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Is there a workflow to backup Collector while in offline mode?

08-02-2016 03:53 PM
Esri Contributor

Hi folks

We have the need to use Collector in offline mode for at least a week during field season. Although our devices are charged regularily and have access to be connected to our mobile workstations, there is still no wifi or cell ranges to sync to AGO.

In order to mitigate the risk of losing collected data on devices due to hardware failure, is there a workflow where the data can be backed up through iTunes or the file system (for android).

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12 Replies
Occasional Contributor III

Survey123 is slightly off topic here, but here goes as this partially applies to Collector too...

You can publish your feature services (for Collector) or Survey123 surveys to Portal if you have one. That should have backup options set up by your IT/GIS Admin if you're using SDE to store your data. If you're using AGOL or hosting your data in Portal (w/o SDE) to store your data, you can export your data any time you want by going to the feature service's item page and click on the Export button. This can be automated via a Python script using the ArcGIS API (so you can log in to AGOL/Portal, get your FS, create a replica, download it and then delete the replica from AGOL/Portal so it won't take up space) and the script could be set up to run as a scheduled task - every day/week/month/etc.

Your Survey123 forms are always uploaded & saved to AGOL/Portal and you should be able to download them any time you want.

This obviously doesn't solve your issue of offline backups from your devices, but the idea behind these apps was that at some point you connect to WiFi/mobile internet and sync your edits back (to AGOL or Portal). Your best approach to get your ideas across to the dev team is if you log them on the ideas website and get people to promote them. 😉

If your master forms and other data are crucial to operations (and why they wouldn't be), your organisation needs to spend some time and money to implement backups for those.

I hope this helps.

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

Sorry I thought I was in the 123 forum as I usually am.

I do have a script I wrote for backup form AGOL (we cannot use portal).  It is a full download so towards the end of the field season it takes all nights to do 3 states.  We are moving to 6 next year and 11 the year after that so at that point this will no longer be feasible.  I have 30-40 Hosted feature services so a manual download is not an option.  Out biggest issue here is I must have my computer running and logged in in order to do the download.  If I am out or on vacation it is an issue.  I am working on getting a VM.  Even losing just one crews data one time is 50K.  It would for sure be easier to just check a box in AGOL for backups.  In order for AGOL to be true enterprise scale it needs to have a way to backup.

I am actually seeing the offline ...database files now in the files app in the iPad.  Have not tried a restore but it looks like I can at least see it.  I will have to ask the 123 team if they can open up this access as well.

Thanks for the help.

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

Update:  I have been able to backup to a USB stick plugged into the iPad while offline.  I then copied to a PC and used the Copy Runtime tool and it all worked perfectly.

So for the OP  Nathan Enge you can backup to a USB stick hanging off the iPad and recover it as needed.  No iTunes or PC needed.

I used an iXpand from SanDisk.  Only weird thing is you must install the app for it to show up in Files app.

I am now asking the 123 team to please open the folder up like Collector does.

Big thanks to the Collector team for having this open!  Good job!

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