I have been working with Collector for a couple of days with some pretty good success. However I have an issue taking the data from the feature service back to my original geodatabase. Below is my ideal process/workflow.
Geodatabase -> Feature Service -> Collector -> Feature Service -> Geodatabase
So far I can accomplish steps 1-4 without running into any major issues. I have not found a way to accomplish this final step of synchronizing the newly collected data from my feature service back to the original geodatabase.
I know I can bring the feature service into ArcMap quite easily and edit it's content through the creation of a local copy, but as I far as I am seeing that does not sync back to the original geodatabase. Additionally I could export the service to shp or fgdb and then copy and paste or use the append tool to import new features. Unless I am missing something though, this will not update the data collected on already existing features. It will only add the new features.
I've thought of a couple processes to transfer collected data to existing features, but nothing that is a seamless, simple process. It all involves a lot of manual reentering of data.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
What leads you to the conclusion that the edits are in the feature service but not the geodatabase?
The feature service is like a link / pointer / reader to the geodatabase.
A feature service doesn't store any data itself.
I Guess your scenario is an online scenario. You are not doing Offline work in Collector, are you?
Collector is using the Feature Service, and the Feature Service is using the data in the geodatabase.
So if you can Query the new data using the Feature Service, then the data is in the geodatabase :)
I guess while publishing the Featureservice ArcGIS told you it will upload your data to the Server. And now your feature service and your geodatabase are out of sync.
Upfront publishing the featureservice you could register your geodatabase with the ArcGIS Server. Then the featureservice will directly write into your geodatabase and you get all the edits from the collector app directly in your geodatabase. To register your geodatabse with the arcGIS for Server log in to Manager and click Site > GIS Server > Data Store. For detailed information about registering data to the ArcGIS for Server see also the manual -> ArcGIS Help (10.2, 10.2.1, and 10.2.2)
the feature of registering a Geodatabase with ArcGIS for Server is also possible in Version 10.1 (ArcGIS Help 10.1).
So far we just talked about ArcGIS for Server and not about ArcGIS Online, but it is indeed possible to host a Feature Service on ArcGIS Online and use it to synchronize with Collector for ArcGIS. Therefor you need 2.4 credits per 10MB of your Feature Service per month. You can find more informations about credits here: ArcGIS Online | Service Credits