Transfer features between tablets in an offline environment (ArcGIS Field Maps)

04-06-2021 05:54 PM
Status: Open
Occasional Contributor

Add the ability to transfer selected features between ArcGIS Field map devices in an offline environment.  

We have a client that typically sends crews into disconnected environments for 10 days at a time collecting data on handheld Garmin GNSS units.  In the evenings the crews will download their data to a laptop and load GPX files from other members collections on to their devices to aid in their next day's work.  I don't see a workflow in ArcGIS Field Maps that is equivalent without being in a connected environment.  

Markups sent via Airdrop comes pretty close, but they need the actually collected data transferred between devices, not just a tracing of it.



This would be useful. We're investigating options for expanding our use of Field Maps and maybe trying Quick Capture in very remote areas. The problem is that the crews that would be collecting the data would spend long periods of time out "in the sticks" and wouldn't get the opportunity to syncronise data captured. I've thought about satelite connections, but they're not really useful. Syncronising across a localised mesh style network could work for distributing data across connected devices, including one that may periodically get transported back to an area with cell coverage which could then syncronise with the cloud environment. 

I imagine that any setup that does have this offline data distribution setup would likely rely on pre-planned offline areas though and/or setting up the multi-device offline grouping before heading offline. 


We also go offline for 10+ days.  We backup to USB sticks plugged into the tablet at night.  With 123 you could in theory take the sqllite db of a tablet and see it on the other.  Messy though.

We collect 12 forms total on 2 devices.  Knowing if all 12 are done while offline is not possible for us.  In addition we collect forms in 123.  Since 123 is independent we cannot even see the forms in Field Maps until we sync (we have arcade in Field Maps that tells them if a form is missing).  I would like it if Field Maps could see into 123 DB but due to app security rules that is not going to happen.

I do not think a sync between tablets can ever happen though.  Going offline uses replication.  Replication uses states in the DB to know where it left off.  Each tablet has its own state.  That means somehow the other tablet would have to know, and keep track of, the state of every other tablet.  But if tablet 1 goes offline, then tablet 2 does, how would 1 know what state 2 is in?  At first it seems like you are just adding new records then sending between tablets.  But edits, web edits, other tablets, etc it is way more complicated then that.

Great idea I just do not think it can happen the way it is setup.


This is almost a necessity for some field crews I work with as well. They are used to using Avanza and capturing KMLs then having the ability to Airdrop the files back and forth or even load them into google earth at the end of the day and send out new KMLs for the next day. 

I appreciate that this would be no simple addition but it is hard to justify all the other wonderful benefits of ESRI apps when crews can't see what was done the day before if they are in camp. 

Some spitball ideas for implementation:

  • Having a AGOL / Portal utility that could run on a laptop connecting to all devices through a LAN or direct USB connection. This utility could coordinate an "offline" sync between devices.
  • Using versioned data so data Airdropped to another device would add it to there version. This leaves room to sort out conflicts in the reconcile process.

Maybe a mesh system could potentially also be utilised for data transfer between offline devices (in a similar manner to the way these devices work)