The Perennial "I need non-editable layers in Collector" thread....

01-29-2020 07:15 AM
MVP Frequent Contributor

Collector is growing in popularity for us, and I have a user requirement for the same platform to show non-editable data. Here are two possible scenarios:

Field crew wants data in collector so when they're standing in front of a tree, they can bring up the attributes that tell them how much was herbicide sprayed last time, what species of tree, etc..

This all has to work offline, as like most users of Collector, data collection occurs where there is no cell service or very poor WiFi due to security restrictions. (Wonder why  isn't in Product Plan Yet?)

Here's the body of knowledge on this topic, which indicates it's quite a large yet unmet need. 

Is it possible to create a read only map for use with the Collector App  

Collector : Offline use with layer that is not sync-enabled 

Make fields visible but not editable Classic Collector 

Best way to create a background/Non-editable layer for offline use 

Maps work perfect in Collector (Classic) Feature Layers do not show in Collector (new)? 

How to make a layer uneditable in Collector? 

Is it possible to include non-editable features in a collector map that can be taken off line? 

Hosted feature layers, non-editable but offline compatible 

Collector in Offline Mode - How do I Not Make Everything Editable 

Here's why none of the above work. 

I easily got a Collector Offline map going, and 20 people downloaded it and went about their day. Here's the problem: We're updating the HFS nightly from on-prem SDE (we only allow editing to occur against SQL). So those 20 downloads resulted in 20 replica's, which must be blown away before I can overwrite the HFS. Manually. 

Looking at Prepare maps for download—Explorer for ArcGIS | Documentation doesn't work either, as there's no way to automate a nightly update of the data and get it packaged and downloadable for Explorer. 

Surely someone has solved this? This workflow wasn't this hard with ArcPad. Struggling to believe that ESRI didn't include a means to show data in Collector and make it non-editable without having to rely in replica's being made. 

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3 Replies
MVP Esteemed Contributor

My vote is to allow us to use Vector tiles for this.  This means adding a few VTPKs to my sdcard then allowing Vector tiles to stack and show as layers in the TOC.  This way we can have a roads.vtpk, streams.vtpk, etc sitting on the shelf.  Then we can just grab each one we need, add to the tablet, and they show as layers i can turn on and off.  (I want to copy them as files and not download them via the webmap.  But if this works for you I think you can now?)

When vector tiles first came out I really though this was the whole point of them.  Instead Esri is using them for raster type basemaps - which, at least to me, makes no sense.  TPKs do this just fine. It is vector data, like roads, where TPKs fell apart for us since 90% of the TPK was actually just blank space.  To do all of our roads as a TPK was GBs but the vector tile it was just 25 MB.  But I cannot actually us it for any purpose.  If we burn the roads into the TPK then we can never turn them off.  We have like 50 maps that all use roads so adding them to each map just increases size.

In my last job we had a 3rd party (but Esri stack) app that could stack TPKs with no problem.  I did get an email from the Collector team 3 years or so ago asking me about it but nothing ever came of it.

Thanks for considering!

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MVP Frequent Contributor

Problem is, you can't query attributes from vector tiles. 

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

Last time I dug into it there is 1 attribute space buried in the Vectors.  But it is blank for some reason.  My idea was to let us at least pick this one field so it has something.  They we could at least use this for a label.  I could prob do what I need with just that one attribute.  Not sure why it was left blank.

I did get Vector tiles to go offline.  Just have to make sure you enable it.


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