Importing Tile Packages in Collector on iOS

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02-19-2019 10:48 AM
Status: Open
LanceCase
Occasional Contributor

It would be helpful to have other options for loading/importing custom tile packages (TPK files) into Collector on an iOS device other than iTune File Sharing.  I typically create tile packages of the most recent NAIP imagery and other raster data for large areas (often 7-800 MB).  Rather than uploading them to AGOL and burning through credits for data storage, we load or import the custom tile packages into Collector via iTunes File Sharing as described by the "Go Offline" workflow (http://doc.arcgis.com/en/collector-classic/ios/collect-data/offline-use.htm).  It would be nice to have the option for importing them through file sharing programs like Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, or even WeTransfer.com.  There are also a variety of flash drives for iOS devices that could deliver the TPK files in the field without the need for a computer or bandwidth at all.  Programs like Avenza Maps have this functionality. 

8 Comments
PatrickFilyer

Great Idea! This would solve a lot of problems for us too.

BrianCollins

Totally agree! We've wanted this capability for a few years now. Our end users aren't allowed to run iTunes on their work machines so we're constrained to a handful of off-network laptops that we use to run around side loading basemaps. A streamlined program or ArcGIS Pro tool would be perfect here.

LanceCase

As of the June 2019 update to Collector for ArcGIS, you can now use the iOS Files app to copy a .TPK file to the Collector app.  Collector will move it to a "Basemaps" folder as a folder with the imported map in it.  You can see the imported map in Collector the same way a map was imported from iTune File Sharing. 

The iOS Files app will allow you to copy files from iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive to Collector (EDIT: In theory, this should be possible, but haven't been able to make it work.).  I am using SanDisk iXand Drive (flash drive) to store .TPK files and transfer them into Collector without any need for a broadband connection.

The only issue now is that the new version of Collector does not have a basemap management tool like the old one (Classic) did.  In order to remove .TPK files in Collector, you have to connect to a computer via iTune File Sharing, browse to Collector & the Basemaps folder, then open each folder within to locate the .TPK file you want to remove and delete the folder containing the correct .TPK file.  Another option is to delete the entire Basemaps folder and import (via File app) the .TPK files anew.  (Just to the Collector app.  Collector will recreate the Basemaps folder and move the .TPK files into new folders within the Basemaps folder.)

Three steps forward, one step back...

tagging: @Patrick Filyer, @Brian Collins

😉

PatrickFilyer

@Lance Case Thanks for the detailed instructions ! This is excellent news ! 

LanceCase

@Patrick Filyer  Was just doing some tinkering while submitting a new idea to add a basemaps management tool back into Collector when I discovered that you can delete basemaps from Collector using the iOS Files app.  Just open the Collector "folder" in the Files app, open the Basemaps folder, and open each folder until you locate the .TPK basemap file you wish to delete.  Delete the folder containing the basemap file.  This was easier in the Collector Classic app b/c you didn't need to leave the app nor hunt through folders looking for which one holds the .TPK file you want to delete (the folders have long string names of random characters).  Hope this helps!

BrianCollins

Good info and I was provided the same update by the Collector dev staff at the UC last week. We'll be able to adapt to this workflow and with the implementation of vector tile packages we should be another step or two forward. Thanks @Lane Case.

erica_tefft

Hi Lance,

Did you have any issues with saving a basemap from your cloud location into Files/Collector? I'm using Drive and keep getting errors. I'm not sure if it's my basemap size (4.5GB) or something else.

I'm doing this entirely within the Files app - is that how you accomplished this? I haven't seen much else in the way of instructions from Esri on it.

Thanks,

Erica

LanceCase

Hi Erica,

I should login more often.  Sorry about that.  We still use iTunes File Sharing nearly 100% of the time.  I happen to have a SanDisk iXpand (flash) Drive for my iOS devices.  The iXpand Drive app has a "presence" in the Files app under "On my iPhone".  I'm able to use the app to copy a TPK file to that location.  Then in the Files app, I move the TPK file to Collector (also under "On my iPhone"), but do not copy the file to the "Basemaps" folder in the Collector folder app.  When you open the Collector app, the TPK file appears to be detected and moved to the Basemaps folder, into a folder with a seemingly long string of random characters.  However, the result is that I see the imported file as a listed basemap I can choose to use in Collector.  NOT quite as user friendly as I would have expected from Apple (typical of ESRI?), but it is doable.

Not sure which "Drive" you are referring to (iDrive, Google Drive, One Drive?).  I've tried to copy or move the file from Google Drive in the Files app, but can't seem to figure it out.  The TPK file is listed in light gray font, so maybe an unrecognized file type?  Even if I make the file "available offline" in the Google Drive app, I can't seem to grab it.

I've made A LOT of tile packages for a variety of things.  Many could be made available through cloud storage if it there was a way to download and copy them into the Collector app.  Sure would make my life easier.  So for now, the folks in the field download them from a Google Drive account and copy them manually through iTunes File Sharing. 

Hope this helps!  Feel free to "follow" me and PM me if you have further questions.  Or if you figured this out yourself, I would love to hear about it!

Cheers,

Lance