We use Collector Classic because (a) tracking is done automatically while the app is active, i.e., no action by the user is required, and (b) app users can see all previous tracks to avoid unnecessary duplication. Can Tracker do this?

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11-21-2019 03:16 PM
DanGruber
New Contributor III

I think my question statement says most of it. We don't want users to have to remember to turn tracking on and off, we don't want them to have to open a separate app to track their location, and we want them to see others' tracks while in the field. How can we use Tracker to accomplish these things?

We also don't have an Enterprise license, so I gather we can't use Tracker at all at the moment!

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9 Replies
AaronPulver
Esri Regular Contributor

We are planning to add support to Tracker to start tracking from another app via the url scheme in an upcoming release. A user could tap a link/button in another app which would switch to Tracker and prompt the user to start tracking, then take them back to the original app. A similar thing could be done to stop tracking.

We'd still have to figure out how this works with Collector; would you want want Tracker to start tracking when someone opens a map?

Do the field workers need to see the actual tracks of other users in the field, or do they just need to see their actual locations?

If I understand correctly, a field worker needs to see their own tracks. Do they need to see their tracks for the last 8 hours? Last 24 hours?

Tracker currently supports defining a schedule that can remind the user to start or stop tracking. Additionally, Tracker will be supported in ArcGIS Online starting in mid-December 2019.

DanGruber
New Contributor III

Aaron, thanks for your reply.

The "connection" to Tracker from another app you described would be helpful, as would the prompts. That's not as convenient as automatic tracking, but it's okay. Ideally, we would want tracking to start when a map is opened - we're doing field surveys and the app won't be opened until a survey is starting.

Users need to see all the previous tracks created within a defined period, like a year, to avoid unnecessarily duplicating surveys already done. They don't need to know where other workers are currently, just where others have been. (We use a volunteer workforce for these surveys, so we can't dictate where they work. We simply ask them to survey wherever they are, provided no previous survey has been done there.)

We're a non-profit with multiple licenses for ArcMap 10.6.1 and ArcGIS Online, but no Enterprise license. Do you mean that we can use Tracker next month even without the Enterprise license?

Thanks again,

Dan

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AaronPulver
Esri Regular Contributor

Thanks for the additional information. Viewing all of the tracks for an entire year is likely going to be problematic due to amount of data. When walking for an hour, Tracker typically records around 1000-1500 points per user. You many need to consider post processing the tracks into some other layer of polylines that could be consumed in Collector.

Another consideration is offline usage. The location tracking services do not support sync and cannot be taken offline. This may be another reason to consider post-processing the track data into another layer.

Tracker is a premium app and requires a license for each user. You can work with your account manager to figure out exact pricing.

DanGruber
New Contributor III

Ouch! Currently we only record a location every 5 minutes, which is often enough to see what has been surveyed. And locations can be collected offline - we're surveying field locations where online connections aren't always available -  and then synced with the rest of the Collector data. If we can't control the frequency of track points and can't use it offline, then I guess we'll have to stick with Collector Classic (with a tracking layer from the template collection enabled) as long as possible.

Thanks for the info,

Dan

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AaronPulver
Esri Regular Contributor

Oh sorry for the confusion. Tracker can collect tracks offline and upload them when it re-gains connectivity. However, if you wanted to used the Location Tracking feature layers in a map in Collector, those do not support sync and could not be taken offline for viewing.

Tracker records points based on a distance interval which is based on your activity (5 meters for walking, 30m when driving, 10m for other activities). This allows for very precise tracks. It also works in the foreground and background whereas Collector only records locations in the foreground. Can you expand on your use case for only recording a location every 5 minutes?

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DanGruber
New Contributor III

Aaron, I should explain that we're a non-profit that developed a Collector map to survey the locations and removals of invasive non-native plants (NNP) in central AZ. Currently, dozens of people (mostly volunteers) record locations, species, number of plants, etc. in parks, preserves, and forests all over central AZ. We have many thousands of points and polys, all displayed on one map so we can see what been surveyed, what's been removed, where certain species are concentrated, etc.

We use tracking simply to understand what areas have been covered. In effect, if we see track points without any NNP observations we take that as "negative results", i.e., we assume that there were no NNP along that portion of the track. Since the observers almost always are following a trail or an obvious physical feature like a dry wash, there's no need to get frequent location points. We also had some trouble syncing in early use and didn't want users to have to sync 1000s of points/polys (most of which would be track points) at one time when they got back to a cell or wifi signal.

What we've developed has worked very well for more than a year now (our public map can be seen at http://msfi.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=6633090d53bb4d50bdbdb82ef7f27c47). Based on what you've said, I hope ESRI will continue to support Collector Classic for a long time to come.

Dan

JakeJacobs
Occasional Contributor III

I want to second the need to have tracking baked into an app the users already need to be in. I would like the ability for tracking to start as soon as the user opens a map in Collector and perhaps stop when they close the map.  They don't need to keep track of juggling another app that way.  We use tracking for validation so if the user forgets to start up Tracker they will be penalized, but it could be hours later when the validation runs, especially if the user is collecting data offline for a while.  From the user's perspective, they shouldn't need to worry about tracking, it should just work.  They won't derive any benefit from interacting with Tracker, at least as I see it now.  There's no context to the map.

jamieroberts1
New Contributor II

I also need this to work right when they open a map in collector. I don't need them going to another app to say "yes, start logging my GPS". Like Erika stated above, "it should just work" without any input from the user. I thought this would help us migrate to the new Collector App, but the way it looks now, we are going to have to stay with Classic for our needs. It doesn't look like this product was thought out very well before release. In addition, stop making a bunch of apps. It is aggravating to have to open up another app from a link just to use one or two tools or functionality that could easily be baked into a more robust app.  

DanielleKulas
Occasional Contributor III

Similarly, our staff have been using Collector Classic because of the ability to use location tracking within the app. I thought with the release of Tracker for ArcGIS to ArcGIS Online we'd be able to start transitioning... due to the reasons stated above as well as having to pay for a feature that was previously available and then removed, we may be stuck with Collector Classic.

Our staff also wants to be able to see their tracks for longer periods of time. They are inventory biologists and want to know where they and other biologists have been in a field season.