What is New in Survey123 for ArcGIS v 2.5 (November 2017)

We are pleased to announce a new update to Survey123 across all supported platforms. Version 2.5 is a minor update, although it includes a good collection of fixes and enhancements across the Survey123 website, Survey123 Connect and the field app.

Before we start, a few housekeeping items:

  • Refresh your web browser cache to make sure you get all the new enhancements and fixes added into the Survey123 website.
  • Download version 2.5 of Survey123 Connect and the Field app from our Survey123 download page. Setups are available for Windows, Mac, Linux.
  • The latest version of the Survey123 field app is available in the Apple, Google Play and Amazon app stores.
  • Check our What is New help topic for details on new features added in this and previous releases.

OK, here the highlights of our 2.5 release:

Survey123 website

Survey Publishing Enhancements (Modify Schema)

With Survey123 web designer, you can visually create surveys right from your web browser.  Our vision with web designer is to provide the simplest experience possible for building powerful smart forms.  Survey123 web designer, in fact, does a lot for you under the covers including automatically building a fully functional ArcGIS feature service where data from your survey will get persisted.  Up until this release, you could not control the exact characteristics of the fields in your feature service. This is not typically an issue except when you want to download the data to Microsoft Excel, CSV or other formats like Shapefiles.

Starting with this release, we added an option in the Publish Survey dialog that lets you modify the schema of your survey’s feature service.  You can control the exact name that will be given to fields, define the values to be stored when using choice lists and even the maximum length of text fields.

Please note that you will not be able to change  the schema of fields that already exist in your feature service.  For  example, when you publish your survey for the first time, you will be able to modify the schema for all questions in your survey. However, if you publish the same survey again, you will only be able to modify the schema for new questions in your survey.

Delete a survey while preserving the data

Starting with this release, the Delete Survey dialog in the Survey123 website includes a handy option that will let you optionally preserve all data you captured.   If you choose to delete all collected data, your survey will be removed along with its feature service.  If you choose this option, you may want to first make a backup copy of your data first.

Changes to the Data tab

The Data tab in the Survey123 website lets you explore all collected data using a map, a table and an individual response format. We made a handful of changes:

  • A new refresh button lets you more easily update the map and table to get the latest data from your survey.
  • You can now more easily drag the table view over the map to split the screen in between the two views.
  • The Individual Response view includes a new settings dialog from which you can control the size of photos retrieved into your report.
  • Click on photos in the Individual Response reports to open a detailed view which will let you also see EXIF metadata, if available, including location, direction, camera and size.

Other enhancements and fixes in the Survey123 website

  • A new keyboard shortcut for saving your work in web designer has been enabled: Ctrl+S (Cmd+S in Mac).
  • Multiple fixes allow the Analyze and Individual Response reports to better handle surveys with Groups and Repeats.

Survey123 Field App and Connect Enhancements

Disable the Sent box in the Survey123 field app

Through a new survey-level setting in Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS you can now disable the Sent box in the Survey123 field app. This setting has been requested by a handful of organizations who, for security reasons, want to ensure that data already submitted to ArcGIS is completely erased from the device.  Disabling the Sent boxis also handy if you want to prevent users from copying previously sent surveys to create new ones.

For more info, check this help topic.

Extract Exif metadata from photos using the pulldata() function

The pulldata() XLSForm function has been extended so you can extract Exif metadata from photos.  This allows you to store the Exif metadata as attributes of your features, making it possible to use this information easily once stored in ArcGIS.

Information such as the date-time and location where the photo was taken are stored as Exif metadata. You can also retrieve information about the camera used to take the photo, its dimensions etc

The syntax for extracting Exif data is as follows:

pulldata(“@exif”, ${image}, “gpslatitude”)

The first parameter indicates that the pulldata() function will be used to extract Exif metadata. The second parameter indicates the question in your XLSForm with the image. The third parameter defines the name of the Exif metadata to be extracted. Depending on the camera used to take the photo, Exif metadata can include more than 100 tags.

For a detailed list of common tags available, look at the Exif XLSForm included in Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS:

  1. Open Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS
  2. Click on New Survey
  3. Find the Exif survey in the Samples category
  4. Set a title to your new survey and create it
  5. The list of tags is located in the choices worksheet

Survey123 Connect publishing enhancements

Survey123 Connect will no longer overwrite your survey feature service when attempting to add new questions to an already published survey.  A new dialog will prompt you to confirm that new fields should be added to your feature service.

New XLSForm Community Surveys and Samples in Survey123 Connect

The Create New Survey dialog in Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS includes many functional XLSForms in the Community and Samples categories.  You can use these surveys as a starting point to your own. This update includes new XLSForms:

  • Exif (Sample): Included in the Samples category, illustrates how to use the pulldata() function to extract EXIF metadata from photos in your survey.
  • Smart Sketching (Sample): This sample illustrates how to use the draw and annotate appearances on image questions to enable smart sketching on an empty canvas, a photo or a predefined image.
  • Spike (Sample): This functionality is in Beta and shows how to integrate Survey123 with Spike. More information at Sneak Peak: Survey123 for ArcGIS and Spike® integration
  • Cardenal Amarillo (Community): A simple survey used to capture observations of Gubernatrix cristatain Argentina. This survey is a good example of how to include questions in your survey to record audio. It also shows how to include audio files in your survey so they can be played from your device.
  • Pesticide use Log (Community): A survey for helping private pesticide applicators record the location and weather conditions where pesticide is applied.

Other Survey123 Field App and Connect Enhancements and fixes

  • A slider control in the camera widget now lets you apply optical zoom to take detailed photos.
  • Read-only questions are now supported in the Survey123 field app Inbox.
  • BUG-000107126: Disallow the ability to bypass certificate verification warnings in Survey123 for ArcGIS field app.
  • BUG-000108290: Unable to collect geopoint locations on Android devices using a Trimble GNSS bluetooth receiver when configuring the device with a mock location and GPS-only enabled.
  • BUG-000100273:  Importing data from Survey123 for ArcGIS into a geodatabase in Oracle returns an error “The Field is a keyword in the destination DBMS (cannot rename).[rowid].
  • BUG-000108893: Using Survey123 for ArcGIS field app, if a survey is taken while Offline, then the device is switched to Online, pending surveys in the Outbox will fail to send with Code 0.
  • ENH-000100907: Provide documentation for silent and/or unattended installation for Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS.
  • ENH-000104929: Support Single Sign On (SSO) experience for Survey123 Connect when using SAML-based Identity Provider (ADFS).
  • Clearing and recalculating a dateTime question that uses the now() function now updates the value to the current date and time instead of the date and time from when the form was first loaded.
  • The source code of both Survey123 Connect and the Survey123 field app have been updated in AppStudio for ArcGIS.

Next steps

The next release of Survey123  is planned for late January 2018. We are working on new existing features which we will progressively disclose through our Survey123 Early Adopter Program.

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  1. johnmdye says:

    I don’t understand how Survey123 has made it all the way to version 2.5 without a single release that fully suppports on-premise deployments.

    • clangridge1 says:

      Because if they did that, you wouldn’t host your data in AGOL. And then ESRI wouldn’t be able to bill you for the data storage, which is where the real money is.

      • johnmdye says:

        Not so sure about that. Esri tends to recognize that there are some customers that will never use AGOL. It’s been possible to implement a hybrid deployment for Survey123 (your data hosted behind your firewall + Survey123 app running on ArcGIS Online) since version 2.2. See this Esri blog postfor more info. In a hybrid deployment, you wouldn’t be charged for anything. However, they still haven’t gotten to a state yet where even the web app is deployed behind your firewall which is really what my comment was about.