Collector with Disconnected Editing is coming soon…

The Collector team is hard at work integrating support for disconnected editing into our next release of Collector for ArcGIS (v10.2.2) in March. This is a big update for us and we thought it would be a good idea to start blogging now about what is coming. We will be publishing a series of articles between now and release so keep checking in!  Let’s start with the experience for taking a map offline…

Taking Maps Offline

After installing the 10.2.2 update, the first thing you will notice is a change to the map card when you open the app. On the iOS platform you will see a familiar download icon that you can tap on to download the map to your device and on the Android platform a button titled Download will do the same thing…

Maps within your organization must contain 1 or more feature services with the Sync operation enabled and either an Esri basemap or your own tiled map service layer. Feature service operations dictate the editing behavior for its feature layers within Collector. Regardless of the platform, the experience for taking a map area offline will be the same so let’s focus on screenshots from just one platform (iOS) for the remainder of this article. Once you tap the download button, you will be asked to choose your work area and the level of detail required for field use. These choices will determine how big of a map area will be downloaded to your device.

Once you tap the download button, Collector will start the download process for you. Downloads run in the background and they show you their progress inside of the map card. You can cancel the download at any time during the process.

Once the download is complete, you will be notified and your map card will change again. The thumbnail will have an On Device banner, you will be able to filter the list of maps to show only those downloaded to your device and the download icon will be checked.

Now that you have downloaded your map, you can open and collect/update features without an internet connection and then synchronize your updates when you are connected once again.

In the next article we will talk about the collect/edit and sync process within the Collector app.

Mobile Team

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  1. iyarbrough says:

    Will this be available for both Android and iOS? Also, will the functionality be available to all AGOL users or will there be an additional service to be purchased?

    • Jeff Shaner says:

      Yes this will be available for both the Android and iOS platforms. Collector requires that you are a named user within an ArcGIS Organization so you will need to either have an ArcGIS Online subscription or an on-premises Portal installed. There is no additional cost for taking maps offline and editing when disconnected.

  2. jeremyweber1 says:

    Will this work with both registered and hosted feature services?

    • Jeff Shaner says:

      Yes it will! You do not need to store your data inside of ArcGIS Online – you can use your own ArcGIS Server. You can also use your own tiled map services. We will be blogging about feature services in a coming article so please watch for it. Also note that you will need to update to version 10.2.2 (also shipping in March).

  3. melissahb says:

    Just to clarify, the need is to update only the app to 10.2.2 and not any desktop software?

    • Jeff Shaner says:

      Melissa – that depends on whether or not you are planning to publish Hosted Feature Services stored within your subscription to ArcGIS Online or your if you are planning to publish feature services to your own ArcGIS Server instance.

      With ArcGIS Online Hosted Feature Services:
      - you can stay with your existing version of ArcGIS Desktop and publish Hosted Feature Services directly from ArcMap. The service is hosted by Esri so it updates for you. You need to make sure that you are running v10.2 or higher of ArcMap though.

      With ArcGIS Server Feature Services:
      - you will need to update your ArcGIS Server instance to version 10.2.2 to get the new sync capabilities within your local server.

      Please reply if you have any more questions on this. Thanks!

  4. willmeg says:

    Very exciting. Good work!

    Will the downloaded basemap data include higher-resolution imagery or will you need to zoom into every area and every resolution you need?

    • Jeff Shaner says:

      willmeg – you can use Esri basemap layers or you can use your own basemap layers. The basemap that you choose to use determines the resolution that you can download to your device. The primary way that you set the level of detail is as shown above – you can zoom to the appropriate scale.

      We will be posting more blog articles that address map content but I would like to say that you can also side load the basemap onto your device. You can create a .tpk using ArcMap and then copy it to your mobile device. For iOS devices, you can use file sharing via iTunes, for Android you can share using a file copy as you have access to the file system.

      Again stay tuned for more articles on the topic of map and service details. Thanks!

  5. Jeff Shaner says:

    There are 2 ways that you can download attachments from a Hosted Feature Service – both approaches create a file geodatabase that you can use within ArcGIS Desktop:
    1. Create a local copy of your hosted your feature service using ArcMap.This will create a file geodatabase on your desktop that includes attachments.
    2. Directly from the REST page of your Hosted Feature Service, with sync capabilities turned on, you can create a replica that is of type file geodatabase and download it to your desktop.

    Once you have a local file geodatabase you can export the attachments for a feature to a local file.

    Hope this helps!

  6. ccweedcontrol says:

    Will there be an estimated download size given before you actually try to download desired area? The operational area I will be needing is over 600 square miles(mostly covered by mobile data but with random and inconvenient dead spots).

    Is there an option to save downloads to expansion micro-SD cards?

    Can you download multiple small areas instead of downloading a very large area?

    • mpordes says:

      I think the size is based on the scale levels more so than the extent of the coverage. I also think there are ways to test out the size of the tiles in Desktop (although the file type might be different and this not apply at all).

      To add to ccweedcontrols comments: Has esri done some performance testing as far as download speeds based on scale level/number of features in the hosted services, basemap used .etc?

      Are there performance tips as far as labeling .etc ? (maybe just need to wait for this….)

    • Jeff Shaner says:

      Some great questions!

      Regarding micro-SD cards on Android:
      No we are not supporting them for this first release. We are looking into their use but have concerns about the performance implications of using them. Most are formatted FAT32 which means at most you are going to be able to store 4GB of data per file and with basemaps alone that is too limiting.

      Can you download multiple small areas:
      This is also something we are not able to do in this first release of disconnected editing support but are planning for a future release. In the interim I would consider a sideload approach or one time download for your basemap (we can manage them separate of your operational data) and then you are only synchronizing your operational content for discrete areas.

      Great questions!!

  7. ebrightc says:

    Will the offline functionality be coming the the “ArcGIS” mobile app as well?
    I have users who need this in the field but are using maps that don’t have editable layers, hence they don’t show up in Collector.

    • sorent says:

      It seems to me as well that there is an obvious need for taking maps off-line into the field, even though you are not going to collect data.

      Could a possible workaround be to simply create a ‘ghost’ editable layer that you don’t edit, but the layer only serves the purpose of getting the map into the Collector app? Not a very elegant solution though! And will it work? Will the offline map still include other operational layers that are not editable?

    • mfletcher18 says:

      My company doesn’t use AGOL/Collector, offline functionality is definitely needed for the ArcGIS Mobile app.

    • Jeff Shaner says:

      Another great question! The answer is no and let me explain where we are headed here.. to also address sorent and mfletcher18…

      The Collector app is designed for field data collection and editing. It is premised on the fact that you are going to the field to make an observation, ground-truth data or update/capture new GIS features. So it will always require that the data you take to the field is ready to be edited and we have a very aggressive roadmap to grow functionality in this app based upon the need to capture and update GIS data. You can create an editable feature service wherein the service is defined with only the Update operation and you simply never edit features if you would like.

      We are in development of a new app called Explorer right now and hoping to release a v1 of this app in March as well (first on the iOS platform with Android soon to follow). This app will replace supersede the capabilities of the ArcGIS app. Its first release will not include offline support that is soon to follow. It is targeted at exploring maps and map content within your ArcGIS organization and here again we have a very aggressive roadmap to grow capabilities that focus on this need. The Explorer app will work really well with the Collector app on the device as well. They will look and act similar. ArcGIS will continue to live in its respective app store for the foreseeable future but we will not be adding new capabilities to it.

      • cpggis says:

        Does your roadmap include functionality to capture and update related data (through relationship classes)?

        • Jeff Shaner says:

          cpggis – yes it most definitely is. The feature service and the underlying data store used for disconnected editing already support relationship classes and later this year we will be introducing related tables through the platform (starting with the popup definition inside of a web map layer). Please stay tuned for this functionality to come into Collector and the rest of your ArcGIS organization as we move forward. Thanks!

  8. mlewis22 says:

    Is there any plan to have the collector app on the windows store?
    Many companies in the field will want to intergrate the tablets and smart devices into there current eco system, allowing a level of control over security and user access. Whilst andrioid and IOS are good quality products they have limitations in this field. With full windows 8.1 appearing on 8 inch tablets they certainly are a much more attractive product for field work.

    Very pleased youve work hard to make disconnected editing availble.

    • Jeff Shaner says:

      Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone are two platforms that we intend to build Collector for in the future. At this time we are in the process of building the underlying technology that will make this possible – a new ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET (to be released this summer). In the interim we do have 2 products that support disconnected editing on the Windows platform – ArcPad and ArcGIS for Windows Mobile. Both work well with ArcGIS Online.

  9. jay.kapalczynski says:

    I have field crews throughout Virginia. There is are serious issues with connectivity, especially in the west. This is very important to us. I see here that I can accomplish disconnected editing in collector, but what about a laptop solution…Are their any options there for the crews that have a laptop? Thanks

    • tjohnston87 says:

      I would think that ArcGIS for Windows Mobile (can run on Windows 7, etc. or Windows Mobile) would work or, if they want to use full-blow ArcMap, then use Feature Service editing (Create Local Copy for Editing).

  10. ludo2020 says:

    Jeff, I know you already commented on relationship classes being on the roadmap for Collector and Explorer for ArcGIS. Will this relationship class functionality be available with the upcoming 10.2.2 release and will the functionality carry over to AGOL as well? Also, will the data be accessible in tabular view instead of just a map/geometry view in 10.2.2 in collector?

  11. david_smith_uor says:

    Is there any advantage to using the Collector app vs the ArcGIS mobile app with our Org account?

    • david_smith_uor says:

      BTW I’ve noticed that when I try to attach an image with Collector I get kicked out of the app but attaching an image in ArcGIS mobile app works fine. Has anyone had similar experiences between these two apps?