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Survey123 for recording bird nesting activities

05-05-2023 07:25 AM
Occasional Contributor III

Hello Community,

I'm currently building a survey (survey123 connect) for collecting field information for coastal birds nesting activities and I want to know if anyone have already use a similar approach and is willing to share tips or the XLSForm template. I already have a working draft for collecting the info for a NEW Record (Nest found) but I'm getting stuck on how to retrieve the previously recorded nest-record to update the nest condition ( for example: "empty nest", "eggs found" , "eggs hatched" and "chicks fledged"). I'm assuming that I need to create a repeat section (related table) to store the nest activities and use pulldata@ to retrieve the previously recorded nest_ID and the empty fields to update the nest condition. I have a partial understanding of the workflow and any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!



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4 Replies
MVP Regular Contributor

If I'm understanding correctly, it sounds like this would be a perfect workflow for using the "Edit existing records through the inbox" functionality. 


“The goal is not simply to ‘work hard, play hard.’ The goal is to make our work and our play indistinguishable.”
- Simon Sinek
MVP Esteemed Contributor

I would recommend creating a related table for "observations". Your tables would look like:

  1. Point layer: nests
    1. globalid
    2. other attributes
  2. Related table: observations
    1. nest condition
    2. nest GUID

Then in Survey123 or any field map, you can create a form that adds new observations to the corresponding nest. In this way, you don't lose or overwrite previous observations, and with the "created_date" field, or perhaps some "observation_date" field the worker enters manually, you can reliably identify the latest observation for reporting, etc.

- Josh Carlson
Kendall County GIS
Occasional Contributor III

Thanks Jcarlson for the great suggestions!

The part that still not clear to me is how to add a new record or edit existing record using the same survey (or perhaps I need to create multiple surveys??). For Example, this is the workflow---> Several people are assigned to visit 4  zones (A, B, C, & D) . Every other day, they need to record 3 activities: 1) New nest found, 2) Update existing nest condition, and 3) No New nest detected.


For 1) New nest found: they record...

  1. Zone,/ date/ Time
  2. species info
  3. create a NEST ID
  4. nest characteristics
  5. nest status
  6. and environmental parameters

For 2) Update existing nest conditions: they have to retrieve the previously collected "NEST ID" and collect...

  1. current date/ Time
  2. nest status
  3. and environmental parameters

For 3) No New nest detected: they have to collect...

  1. the Zone
  2. current date/ Time
  3. and environmental parameters

The part that is confusing to me is that on every survey there will be a chance for TWO activities to be collected at the same time. (i.e., new nest found and the update of existing nest) or ( No new nest and  update of existing nest). Do I need to build 3 different surveys to accomplish this? Thanks for your time and feedback!


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New Contributor III

I am doing something similar - wanting users to update existing record w/o deleting original data, and the options are site no longer exists OR update existing site.  I think the key may be to have first qt be select one e.g. "new nest" or "nest update", and the qts for each are conditional depending on which is selected. 

For the 'big picture' and lots of helpful lessons, I found a series by Eric Wagner at ESRI "Inspection Workflows" parts 1-5 to be the most helpful, (although i don't have mine working yet).  His explanations are somehow much easier to follow and grasp than many ESRI vids. The series is titled "Inspection workflows Part X" . Here's link is to Part 1.

Please note, I have not yet gotten to how to parse the _output_ data collection.  I have read that using related tables requires some extra planning for outputting the data.  Happy to exchange notes if you want to msg me.

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