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Spring activity: Get outside with Survey123 for ArcGIS

Spring is around the corner, so it’s time to put together some outdoor activities for your students to enjoy! Integrate Survey123 for ArcGIS into a local project, and get your students into the field collecting data. Discover some ideas that you can try, and find out how easy it is to get started!

With spring less than a month away, are you thinking about warmer days and ideas on how to take your students learning into nature’s classroom? Well, why not consider putting together a project on a local issue or topic for your students to work on? Surveys and data collection can be done using Survey123 for ArcGIS. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Understanding land use in your community – collect data on the different types of land use in your school community, look for areas that are developing or underdeveloped and make recommendations based on your findings
  2. Spring cleanup – collect data on locations around your school or community that require clean up after the winter thaw
  3. Tree and plant survey – collect data about the trees and plants in your community, look for areas that require more foliage and make recommendations
  4. Healthy food options around the school – collect data on the restaurants that offer healthy food options, identify better or more options and make recommendations to the business association in your area

Getting started with Survey123 for ArcGIS

  1. Complete the Survey123 for ArcGIS Web Designer tutorial with your ArcGIS Online organization account*
  2. Download the Survey123 for ArcGIS app for outdoor data collection
  3. Go through Survey123 Using the Web Designer for K-12 Education story map
  4. Watch the Survey123 for K-12 Education video
  5. See a sample survey created by Esri Canada’s K-12 group

*If you require an ArcGIS Online organization account for yourself and your students, go to to sign up for ArcGIS.

Important Points for Survey Creation:

  • Tailor the answers to allow for data consistency and data analysis
  • Students can select from a drop-down menu of possible answers - example: Land use question will include options to select residential, commercial, industrial or mixed
  • Questions can include conditional questions (if yes, then answer questions different from if no was answered) and required questions
  • A map is automatically created with a survey, but, if you want to include a specific location, you must include the GeoPoint question in the survey
  • All these points are mentioned in the Survey123 Using the Web Designer for K-12 Education story map

Survey123 Example from Craig Brumwell, a Teacher from Vancouver, BC

Field Trip Data Collection for Geographic Inquiry with Survey123 – Teacher Craig Brumwell’s students Annabel Turner, Sofia Warrington, Miriam Mivasair and Michelle Cruickshank from Kitsilano Secondary School presented at the Esri Canada User Conference in Vancouver on November 9, 2017. The presentation highlighted their use of Survey123 for ArcGIS to collect data to better understand how the physical, natural and human environments interact in the Howe Sound region. They included maps and surveys from the Sea to Sky Gondola field trip they went on to collect data for the project.

Kitsilano Secondary School’s map displaying the data collected using Survey123 for ArcGIS from the Sea to Sky Gondola project.

Not able to do an outside field study with your students? You can also use Survey123 for ArcGIS in the classroom, and there’s no need to install the app. Ideas for an indoor survey that you can share and access via a browser:

  1. Where in the World? Students can add data to the survey about their family backgrounds. This can be a collaborate map, allowing each student to include their family story
  2. The Travel Bug – create a survey to collect data on places your students want to visit in the world. Include a question on why they want to visit that particular place

We would like to hear about what you’re doing or what your plans are with Survey123 for ArcGIS. Share your story with us, and we might highlight you in a future blog post! Contact us directly at, or you can leave a comment below.

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander