What is new in Survey123 for ArcGIS 2.2?

[Source: Survey123 for ArcGIS GeoNet Group Blog)

A new Survey123 update across all supported platforms is now available. This minor release includes important fixes and various enhancements.

Here are the highlights for this release:

Critical Fixes and Enhancements

Survey123 field app and Connect:

  • BUG-000105552: This bug caused the autocomplete appearance to stop working and prevent submits on select_one questions with a choice_filter set. In other words, autocomplete would no longer work on cascading selects.  This bug was a regression introduced in version 2.1 and now fixed in 2.2.
  • BUG-000103217: This software defect caused the Survey123 field app to hang when attempting to submit data to a survey if the logged-in user had been revoked permissions to access the underlying survey’s feature layer. In version 2.2, the Survey123 field app will report a descriptive error message when this situation is encountered.
  • ENH-000104223: This enhancement was submitted to request a x86 compatible  version of Survey123 for Android devices that require it. As of this version, a x86 build of Survey123 will be installed automatically to x86 devices.
  • Android: Photos taken with the Survey123 camera on OPPO F1 Android Phones are now of better quality.
  • iOS: Addressed issues preventing links included within a survey to launch other Esri apps such as Navigator, Trek2There and Explorer for ArcGIS.

You can download the latest version of Survey123 Connect and the Field app from our Survey123 Download page.

Survey123 website:

  • BUG-000105700: This bug prevented logins via SAML into the Survey123 website. Problems have been resolved for Chrome and Firefox. Internet Explorer and Edge will need to wait until our 2.3 release.

It is always recommended you clear  your browser cache to make sure you get the latest updates on the survey123 website.

Survey123 configurations from Esri Solutions

This update coincides with four new ArcGIS for Local Government Esri Solutions configurations using Survey123:

  • Homeless Point-In-Time Counts: Homeless Point-in-Time Counts is a configuration of Survey123 for ArcGIS and Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS that can be used by health and human service agencies and their network of volunteers to conduct sheltered and unsheltered homeless surveys.
  • Homeless Activity Reporter: Homeless Activity Reporter is a configuration of Survey123 for ArcGIS that can be used by the general public and engaged organizations to report the location of homeless individuals and encampments in the community.
  • Drug Activity Reporter: Drug Activity Reporter is a configuration of Survey123 for ArcGIS, Crowdsource Manager, and Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS that can be used by the general public to report suspected drug activity in a community. Drug Activity Reporter helps law enforcement agencies work hand-in-hand with the public to fight crime and neighborhood disorder.
  • Naxolone Deployment Reporter: Naloxone Deployment Reporter is a configuration of Survey123 for ArcGIS that can be used by public safety staff to inventory where naloxone was used to treat an opioid overdose during an emergency incident.

All the configurations above have also been made available in Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS under the Community surveys.

New Decimal Date Time Format

As described in the Dates and Time in Survey123 for ArcGIS blog post, you can manipulate date and time objects in Survey123 working with their EPOCH representation, also known as Unix Time. Starting with this release, you can also work with Dates using the Decimal Date time format, also known as  French Revolutionary Time.

We initially incorporated support for Date and Time handling via EPOCH format because that is how DateTime objects are encoded in ArcGIS. Other products out there using the XLSForms specification work with Decimal Date time, so we decided to bring support for this format as well.

The new Decimal Time format will be of your interest if you want surveys authored in Survey123 Connect to work in a web browser.  Our next-generation Web Form engine, which we plan on making available this summer will support surveys authored in Survey123 Connect, but it will expect you to define DateTime calculations using the Decimal format.

Just to be clear, your existing EPOCH calculations will continue to work as usual in the Survey123 field app. Now, if you want in the future to have your Connect surveys also work within a web browser you will want to consider a change to French Revolutionary Time.

In truth, this change should be absolutely irrelevant to most of the surveys you may have authored. Using either EPOCH or Decimal Date calculations is only necessary in a handful of situations. For example:

  • You want to calculate a date in the future or in the past
  • You want to calculate the time elapsed between two dates
  • You want to take a birthday date and calculate the age of a person
  • etc

For the most common uses of Date and Time objects in Survey123, you do not need  to do any EPOCH or Decimal Date Time calculations.  For example:

  • Set the default of a question to today’s date
  • Validate that the user is providing a date in the past or the future
  • Ensure that a date is before  or  after another date
  • etc

For those of you that you will be using Decimal Date Time calculations, here is a quick guide to time, according to the French:

  • In Decimal Time, dates are always expressed as whole numbers (integers). Calculate a date by simply finding the number of days elapsed since January 1st 1970.  Dates older than 1970-01-01 are negative and more recent dates are positive. Adjusting for leap years, you can assume that a year on average has 365.25 days.
  • To get the decimal number out of a date or time, you can use the decimal-date-time() function.  This function returns a number that  represents the  time elapsed since January 1st 1970.  The whole part of the number represents the number of days, and the decimal part of it, the remaining portion of the day (according to the French, of course!).
  • A day has 10 hours in Decimal time. An hour has 100 minutes and every minute 100 seconds. Get familiar with equivalencies between the Decimal and the 24 hour-day system: Noon is at 5. 30 minutes are 0.5 hours and 15 minutes are ¼ of an hour.

The following table describes what different expressions look like using the EPOCH and Decimal formats:

EPOCH Format Decimal Date Format
2 weeks into the future now() + 14*24*60*60*1000 date(decimal-date-time(now()) +  14)
Calculate age from birthday int((today() – ${birth_date}) div (1000*24*60*60* 365.25)) int((decimal-date-time(today()) – decimal-date-time(${birth_date})) div 365.25)
Minutes spent for lunch int(${LunchEnd} – ${LunchStart}) div (1000*60) int((decimal-date-time(${lunchends}) – decimal-date-time(${lunchstarts})) * 24*60)
15 minutes from now now() + 15*60*1000 date-time(decimal-date-time(now()) +  0.0104166675)

In general, if you really have to use Time calculations as in the table above, I would recommend that  you go with Decimal Date Time as opposed to EPOCH milliseconds. The reason is that working in this manner you will  ensure your surveys work in both the native and web flavor of the Survey123 app. You never know when using a web browser may be handy, so getting things done in Decimal Time will prepare you for the web right away.  Of course, you can continue using EPOCH if you feel more  comfortable, but just remember that your calculations will not work on the web in the future.

As you play with the new Decimal Date Time format, I also wanted to point you to a couple of resources:

Next Steps

First, getting ready for the Esri User Conference 2017! In this blog post you will learn info about all Survey123 related events at the UC.

The next release with functional enhancements will be 2.3 in late July or early August. Some of the features we are working on include:

  • Next Generation Web Forms: Our goal in 2.3 is to be able to render in a web browser any survey regardless of its  sophistication. At the moment, you can only render surveys in a web browser if you authored them with Web Designer. 2.2 will extend support to surveys authored in Survey123 Connect.
  • Enhanced printing of drill-down reports: At a high level, we want to give you options to make survey reports the way you want. We will let you author report templates in Microsoft Word and have them be used from our Survey123 website reporting tools.
  • On-premises deployments of the Survey123 website:  We want to deliver a solution for those of you who want to deploy Survey123 entirely in your own infrastructure,even if working completely disconnected from the internet. This is at risk for 2.3, but we will share what we have shortly in our Early Adopter web site.

Expanding support for editing with repeats is planned for 2.4, which will most likely come in September.

If you are eager to try the above  features and others  planned for the 2.3 release, you can access  them as Beta through our Early Adopter website.

We will continue looking closely at your comments in our GeoNet Group.

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