans to offer improved barcode scanning functionality in the same way that Survey123 does?

Esri Regular Contributor

UPDATE: We will be releasing the first beta, on the iOS platform, in the next couple of weeks. Thank you ALL for sending emails to the Collector alias. We have over 600 people that have signed up so far and with this volume we have not been responding to individual emails. We will notify you all when we are set to release the first beta!

Thank you!

Esri Regular Contributor

Hey James - can you elaborate on why you would like to see this feature? I ask because the biometric sign in is usually reserved for apps that continually expire tokens and require you to sign in (like banking apps). With Collector, once you sign in once, we request a refresh token and keep you signed in. Therefore you shouldn't need this capability. Unless you are looking to switch accounts frequently on a shared device? Can you please let us know your thinking here?

Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Joe - this will be part of the Aurora Project. 

Esri Regular Contributor

Thanks Abdul - we are targeting the end of November (~2 weeks from now) for our first release on iOS.

Esri Regular Contributor

Stanislav - we have not been replying to individual emails. Rest assured we received your request but have just not replied. We are targeting the end of November (~2 weeks from now) for our first release on iOS. We will broadcast it out when we are ready to go! Thank you for your interest and participation!

Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Jay - its close! We are about 2 weeks away from beta1. We haven't been replying to individual emails but will be blasting out an announcement when we are ready to go live. Thank you for your interest and upcoming participation!

Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Gareth - yes barcodes are absolutely in the backlog for Collector. 

New Contributor II

Thanks for the update. Any rough dates on releasing Android testing version?

New Contributor III

I have a similar issue with a integrated u-blox receiver in a  Dell Latitude 7202. I would also like to be able to integrate high accuracy receivers like a Topcon Hiper SR

Occasional Contributor

Hi just wondering if there was any plan to include symbolizing from related tables?

New Contributor III

Does anybody know what the system requirements will be for iOS and Android when this is rolled out and what will happen to those who don't meet those requirements?  I'm trying to get an idea what upgrades will need to take place and when.

Esri Regular Contributor

Stanislav - unfortunately no definite dates yet. It looks to be at least a couple of months behind. We will update as soon as we have a beta 1 release date.

Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Justin - we are looking at iOS 10.0 and higher and Android 4.2 and higher. Of course these are subject to change but we will make sure that we update these requirements when/if they change.

Esri Regular Contributor

Josh - sorry, not at this time. 

Q - Can you please describe your workflow requirement for symbolizing off a related table? Is your workflow such that you are modeling assets to inspections via a related table and want to be able to symbolize by the status of the inspection? Would like to better understand your need here. Thanks.

Occasional Contributor II

Jeff  Shaner - Any timeline as to when vector basemaps will be available in Collector?
Anxiously awaiting.
Thanks
Katy  

New Contributor III

I'll second this request, I would be using a similar work flow to what you have described. The current implementation means that the status needs to be recorded on the feature to be symbolized, which means leaving it open for editing, which means the geometry can be changed (If the feature is set to attributes only, you cannot create new related records).

Esri Regular Contributor

Matthew, It depends on the type of services you are using. You should be able to disable geometry updates on feature services. 

Editor permissions for feature services—Documentation | ArcGIS Enterprise 

New Contributor III

Hi Dan, this feature service is hosted on AGOL and permissions are a bit more limited. If I set the feature service to only update feature attributes you cannot create a new related record for that feature service.  

Regular Contributor

Jeff I have the exact use case that you describe and face the same limitation. Working this in to Collector would be huge!

Regular Contributor

Jeff, I'm glad to see the iOS beta coming, but it's disappointing to see Android so far behind. With the present day market shares of mobile OS this is going to be difficult for your customers to accept. What sets the Android beta back so far?

Esri Esteemed Contributor

FYI, the Collector for ArcGIS - Aurora Beta is now available for IOS!!

https://community.esri.com/community/gis/applications/collector-for-arcgis/blog/2017/12/05/5-things-... 

Enjoy,

Esri Contributor

Any plan for Android version?

New Contributor

Hi,

New collector looks like it will be great! Do you have any idea how similar the UX will be between OS and Android versions - at the moment its like the two were designed by two teams who didnt really talk to each other - so there is very littlc commonality in icons etc. If it was more similar (or the same) across the two operating systems (like Survey 123 is) it would make it much easier to work in an organisation that uses both.

Occasional Contributor

Jeff

That is correct. Currently we do not use collector but I am seriously looking into it.  My work flow would be inspecting assets for a electric utility and it would be necessary to symbolize from the inspections status.  Without this ability it makes it very difficult to make the jump to using collector.  The 2 major items we've been waiting for are Labels and Symbolizing from related tables.   

Josh

Regular Contributor

The last I read it's:

...t least a couple of months behind.

Which is a major bummer considering the crossroads our organization is at right now.

Regular Contributor

David, this is a great suggestion.

Esri Contributor

We are still working on the initial beta release on Android, likely will be towards the end of Q1 2018.  We'll be posting updates in the Collector (Aurora) Early Adopter Program.  I'd invite you to sign up so you can keep tabs on what's happening and get the latest info on release timeframes.

Esri Contributor

We are designing Collector across platforms to maintain consistency.  I'd encourage you to contribute your thoughts by joining the Collector (Aurora) Early Adopter Program so others who are interested can also chime in.

New Contributor

Hi!

The update of the Colllector App will be great!

I think that all the improvements mentioned above will be a strong manifest of the capabilities of working with Collector in the field.

Just semt a e-mail for joining the Beta!

New Contributor

Clark, I agree. We have about ~250 Toughpads with the same build and would love to utilize collector and survey123 on these devices.

New Contributor II

Touch ID is useless if you've got your device in a hardened case for field work.

New Contributor II

There is a way to write back a value to the parent feature class, but you have to do it with Python and JSON.

New Contributor II

Hi Collector Team ,

Do you have any release date of new version ? I have tested the beta version its seems great so far , Just want to know more about feature labeling. Looking forward new Aurora project.

regards,

shafey 

About the Author
I am the Product Lead for our Field Apps team at Esri. I work with an amazing team building out our field solutions. Please feel free to ask me anything about ArcGIS Field Maps, Collector, Workforce, Explorer, Navigator, and Tracker.