Survey123 close and save changes to drafts failing

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12-20-2017 01:59 PM
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New Contributor III

We have been field testing a survey123 application, and our staff has noticed that the option to close the survey, and save as draft sometimes fails. This usually happens if a person has closed the survey already that day, and tries to close out again. However,  it isnt consistent. Sometimes it works just fine closing and saving several times in a row. When it fails, the survey form reopens without going to the main menu, and any changes you have made since the last time it was saved to drafts are gone.

My questions:

  1. Is there a way to bring back these data from the autosave location?  I understand that Survey123 now auto saves after each question is entered, but is that data stored somewhere other than the draft folder dataset? As I understand it, when the error occurs, the data reverts back to the saved draft data, and the new data dissapears.
  2. Could there be an issue with the file name in the drafts folder being the same with several saves? I have the survey name generate based on a site name and date, so if it is saved twice, the survey instance name would be the same. Would this confuse the software, or should it overwrite the draft folder dataset if the names are the same?

Details:

  • The surveys are going to be for whole day workdays, so they could be open for 8 plus hours. I dont want to foprce the field staff to keep them open all day, and would like to let them close out of the survey if they need to.
  • The survey has several repeats in it, and last time i tried it the inbox still wasn't pulling data in repeats back from the hosted services correctly. Because of this, i now have the inbox disabled, and only have staff submitting surveys at the end of the day. So I need the data on the device to stay saved and happy.

thank you for your help!

Andrew

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Esri Frequent Contributor

Hi Andrew,

Just to clear up a few things, the autosave functionality introduced in 2.4, which is documented here Troubleshoot—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS  and here https://community.esri.com/groups/survey123/blog/2017/09/20/talk-like-a-pirate-release-24 is not the same as saving a survey to the Drafts folder.

Autosave will help recover an unsaved survey. If you are in the middle of a survey and the app crashes, you accidentally close the app without saving to drafts, or your device runs out of battery, when opening Survey123 app again the user will be prompted to recover the unsaved survey. The unsaved surveys are NOT saved to the Drafts folder as part of the autosave process. The unsaved survey is temporarily saved in the database on the device until the app is reopened, at which stage the user is prompted to continue or discard. The instance name used will not affect this functionality.

Saving a survey to the Drafts folder is done by selecting the close icon (X) in top left hand corner of the open survey and selecting the option to save to drafts. The survey can then be open again from Drafts folder, and will need to be saved again if the user wants to continually open and close the app and not lose changes. We currently do not have any known issues of the save to drafts option not working as expected. The instance name used will not affect this functionality, so naming the surveys the same is not the cause of the problem. The workflow for users that want to close and open Survey123 app so they can use other apps, is to ensure the save to drafts first, before closing the app.

Are you indicating that when user selects the saves to drafts option via the close icon in the survey, then close the app, that the survey does not appear in the Drafts folder later? If so can you please elaborate on this issue, give more specific details around the workflow (exact steps), device make/model, OS version, app version etc.

 As for your second comment "last time I tried it the Inbox still wasn't pulling data in repeats back from the hosted services correctly" can you also elaborate on this, what exactly isn't working or being loaded in repeats? In version 2.5 of the app improvements were made to loading read-only text and note fields via the Inbox. Have you set the correct query parameters for querying repeats via the Inbox as documented here: Prepare for editing existing survey data—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS 

Hope this helps and please do come back with any further information to help troubleshoot these issues.

Regards,

Phil.

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New Contributor III

Thank you Phil for the thoughtful response.

I did not know about the improvements made to the inbox for creating and editing submitted survey data. I will look into that more and see if it will work for our issues. Bringing in past repeat data for updating/editing was a project goal, so being able to retrieve sent survey data in survey123 will be very helpful.

As to the problem with autosaving/closing and saving, we are still experiencing the same issue. when the crew has tried to close the survey and save to drafts it it doesn't close at all, it just refreshes to the last save point and loses any changes. But now we are having additional issues with a survey failing to submit at the end of a day, so there must be something else making this app unstable. I am guessing that the software on the device having an issue might be an older version, and that might explain some of the issues.

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Esri Frequent Contributor

Hi Andrew,

As previously requested, can you provide details around exactly which device make/model, OS version, app version you are seeing this behaviour with drafts not saving correctly?

Please ensure you are using the latest version of Survey123 Connect to publish your surveys and also ensure users are using the latest version of Survey123 field app. Currently the latest version for both is 2.5.44. This may be the root of your issues.

As for the failing to submit error, this can be caused by several things, have you made changes to your feature service, survey form or permissions after users have downloaded the survey to device? Surveys do not auto update on the device and need to be re-downloaded if you make changes via Connect. What is the exact error code on failure to submit? Please provide more specific information in terms of error codes so that we can more easily troubleshoot.

Regards,

Phil.

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Occasional Contributor II

Hey Philip,

I encountered a similar issue with a survey today, and in my case I am able to reproduce the issue consistently with the same survey.  My setup is:

  • Survey created and published with Survey123 Connect v 2.5.44
  • Survey123 app (v 2.5.44); using a Samsung Galaxy Tab A, Android version 7.1.1
  • Survey style is 'pages' and has three pages
  • I have tried both closing the survey and saving the answers to drafts, and proceeding to the end of the survey and choosing to send later.  In both cases, responses to questions on page 2 are lost when I re-open the saved survey.
  • The survey and feature layer are currently stored in ArcGIS Online.

Thanks,

Tim

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Esri Frequent Contributor

Hi Tim,

Could you please share your survey xlsx form? I would like to take a look at the questions on page 2 you are referring to. Is it only those questions that do not save answers in drafts and outbox and on other survyes are you seeing same issues on similar questions with similar parameters or calculations? Just to check, is it all questions on that page 2, or just some, if so which ones exactly?

Phil.

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Occasional Contributor II

Phil, 

Would I be able to share the .xlsx file privately?  I'm working with a customer and would prefer not to upload it here.  Let me know the best way to share and I will get a copy to you.  Thank you!

Tim

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Esri Frequent Contributor

Hi Tim, I have sent you a private message with my email address. Thanks.

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Esri Frequent Contributor

Hi Tim,

 

I had a look at your survey and have replied via email, however here is the summary of the issue you are seeing:

 

Saving to drafts is working as expected for all questions. The reason you are not seeing the changed values in Condition 1 and then the Condition 2/3/4… groups is that you have calculations that refer to values on the first page. When a survey is loaded from Collect, Drafts, Sent or Inbox, all of the default and calculations are run on load. This makes sense in some workflows where the values are always required to be updated. In your case, the users are over-riding the calculated values then saving to drafts. Therefore when you load the survey again, the values in Condition 1 revert to the values entered on page 1, which then makes all the other questions in Condition 2/3/4… no longer relevant and the calculations revert.

 

We have an open enhancement request for this issue and are looking at ways we can improve this behaviour, there is also a bug raised via support for this issue: BUG-000105588.

 

The best option you have for now is to modify the relevant and calculations on all the groups/questions and have users enter the values as required. Only use calculations on questions where they do not need to be over-ridden with user enter values if you want to load from Drafts or Inbox.

 

Regards,

Phil.

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Occasional Contributor

My team is experiencing the same issue.  We do not have any calculations in the form as mentioned above.  In my testing it seems that this behavior is random.  Sometime, this happens on my first attempt to save as a draft, sometimes on my 10th.  The form was published using the latest version of Connect and is being completed on the latest version of Survey123 on a windows PC.  My survey contains 5 pages.  One survey record often requires at least a day to complete, so we are saving often.  When the save as draft is successful, it takes us to the expected 'Draft' folder and I can see my recently saved draft.  When the save is unsuccessful, it takes me to page on of my survey and all input since the last save is lost. Any additional thoughts?  

Thank you,


Dan