Survey timed out and data lost

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07-23-2021 07:37 AM
Strahanjen
New Contributor III

We just encountered an issue where a survey timed out and when the user logged back in, the survey was blank. Can anyone help me to understand what happened, how to prevent this from happening again, and whether I might be able to retrieve the data?

Here's more detail on what happened:

User was working with Survey123 version 3.12.277 on a Samsung tablet.

He was working on a survey that takes several hours to complete. They make measurements and record data across 13 different transects of a stream. When he finished, he set the tablet down in the truck without saving to outbox or submitting the survey. After another hour or two, he picked up his tablet, and got a message that his log in was timed out. When he signed back in again, all of his data from the survey he was working on was gone and a blank survey was in its place. Can you please help me to understand what happened and how I can solve the issue? Is there any way that I can retrieve the data? Or is it just gone? This represents 4 hours of staff time for a crew of 3 people, plus travel and hotel expenses, so is a big deal to have the survey just vanish...

Thanks,

Jennifer

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
Philip-Wilson
Esri Frequent Contributor

Hi @Strahanjen,

It sounds like the Android OS put the app to sleep as it was idle or in background for a long time, and it removed anything in the apps memory, therefore losing the data that had not yet been saved.

To avoid this issue, it is best practice to always save to drafts throughout the survey, and re-open it, especially if it is a very long survey that takes serveral hours to complete. That way there is always a saved version in the local database that is updated each time you save. And once the survey is complete, always select Send or save t the Outbox to send later.

There are autosave points that are created in case the app crashes or quits unexpectantly. In this case, when you re-open the app, it will pop-up a prompt to say there is unsaved data for a survey, do you want to continue or discard. If they did not see this prompt, it is becuase the app did not actually crash or close, it was just in background, but memory had been cleared.

If the autosave file is still there and contains data, you can find it in the \ArcGIS\My Surveys\ folder for the application. The file is called "autosave.json". If this file is present and you open the application again, it will prompt with the pop-up as below when the app first opens:

PhilipWilson_0-1628814731264.png

Regards,

Phil.

 

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Philip-Wilson
Esri Frequent Contributor

Hi @Strahanjen,

It sounds like the Android OS put the app to sleep as it was idle or in background for a long time, and it removed anything in the apps memory, therefore losing the data that had not yet been saved.

To avoid this issue, it is best practice to always save to drafts throughout the survey, and re-open it, especially if it is a very long survey that takes serveral hours to complete. That way there is always a saved version in the local database that is updated each time you save. And once the survey is complete, always select Send or save t the Outbox to send later.

There are autosave points that are created in case the app crashes or quits unexpectantly. In this case, when you re-open the app, it will pop-up a prompt to say there is unsaved data for a survey, do you want to continue or discard. If they did not see this prompt, it is becuase the app did not actually crash or close, it was just in background, but memory had been cleared.

If the autosave file is still there and contains data, you can find it in the \ArcGIS\My Surveys\ folder for the application. The file is called "autosave.json". If this file is present and you open the application again, it will prompt with the pop-up as below when the app first opens:

PhilipWilson_0-1628814731264.png

Regards,

Phil.

 

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