How to enable disconnected editing on your Collector for ArcGIS maps.
Esri Inc has recently released a new version of Collector which includes a few key updates, such as “offline” editing mode. Due to the positive feedback from our clients regarding the series of blogposts about the Collector for ArcGIS app that I published earlier this year, I decided to share some additional workflows and practices for use with the new version of the application that is now available for download.
The new version of the Collector for ArcGIS ( 10.2.2) was released in March 2014 with some key improvements that now make field data collection more interesting and useful than ever. These improvements include:
– Offline editing workflow is now supported
– A number of bugs have been fixed
– Improved editor’s tracking experience.
To begin with, let’s have a look at the “What’s new page” at the doc.arcgis.com portal: http://doc.arcgis.com/en/collector/#whatsNew and jump to the appropriate application store to download the latest version of the Collector for ArcGIS app. Today we will look at the “offline editing” capabilities introduced in Collector v 10.2.2.
To test this new functionality I decided to create a mapping application that could be useful to police officers or road inspectors to collect information about road accidents all across Queensland.
The Collector for ArcGIS app is not only for routine field data collection tasks but it can also be used to collect information about emergency situations and help to coordinate the response.
I created a file geodatabase with just one feature class which will represent the accidents. I’ve also applied a few techniques that will facilitate my data collection workflow:
– I applied range domains to control the ranges of permissible values in order to prevent the introduction of errors in numeric fields, such as the “Number of vehicles involved in an accident”
– I applied coded value domains to restrict the values that the user can enter into a text field. The operator will be able to pick up the value from a drop-down list
– I enabled attachments to allow users to capture a photo from the site of an accident.
Unfortunately accidents happen. Some of them occur in populated areas where there’s strong 3G/4G network coverage however accidents also occur in remote areas. What if someone wanted to map those accident spots in remote areas using Esri’s GIS mobile apps?
Up until the Collector for ArcGIS 10.2.2 was released, there was no “offline” field data collection workflow.
Generally living in Brisbane I have access to strong mobile network coverage however during a trip to Western Australia last December I did not have the connection to these networks so I was limited in my resources. I have to say that the lack of functionality to offload maps onto a mobile device, then capture some features in the offline mode and finally synchronise the changes back to a feature service running on ArcGIS Online For Organisations was a serious limiting factor.
With the introduction of “offline” editing, field data collection with Collector for ArcGIS has become easier.
Getting back to the example with road accidents; I published as an editable feature service on our ArcGIS Online for Organisations account and I created a web map which uses the feature service as a layer.
To find out more about the process of preparing and publishing the data for Collector for ArcGIS workflows that I wrote earlier this year, check out this blogpost: >>
However you have to keep in mind that when you are publishing your data for the future use in a disconnected editing workflow you must make sure that you enable the Sync functionality (see below):
Once the feature service has been published, enable the appropriate level of access by changing the sharing parameters and create a new map which will use the feature service that you’ve just published as a map layer. Save the map and set sharing parameters.
The next step is critical – you need to enable the “offline” editing on your Feature Service
1. Open the properties of your new web map. Hit Edit.
2. Scroll down to Properties and turn on the “Enable Offline Mode” option
3. Save your map.
Now that we’ve created a feature service and a web map and made them available for the disconnected editing, we can use the Collector for ArcGIS app to download the map to collect the data in areas where the 3G/4G connection is not available.
In the next blog I will show you how to download the map, collect data in the disconnected mode and synchronise the changes with the feature service running on ArcGIS Online.
Stay tuned for more!
I just wanted to add a few words in regards with one possible problem that you may encounter:
A message like the one below can appear on the screen.
You can fix it by using one of the below ways:
1. Navigate to the feature service properties and make sure that the Enable Sync (disconnected editing with Synchronization) is enabled
2. Make sure that the feature service was shared with members of your organisation (or the general public).
3. Avoid using any third-party basemaps (as map services) – they are not editable. Use Esri basemaps instead.