best mobile editing platform

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03-19-2015 12:29 PM
EricGardecki
Occasional Contributor

I've been doing a ton of research and testing into what platform for mobile (tablet or phone) editing I'd want to get into for our uses and am having trouble figuring it out.  I had to do a ton of work on my data to do the testing just to be sure I fully evaluate everything as well but I think I need input to help decide.

I have about 5 users that need to access some feature layers for editing in the field.  We have Server and the Flex web app in place already for viewing but need something for mobile editing.

I believe my options are the following:

Collector - This app seems best, however it requires a license for each user for AGO.  This is quite expensive and seemingly unnecessary when we already have Server.

Basic Mobile App - The app is very basic.  There's no snapping and the mobile server in Server only allows one app so I can't have multiple apps created for different needs.  However, it is free, available for all platforms, and not tied to AGO at all which is a big positive.

Windows Mobile - I have a hell of a time getting this set up and it still seems very clunky.  There's a lot of prep in creating the projects, dealing with basemaps, packaging/loading data.  Also, it appears to be end-of-life.  No more updates so it's going to disappear...but yet it still isn't free.  It's a one-time cost that is much more reasonable than AGO for Collector.  Will there be a replacement or will we all eventually be forced into AGO regardless of if we are already invested in Server and not interested in a annual fee?  (a fee that is higher than Server itself yet annual?  makes no sense)

ArcPad - I don't know much about this but it seems pretty much like Windows Mobile but would require custom hardware.

Custom app - Although I'd like to learn to do this, I simply don't have that ability at this time so it isn't an option. 

Flexviewer - This is already existing and can be used via a browser (at least on a Windows tablet - not Android or iOS).  It seems to lack snapping (but I haven't researched this fully yet) and doesn't seem to want to recognize my coded value domains (displays just a text box instead of dropdown - though it supposedly should work).  The biggest issue is the inability to use the device GPS while using the application.

It sure seems like ESRI is working on forcing everyone to go to AGO.  I am opposed to it due to the large price tag that will continue in perpetuity.  Not to mention that it has less functionality/customization to offer in general and is hard to swallow when you already invested in Desktop and Server.  I feel like there is no good option, they each have major negatives.

So my questions are:

Is my summation of each option accurate?  Is there anything else I should take into consideration with each of those?  Are there other options I haven't thought of?  What is your suggestion on the best way to go?

let me know if you need more information from me.  Thanks for any input you can offer!

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RickMartens
New Contributor II

Eric, I've used Collector and it is an excellent choice.  You mentioned that it only works with AGO.  With the release of Portal for ArcGIS Server, it can be connected to server!  You also have the disconnected editing option and can download directly to your device.

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RickMartens
New Contributor II

Eric, I've used Collector and it is an excellent choice.  You mentioned that it only works with AGO.  With the release of Portal for ArcGIS Server, it can be connected to server!  You also have the disconnected editing option and can download directly to your device.

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EricGardecki
Occasional Contributor

Thank you for the suggestion regarding Portal.  I hadn't looked at that before because I thought it was another piece of software to buy and we really don't have need of it but after a quick look I see that it is included with Server and I could use it just for this purpose, which would be great.  I will do further reading and get it installed but this may be the best way to go!  Thanks

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EricGardecki
Occasional Contributor

Well it looks like a ran into more snags.  Maybe you can help?

I just installed Portal and I can't authorize it.  I got the download from My ESRI...as an apparent part of Server...however, when I try to authorize with my Server key it doesn't work.  I don't see a separate key for Portal available.  What am I missing here?  I can't find any information online about this.

Also, after lots of reading I found something that said that I can't have Web Adapter configured for both Server and Portal.  But I currently have it setup so that the public can access my flex application and Server services. Naturally I do not want this to change, but if I configure Web Adapter to work with Portal I would lose this no?  I want the public to continue to do things as they currently do but want Portal ONLY for Collector.  I have no other use of it at this time.  What do I do about this?


Thanks!

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BenGrod
Regular Contributor

Eric, I can't help with the question about Portal installations because we haven't implemented (yet). However, you may have better luck/responses if you post a new thread to the Portal Discussion Group. Wish I could be of more help.

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EricGardecki
Occasional Contributor

disregard the authorization part.  I accidentally entered an old Server key!  oops

IainStuart
Occasional Contributor

There are other alternatives outside the ESRI world that then can load into ArcGIS. I have used Collector but found it a bit frustrating trying to get it back from the Cloud to somewhere safe like my computer.

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PeteCrosier
Occasional Contributor III

Collector's pretty good if you're using it in the way it was designed, outside of that you might quickly run in to barriers. It is *very* off the shelf (it has 3 options in the settings menu). Also worth noting that Collector doesn't support snapping. But, as you say, a custom app would take a lot of time which you might not have so Collector might be just enough to convince you to work around its problems.

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BenGrod
Regular Contributor

Eric, if you choose to go with Collector this discussion is a pretty good read on a workflow to edit data which resides in SDE and is served as a Feature Service with ArcGIS Server. You still need a web map on ArcGIS Online to consume the data in Collector but this does overcome the issue of hosting your data on ArcGIS Online and synchronization back to your organization. Good luck with whatever you choose