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Inspire your organization to stay active using ArcGIS QuickCapture (Part 1)

Do you use ArcGIS Online and mobile apps strictly for work purposes? Imagine this: What if you could use it while exploring your neighbourhood, discovering new trails, and engaging with your colleagues and friends all while using GIS? That’s what we did here at Esri Canada.

Being in a pandemic has led many of us to re-evaluate our well-being, including work life balance, both mental and physical health and our impact to the environment. June 4, 2022, will be National Health and Fitness Day.

In honour of National Health and Fitness Day, we have prepared 3 blog posts outlining a simplified version of how Esri Canada has promoted health engagement across the company via an initiative called ‘See Every Street’ using ArcGIS QuickCapture, Map Viewer and ArcGIS Dashboards. This project was created using out-of-the-box Esri software. At its core, we wanted to make the initiative engaging and easy to use. As the title suggests, we encouraged our fellow employees to go outside and see every street, discover their neighbourhood, their local trails or even take us with them on their travels. The end-product: a heatmap of all employee activities.

Our team, composed of colleagues across different departments, got working on this at the end of last year and officially launched it in February. So far engagement has been tremendous with over 4000 activity submissions and over 30 000km travelled. We look forward to seeing how we explore further and progress and we would love to see you and your organization join us. Read on to see what it takes to put this together for your organization.

See Every Street dashboard with heat map

See Every Street dashboard with heat map

The necessary steps for configuring the See Every Street dashboard will be divided into three blog posts:

Build the QuickCapture Template

Thanks to ArcGIS Online’s ready-built templates, we can drastically reduce the time needed to create this project. If your ArcGIS Online user has access to the Essential Apps, you will have access to ArcGIS Quick Capture Web Designer. To access this application, use the app launcher in the top right-hand corner of the ArcGIS Online window:

ArcGIS Online App Launcher - Accessing Quick Capture

ArcGIS Online App Launcher with focus on QuickCapture

Inside the QuickCapture Designer, click on ‘+ New Project’ > ‘Start from template’. You can then look for the template called ‘Run, Walk, Have Fun’, click on it and select to use this template. Everything in this project is customizable. Specify what you want to call your project, this name will show up on top of the mobile form for your users. Once it is finished deploying, choose to edit the template.

Note: The template will have created multiple items for you in your content, organized in a folder. This includes:

  • 1 Hosted Feature layer (two layers: Routes, Photos)

  • 2 Hosted Feature Layer Views

  • 1 Web Map

  • 1 Dashboard

  • 1 Quick Capture Project

  • 1 Solution (the template itself)

Now for us here at Esri Canada, we did not use this to organize any kind of race. We set this up to track a wide variety of activities and create a stunning looking heatmap of every street and trail covered as a company. As such, we made some changes to the underlying data that can be collected. It was important for us to allow people to participate in any activity they wanted, not just running or walking, and track what activities they did exactly. To accommodate this, we added a field to the Hosted Feature Layer called ‘Activity’.

Add your custom activities to the template

To do this, open a new tab and go to your ArcGIS Online content page, select the folder associated with the QuickCapture project, and click on the Hosted Feature Layer (not the views). In the blue bar, click on ‘Data’ and choose to look at the ‘Fields’. Make sure in the top right-hand corner you are looking at the layer for the ‘Routes’ and not the ‘Photos’.

Adding 'Activity' field to the 'Routes' layer

Add ‘Activity’ field to ‘Routes’ layer

Once the field is created, click on it in the list of fields. As previously mentioned, we wanted to include a lot of activities. To do this, click on the button ‘Create List’ and specify all the activities you wish. We used the same for the activity label and code. Here are a few examples of the activities we included:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Yoga
  • Swimming
  • Soccer

No matter how many activities you specify, you are guaranteed to have someone in your organization look for an activity that is not listed, so be sure to add an ‘Other’ activity label.

I’ve implemented by custom activities, how do I add them to the QuickCapture project?

Now that this is done, we can head back to our original tab where we can edit the QuickCapture project. Refresh the tab to ensure the new field is available. We want to make sure that after recording their activity, users are prompted to choose an activity type from the list we just created. Click on the button with the runner and select ‘DATA’ in the right-hand column. If you scroll to the bottom, our trusty new field should be listed. First, we must make it a ‘Button User Input’ by clicking on the little icon under the activity field. Second, use the drop down on the right to select the user input and click on ‘+ Create new’. Label this ‘Activity Type’ and make it a required input. Click Create. Please Save your QuickCapture project to avoid losing any progress.

The next configuration step is ultimately the same thing we just did. We didn’t have any need for bib numbers, instead we wanted people to name their activities. We therefore added another new field to the hosted feature layer. Use the same steps outlined above to create a new field called ‘Activity Name’, type string (text). Keep everything as default and no need to create a list this time.

Once your Activity Name field has been added, refresh the QuickCapture project. Click on the same start/end button with the runner and select ‘DATA’ in the right-hand column. Scroll to the field called ‘Participant’ and change that to a 'device variable’ type, collecting ‘User information’ > ‘Full name’. This will allow the dashboard to show people's names rather than their usernames. Next, scroll to the bottom to find your new field and make this a ‘project user input’. Users will be prompted to name their activity before they hit start. On the right of that, use the drop down to click on ‘+ Create new’. Label this ‘Activity Name’. Input type is ‘Single line text’. Specify a hint if you feel generous and make it a required user input. Click Create. Remember once again to save your project.

QuickCapture Designer configuration for the 'Activity' field

QuickCapture Designer configuration for the ‘Activity’ field

Lastly, in the designer, click on the grey bar above the start/stop button, where it says, ‘bib number’ and delete the bib number user input in the right-hand column. This should leave you with the newly created ‘Activity Name’. Feel free of course to customize any of the look and feel of the template to your liking.

Your QuickCapture project is now ready for action!

Now, if you’re wondering, how do I show off both new and frequented tracks? Coming up next, we’ll walk you through how we created a vibrant heat map using ArcGIS Online’s Map Viewer in Part 2.

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.

About the Author

David Albert-Lebrun is a Bilingual Enterprise Consultant for Esri Canada. He studied environmental science at the University of Guelph, where he discovered his love for GIS and went on to take every course they offered. This then led to an advanced diploma from the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS). David has always been fascinated with better visual ways to interpret and explain data; he was thus naturally drawn to GIS. When he's not assisting clients with their enterprise deployments, you will most likely find David following a map, running in the bush and looking for seldom used trails.

Profile Photo of David Albert-Lebrun