[Last updated October 5 ,2019]
A pretty common question, so we thought we would clarify this a bit. Lets start with a simple table:
|Survey123 for ArcGIS||Collector for ArcGIS||GeoForm|
|Data collection style||Form Centric||Map Centric||Form Centric|
|Supports capturing new data||Yes (points, lines, polygons)|
Yes (points, lines, polygons)
|Yes (points only)|
|Supports editing existing data||Yes||Yes||No|
|Supports deleting existing data||No||Yes||No|
|Smart forms||Yes (xForms)||No||No|
|Supports reverse geocoding||Yes||No||No|
|Can work with versioned geodatabase layers||No||Yes||Yes|
|Can work with related records||Yes||Yes||No|
|Supports external GNSS receivers||Yes||Yes||No|
|Supports integration with Spike||Yes||No||No|
|Supports integration via webhooks||Yes||No||No|
|Supports anonymous access||Yes||No||Yes|
iOS, Android, Windows (7,8,10), Mac, Linux, Web
And Windows 10 with Classic
|Technical Support||Esri & Community||Esri & Community||Esri & Community|
Lets get into the details:
Next lets move away from details and present some use cases:
There are some cases that are no-brainers, and many others where one could go one way or the other. In the end, for these cases in the middle it is a matter of personal preference. Collector and Survey give a choice. If you are of the opinion that choices are bad, flip a coin and go your best luck. If you want the best, try both approaches and work closely with people who will do the job in the field to learn from them what they prefer. It is no coincidence that Esri is providing multiple mobile applications for field data capture: there are many different different field data collection scenarios and one size does not fit them all.
By now you may be thinking... well I want it all: Something that runs anywhere, offline and with great tools to edit both maps, their attributes and smart forms. Absolutely having all of it may be a stretch, but you will see some of these features converge over time in Collector and Survey123. You will see Collector incorporate some more intelligence in the attribute editor; and you will see Survey123 for ArcGIS enhance its mapping capabilities.
It is also very common for people to combine the two applications. This can render excellent results in some scenarios and here are some examples:
The above will give you some hints, but my recommendation is that you put some time into experiencing the different options. Only with first-hand experience you will be able to make the right choice. At the end of the day, keep in mind that both Collector as well Survey123 and GeoForm are all great options and they have proven to be quite effective in many different situations. Very often, it is not about the tool, is more about you. The more you know these tools in detail the more you can get out of them. There are some workflows where the choice is a no brainer but for many that fall somewhere in the middle, whatever choice you make will be a good one. It will often all boil down to you getting the best of the tool you chose.
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