Ways to Name and Re-Survey Sites (Points) in the Field

09-22-2020 05:40 AM
New Contributor III


We are working with a group of around 100 volunteers on a citizen science field collection project. In our study area we have upwards of 5,000 sites that are going to be surveyed by the citizen scientists in the field. We are hoping that these sites can and will be tracked over time so we can identify sites that have changed for the better and sites that have changed for the worse over the years. 

We are running into two main issues and/or limitations with using Survey123 that I am not sure can be solved. With so many volunteers that will be engaged in the project, we do not have the budget to use Collector, which would probably offer more functionality. 

Below are our two biggest issues.

  1. We do not know how to successfully implement a naming convention for the sites. We are mostly concerned with users naming multiple sites with the same name. For example, if I were to go out to a site and name it Burmac_001, how could we ensure that someone else did not name their site the same name? Is there a way to have a list of names that have already been created attached to the survey? Or a more efficient way to do this. I can imagine that if we have Burmac_001-Burmac_100 already in use, it would get annoying for people to try and input 101 names before they get to Burmac_101.
  2.  We are not aware of a way to be able to re-survey sites in the field. It is important for users, when they go out, to see if the sites they are at have been previously surveyed and if they have how they re-survey the site using Survey123. From our understanding, the maps that can be embedded in Survey123 can only display the points on a basemap and not the attributes affiliated with those points, mainly the name. Users would not therefore be able to be in the field and identify a site that they might be standing on or alternatively could not use Survey123 to navigate to sites that have already been surveyed. 

Please let me know if this is clear and if you need any clarification on these issues. 

Tags (2)
0 Kudos
2 Replies
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi.  I think you could approach this by using the Inbox in the Survey123 field app. Using the Inbox, all volunteers can work against the same layer of sites and make edits on those sites. The Inbox allows you to look at all sites in a list and also a map, select those existing sites and make changes on them. If you want, you can also allow volunteers to create new sites, which will show up in everyone else's Inbox when requested.

You can learn more about the Inbox at: Prepare for editing existing survey data—ArcGIS Survey123 | Documentation or through this video: ArcGIS Survey123: Editing Existing Data with Survey123 - YouTube 

It seems to me like the naming issue would not exist with the Inbox, because if a site already exists, users would see it in the app.  The Inbox, I think, should also help with the 're-visit' workflow.  By using a repeat in your survey, you could help people collect information about each visit to the site.

0 Kudos
New Contributor III

Hi Ismael

Thanks for this info, this sounds like it could be a great solution.

Would the users be able to interact with the map when they are in the field without cell service? For example, if I was out in the field standing at a site, would I be able to look at my location on the map and be able to tell if the site had previously been sampled based on my GPS location that may/may not show up on the map?

Does this make sense?

Thanks again


0 Kudos