Collector: Anyone else find moving the map to add features awkward?

03-24-2019 11:43 AM
New Contributor III

With every GIS app that I've used to add features (points or polygons), you click on the map location where you'd like to add a point or start drawing. With the new version of Collector, one must move the map to crosshairs. Does anyone else find this awkward?

There is a rather cumbersome workaround that allows you to first drop a pin and then select "Collect Here." At that point, your screen space is taken up by other location information before navigating to add data. This is particularly frustrating when you are collecting hundreds of features in a day.

Thankfully, the Collector Classic is still a useable option, albeit with the sacrifice of labeling.

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21 Replies
Occasional Contributor III

I have to say I prefer the new method, because it's easier to put the point where I want it more accurately. If it doesn't end up in the right place it's easy to adjust rather than just having to aim at a spot on the screen over and over again.

It is definitely designed for a workflow where you are standing very near the location that you want to place a feature, though.

Maybe ESRI should make this an option that the user could switch between based on their workflow - either the "move crosshairs" or the "drop pin" style of creating a point feature.

The insane preference for starting a feature at your current gps location is annoying, especially if you're digitizing polygons.  That would be nice to have a toggle for, like "let me place the first point, don't try to do it for me".

New Contributor III

I've been testing it a little more and admit it isn't the worst change, but still using "Classic."

On the other hand, the ability to rotate the map is a real plus.

Ditto on the default for starting a polygon feature at current location. In general, more options for customized UI would be great.

New Contributor III

Ethan / Erika, 

Thanks for the feedback!

We realize the change to how feature geometry is set is a divergence from how Classic worked. It's something we were conscious of during the redesign, and extensively usability tested with both existing and new users.

Our main motivation was, as Erika states, to provide a way to accurately position points without your finger getting in the way or having to rely on the long press gesture to show a magnifier. 

On starting a new feature at your GPS location for points, that is something we carried over from Classic and made consistent for lines and polygons. The assumption being you are at the location of the feature you are trying to Collect. It sounds as though we might not be hitting the mark here- and will keep trying to improve this aspect of the app. 

Would it be possible for you to outline your workflow for digitizing polygons? Is this something you are doing in the field?


New Contributor III

Greetings Nick,

Ericka may have more specifics on digitizing polygons, as it is a more limited part of our workflow. Our primary work is adding points for all birds detected while observers walk line-transect during surveys. We survey over a thousand transects (typically 400m) each year. Observers selected a coded-value domain driven specie, verify other attributes, and then place the point. With "Classic" they were able to this relatively quickly and had the added feature of crosshairs within a magnified window. With the latest version, observers need to move the map and zoom in manually. After point submission the map remains in that state and users must manually adjust to the previous extent that is ideal for conducting surveys. Does this make sense? To put it another way, what would be most efficient way to add hundreds of points on a map-based PC application? Moving the map to a set point and clicking submit or allowing the user to place points anywhere in the view extent?

I hope this helps and I'm very appreciative of ESRI reaching out like this.



Regular Contributor

We're also doing bird surveys and are experiencing the same annoyances. These surveys go FAST - it is imperative that we can drop points quickly, fill out their info, and then move on to the next bird heard. These do not need to be precise point locations, we just need a guesstimate. Since Collector Classic doesn't support arcade expressions, we don't want to use that one either. We are not collecting points where we are standing. We need a way to collect points quickly in collector - I am sure there are many others who are doing things outside of bird surveys that would need this functionality.

New Contributor III

Hi Nick, 

The new way of digitizing vertices (points, lines, or polys) in the new Collector is extremely cumbersome and annoying in geologic mapping workflows. I commonly drop points at locations that I am NOT standing at or near. I also digitize a lot of lines in the field, commonly of places I can see from where I am but not near my GPS point, ie. across a canyon, etc. Drawing lines by moving the map beneath the cross hairs is extremely frustrating and much much slower. In the "Classic" version I used a stylus to get past the "fat finger problem," which worked very well, was very efficient and fast, and enabled me to place points/vertices accurately.  In the new version, drawing, and especially editing vertices along a line or polygon, is more difficult, slower, and requires more clicks and manipulation . New Collector: Collect line = Move screen, click Add Point, move screen, click Add Point, move screen, click Add Point, move screen, click Add Point, etc., etc.  Collector Classic: Collect line= tap the screen with a stylus tip where you want a vertex, repeat, done.  

It would be AMAZING if you could switch between the different modes of digitizing. Please bring back the "classic" way of collecting points/vertices. 


New Contributor III

Hi Zach, 

Apologies for the delayed response and thanks for the feedback. We are doing some more design thinking here. Please can you clarify what devices/stylus type you are using? 


New Contributor III

Hi Nick, 

I, and others in my office, are using the iPad Pro or iPad mini with the Apple Pencil. 


New Contributor III


I work with Zach and have been looking into this for our team. I've looked at work arounds but I was just thinking it would be great if there could be a way to collect a line or polygon using the Apple Pencil. Is that possible or even within the realm of possibilities?

I've worked with some that really like the crosshairs but also some (like our geologists) who really don't like it so I see the merits of both ways of collecting.

Thanks for your response!


Adding ESRI contact @PeterGamberg1 because we talked about this several weeks ago.

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