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Seems Like Collector Is Not Ready for Prime Time

07-02-2020 10:52 AM
New Contributor III

I work for a Forestry company, and offline collection of points and line features is important.  We are conducting a trial using Collector and another third party software product.  I've been doing GIS for 32 years, and while I still have tons to learn, I have great supporting staff, and am not afraid to reach out for help.

Here's my quandary:  For the past 4-5 weeks, I've been working with Esri Tech Support - a great courteous person I might add - but they have not been able to fix all the problems.  I could go over all the issues (there have been several), but once we fix one, another pops up.  We are now getting an error when Syncing, and the tech person is not sure why.  This is essentially a show stopper.

My question is simply:  Are other folks having a long drawn out process getting Collector to work?  Do you feel like the effort may not be worth the time?  Is this software ready for prime time?  Honestly, I'd like to use Collector, but am close to uninstalling the software.

Thanks for listening.  I am REALLY looking forward to reading about other people's experiences.

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2 Replies
MVP Regular Contributor

Overall, using ArcGIS Collector has been a HUGE help to us regarding data integrity and efficiency when compared to the old way of collecting field data with pencil and paper. To be fair, we didn't experiment with any other similar products on the market to compare, but I'd say the benefits the software brings outweigh the headaches it can cause when there are sync issues, etc. (don't get me wrong, we've had *plenty* of those as well!)

What I think would help alleviate a lot of frustration is if the Esri team would compile an official "manual" that explains not only the requirements for a map to be taken offline (which is already pretty well documented) but also all the myriad error messages and sync issues that one can encounter, what causes them, and how to possibly troubleshoot them. I know that there are resources out there, and documentation, and many helpful posts scattered all across Geonet, but this is such a fundamental workflow to many organizations who use Esri's product that I think having a central location for "all things Collector (and troubleshooting) would be extremely beneficial. I've worked on unofficially compiling as much info as I can in this manner to distribute to members of my organization, but having an official Esri document would be much better. Especially one that really explains the nitty gritty of the technical details of the error messages that you read in the troubleshooting logs. All of the documentation I've found just doesn't go into enough detail to help with understanding the fundamental problem. 

Esri - if you're listening......has there been any consideration for something like this? 

So, yes, I do think Collector is "worth the hassle", but there's certainly room for improvement. And that's my two cents.


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Occasional Contributor III

We've actually had great luck with collector.  Most of the issues for us have been related to how the webmaps were setup (i.e. editing enabled/disabled when it shouldn't have been, related tables not added, etc).  We recently purchased an EOS Arrow GPS to pair with our iPads and the accuracy level has been fantastic.  We aren't doing any offline editing or syncing though, so our setup is likely much less complicated than what you're doing, but overall Collector has been a pretty smooth integration for us.

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