Update the process to connect with an external high accuracy GPS in Field Maps to match the Collector process.

06-30-2021 10:24 AM
Status: Open
Occasional Contributor

The steps required to utilize a high accuracy external GPS with Field Maps are significantly more complicated than in Collector.

We use Trimble R1 pucks and with Collector no third party app was required. We could connect to the puck and set all configurations directly within Collector settings.

In Field Maps, we are back to having to use a third party app (Trimble Mobile Manager) in addition to the Field Maps settings. This is a significantly more cumbersome workflow for users, and increases the likelihood that a mistake is made during set up leading to incorrectly collected data.

It would be great for us if the Collector connection workflow was migrated to Field Maps.


SPOT ON - I want to vote this up x 1 million. This process is entirely too painful for our users, where some were already hesitant to go through the process of using R1s with Collector that didn't require an extra app and unnecessary steps. 

There are plenty of issues with the Trimble Mobile Manager app, mainly the fact that it requires the creation of a separate account to use, which I find absolutely absurd. And feel free to join in on this thread in the Trimble Community as well.

Understandably, issues with the TMM app are not of ESRI's concern. However, if Collector (iOS) and R1s could function ~perfectly fine~ without an extra app, why can't the same be done for Field Maps? I haven't been able to get a straight answer as to why that was built in. The additional functionality it provides (such as orthometric heights) may be beneficial to some, but to force all of your Collector/Trimble users into having to use the extra app is extremely disappointing. 

This process has significantly delayed my organization's transition to Field Maps, and the extra requirement is certainly not an enhancement.


@LarissaH thank you for linking the Trimble thread, I will definitely hop on there as well. I agree and would really like to understand why this functionality was seemingly one of the only things that downgraded from Collector to Field Maps. If Field Maps uses the same code base as Collector it had to be a conscious choice to change the connection workflow, and it's just categorically worse for users. 


I couldn't agree more- AND on top of it, the Mobile Manager app frequently loses its credentials for offline users. When in offline environments (every day, here in Vermont) our field crews have to drive to find cell service through a hotspot to make the MM sign-in connection before they can start working. The app is supposed to retain the credentials for 30 days, but it absolutely DOESN'T! Trimble worked with me for a few days then stopped responding. They suggested they had changed sign-in requirements on their end, but ESRI needed to adopt the new API in Field Maps.

Lets get rid of the Mobile Manager requirement! I'm getting ready to move everyone back to Collector. TMM is definitely not an enhancement- I can't tell you the number of frustrated phone calls I get from our people in the field.


This is causing frustration in our userbase as well right now. Many reports coming in from the field, time wasted, time equals money. Esri data collection software and Trimble GPS gear should be much more plug and play for industry leading companies.


Update for anyone following this thread still - we are moving to Juniper Geodes (gradually, as new devices are purchased). Significantly more user friendly and easier to set up to use with Field Maps compared to the R1s. 


@Linde_Carmack it would be good if you could summarize the improvements from changing devices.


@Linde_Carmack Thanks for sharing. I would be interested in the differences as well, specifically in accuracy and physical size. We have not been able to find a equivalent replacement so far. This could be critical, considering we were told by our Trimble supplier that the R1 has been on backorder/discontinued since last fall due to the chip shortage. 


Sure, I'll start with the caveat that we haven't had the devices for very long, so this is a small sample. The accuracy meets our expectations of consistent sub-meter capture, I've not seen any real difference in that compared to the R1s. Really all we were looking for was a device that matched the R1s sub-meter accuracy and worked smoothly with Field Maps. Our users had so many prolonged issues with the Trimble Mobile Manager and Field Maps workflow that they basically stopped collecting that data altogether. 

A middle-man connection app is still required but it's free and you don't need an account. The app interface is a lot more user friendly and intuitive as well - it's easier for users to configure and customize basic things like measurement units. I also like the ability to capture points directly in the connection app. That way if a workflow with Field Maps does fail users can still capture the location(s) and share directly as a CSV, KML, or JSON. 

The process to set up the connection in Field Maps was also smoother and once configured collecting has been going well. The workflow is still many more steps than it was in Collector, but the Geode connection so far seems much more stable and reliable than the R1s. With the R1s we had connections dropping and Field Maps crashing completely when attempting to collect high accuracy data. I've not seen either of those issues so far with the Geodes. 

Physically they are a bit larger, maybe double the size of the R1s. So it's a difference but they are still very portable. I think the shape is actually a benefit - users would have to literally turn it upside down to be in a bad collection position. With the R1s it's so easy to just have it tilted or sideways, impacting the quality of the data. 

Our users do not do high accuracy data collection daily. It may be weeks or months between each time they need to use this workflow. So having something simple, stable, and reliably accurate is the #1 priority. The Geodes are delivering on that much better than the R1s. 


@Linde_Carmack this mirrors what I experience with my users, it's important work but infrequent enough that the workflow needs to stay as simple as possible. Does the output CSV from the collection app include metadata about the positional quality? Thanks for the followup info!


It does not (at least by default). It has simple name and description fields plus Lat, Long, and Elevation. Not sure if there are options to customize what that export looks like so it includes that metadata.