Can Collector create multiple maps for multiple project areas?

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05-09-2016 04:37 PM
ScottMcGee4
New Contributor III

I have a use case that I'm not sure Collector can address, and am looking for input.

Here's the scenario:

* I'm going out to do field data collection in five separate project areas over the course of five days.

* The project areas are 20-50 miles from each other (will helicopter from one area to the next).

* I won't have an Internet connection during the five days of field work.

I know I can make a map available for offline use. That's not a problem. The issue is that if I want to include all five project areas in my offline map, at a zoom level that I need, the map downloaded to the iPad will be several gigabytes in size, with 99% of it being unnecessary, as it's not actually needed for my five widely-spaced, but rather small project areas.

What I really want to do is to have five separate maps - one for each of the small project areas. I don't need the area between the five project areas. But I don't see any way of doing this in Collector. When I download a map to the iPad, and then click on Manage, the only option it gives is to delete the map. What I really want to do is to copy an existing map, specify a new project area and scale for it, and save it as a new map with a different name. That way I could have five individual maps; one for each project area (Project Area 1, Project Area 2, etc.). See below for a diagram.

I considered the use of tile packages, but this is not a workable or efficient method. This is because we'll have multiple people out in the field collecting data, and if each of them is working in multiple areas each day, then they would need to submit their project areas to a GIS person in advance of their field work so that the GIS person could create all the tile packages and make them available to the field workers. It would be much quicker and more efficient if the field workers could create and download all of their intended project areas without the assistance of a GIS person.

Am I just missing something obvious in Collector? Or is it not possible to do this with the current version of Collector?

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DougMorgenthaler
Esri Regular Contributor

Scott-

Thanks for sharing your workflows; very helpful in understanding the challenges you're trying to solve.

Currently Collector doesn't support a method to download the same map multiple times.  However, there are a couple methods you can take now to achieve what you're ultimately looking for.

1. Create and sideload a large TPK for the basemap that covers all the areas where you'll be performing data collection. When taking the map offline, use the TPK and take off the unioned extent of the operational layers.  This will ultimately give you full coverage of the areas, but will result in existing data in areas outside the data collection being downloaded.  If you are just collecting data, you can use some of the new offline options to minimize this though.  For more info see this doc: Prepare maps for offline use—Collector for ArcGIS | ArcGIS

2. As suggested in an earlier post, create a set of 5 different maps and download each individually.

-Doug

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14 Replies
GISSupport3
Regular Contributor

If you download the maps and then delete just the features, doesn't the basemap remain?

Could do that five times.

Possibly lost in the explanation and if only five, fixed sites, TPKs may be easier.

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ScottMcGee4
New Contributor III

"If you download the maps..."

Well, as far as I can tell, you can't download maps (plural). I start off with the map that was shared via ArcGIS Online (as seen on the group card in Collector). Then I click on the Download icon (the little cloud with the down-pointing arrow). I then specify the project area and the desired zoom level. It downloads that particular portion of the shared map and that's what is available for use in Collector.

Sure, when I want to define a new project area, I can delete the existing map and create a new one based on the overall map that was created and shared in ArcGIS Online. But if I'm out in the field and don't have an Internet connection, then I can't do that. So that means making the multiple project area maps in advance, when I have an Internet connection. But that's the sticking point. I don't see a way of doing that (and I've already explained why tile packages are not effective in this situation; see my original comment above).

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GISSupport3
Regular Contributor

Hi Scott

I use Portal not AGO ... though I suspect workflow in Collector is the same?

First paragraph the same for me.

When I go to Manage -> Remove I have the option to "Remove features and basemap" OR "Remove features only"

The second option keeps the already downloaded basemap on my device.

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TobiasFimpel1
Occasional Contributor III

Hi Scott,

I haven't actually tried this but couldn't you just save five different copies of your webmap in ArcGIS Online (maybe have the name indicate the project area) and then download each of these webmaps in Collector. In the download process you'd download a different extent for each of those webmaps. They could still use the same feature service(s), you'd just download a different extent with each webmap. Not super user-friendly but it may be the best you can do.

ScottMcGee4
New Contributor III

Tobias,

Yes, your suggestion would certainly work. But the problem is, it wouldn't be very efficient, as it would require each person who is going to be collecting field data to first give their intended project area(s) to a GIS person. The GIS person would then have to make all the separate maps in ArcGIS Online and then share them with the field people. You can see that if there are multiple people doing field data collection, that this method would be very time-consuming for the GIS person. The whole purpose of Collector is to allow non-GIS people to easily collect field data, and it's not reasonable for these non-GIS people to do all the ArcGIS Online preparations themselves.

TobiasFimpel1
Occasional Contributor III

Agreed, 100%.

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ScottMcGee4
New Contributor III

I'm hoping one of ESRI's Collector experts will jump in here and let me know if what I'm asking is way off base, or if maybe there's something obvious I'm overlooking. It's always something, eh?

PeteCrosier
Occasional Contributor III

I don't think you're mixed up with anything - for one map you can take one constrained shape (a big box) area offline at a time currently. You can have the basemap already on your device as a tile package or you can download it when you take your map offline. If you want multiple areas offline at the same time you have to use a bounding box that covers all of them at once; otherwise you have to go offline for one area, work and sync, go back online, go offline for your next area, etc. Our main basemap is about 80GB, so a tile package or large area download is out of the question.

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ScottMcGee4
New Contributor III

Well, it looks like the consensus is that what I want to do isn't possible with the current version of Collector. Let's hope that ESRI will add the capability of having multiple maps to a future version.

In the meantime, there are a couple of less-than-ideal alternatives:

1) Create many tile packages.

2) Create many different maps in ArcGIS Online.

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