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Sync Collector for ArcGIS via USB

01-07-2015 07:51 AM
Status: Open
MVP Frequent Contributor

Currently, the only way to sync Collector for ArcGIS offline data is via wireless. For those organization with no, limited, or restricted wireless capacity, Collector is a non-solution. Users should be able to connect Collector devices to a computer with the devices USB cable and sync to Portal or AGOL via some sort of Arc Tool Box script or other desktop tool. In addition, when collecting features with attachements not even the best wireless connection allows sync when many dozens or hundreds of photo attachments have been collected.

I raised this exact question with Esri UK as wireless in my working environment is a non starter
The use of collector is getting more severly restricted in government use due to increased restrictions in wireless ability and two mode authentication. The ability to provide USB connectivity to access and synchronize "mass storage" databases on Android and perhaps IOS devices is necessary to facilitate wider acceptance and compliance.
We work in rural Midwest counties with limited access to wi-fi or even decent internet connections and this would be awesome!

You can setup and ad-hoc connection over USB to your device to achieve this now.

Windows: iPhone Connecting to Internet Using Windows PC's Network through USB Cable - SysTutorials

Mac:  Reverse Tether over Bluetooth PAN.

On a Mac, creating a Bluetooth PAN is a useful way to share a Wi-Fi Internet connection your Mac is connected to. This is useful when you can’t get your iPhone or iPad online via Wi-Fi — perhaps you only have a single login to the network and you can only have one device online at a time. This often happens on hotel Wi-Fi networks.

To do this, open the Sharing panel in the System Preferences window, tell your Mac you want to share its Wi-Fi connection, and select Bluetooth. Pair your iPhone or iPad with the computer via Bluetooth and it’ll gain access to the Internet through the Bluetooth connection. (How to Reverse Tether an iPhone or iPad to Your PC or Mac )


I would be happy with the ability to have some option that packages the current map updates into a single file that can be uploaded to AGOL to sync.

However, what would be very helpful from an urban search and rescue standpoint is to be able to extract at the minimum, feature attributes and coordinates, from some sort of file that can be transferred to a computer via USB or Bluetooth.


I would absolutely love something like this! We regularly have connectivity issues over wireless, as well as issues with our devices refusing to sync for no apparent reason. If I could just be able to extract the file and upload it via my computer, life would be so much simpler. If there was some way to extract the file and import it via the browser application it would be wonderful.


Just updated to the latest version of Collector, very disappointing to see this feature still missing. Still holding on to my old Trimble hand-helds, at least ArcPad isn't dependent on flaky Wifi connections!




Well it looks like the answer to USB capability is a "No". 2-factor authentication on mobile devices is on our horizon, which will essentially "brick" any application requiring wifi to get data. As  suggests, taking the open source code to another vendor just might be the solution here. 


There is a work-around that I have had to do because we found a bug in our maps and we couldn't sync them via wireless.

We have tested this using ipad, iphones and a couple different android devices.

We first installed itunes on our computer

We plugged the usb device into the computer and itunes opened up. Select the device at top of itunes screen, select file sharing on the left menu, from there you need to select the collector app, select the map file that contains the edits you want and save them to a folder on your computer. From there you can bring that file into your ArcGIS Platform

It would be nice to add this functionality to connect straight way into the ArcGIS platform as opposed to having to go through itunes though