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Flying Solo with ArcGIS Field Maps Webinar Q&A: Part 1

Answering all your Field Maps questions so you’ll be ready to fly solo in the field this Spring!

Thank you for attending the “Flying Solo with ArcGIS Field Maps” webinar on February 25. If you missed it, you can view the recording and download the slides on-demand.

ArcGIS Field Maps is an all-in-one map-based mobile app for iOS and Android, along with a companion web app for in-office map and data preparation in your ArcGIS Organization. Released in Fall 2020, Field Maps provides the data capture and inspections capabilities of ArcGIS Collector, the read-only map and markup capabilities of ArcGIS Explorer, as well as the location tracking capabilities of ArcGIS Tracker. Later phases will include ArcGIS Workforce’s assignments capabilities as well as the turn-by-turn navigation of ArcGIS Navigator.

During our webinar Jasmine Sohal and I showed you how to migrate your existing Collector, Explorer and Tracker workflows to Field Maps. As many of you attended the webinar and asked lots of questions, we’ve split the Q&A into a two-part blog. Today we’ll answer questions around requirements, Collector equivalent workflows and going offline, while in part two we’ll address smart forms, location tracking, and integration with other mobile apps such as ArcGIS Survey123. Grab some caffeine to fortify yourself for a bit of reading - hopefully we have most of your questions answered!

How do I get Field Maps?

Licensing and System Requirements:

To use Field Maps, your device, ArcGIS account, and data must meet the requirements. The user types and licenses required to use Collector, Explorer and Tracker directly translate to working with the same capabilities in Field Maps. This means you don’t need to worry about changing your licensing! Remember different levels of users can work with Field Maps depending on what they need to do:

  • View feature layers and their attributes in a map: a Viewer user type for maps shared in your organization; an ArcGIS account is not required with publicly shared maps.
  • Editing feature layers and their attributes in a map requires the Field Worker user type and above (Creator and GIS Professional) and can also be added onto the Editor user type (note: it’s still called a “Collector” license at this time).
  • Creating maps and data for mobile users to work with, using the Field Maps web app to configure the map, as well as sharing maps and layers, requires a Creator or GIS Professional user type.
  • Location tracking requires a separate Tracker license at this time and may be provisioned to any level user in your ArcGIS Organization.

Field Maps includes both a web app and a mobile app that are available for both ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise. The Field Maps mobile app is part of the Field Apps bundle that also includes ArcGIS Survey123, Workforce and ArcGIS QuickCapture – included with the Field Worker and above license type.

If you are using ArcGIS Online, the web app is automatically available from the app launcher for your organization. Field users can download the latest version of the mobile app from the Google Play and Apple app stores.

Q: What versions of ArcGIS Enterprise can I use Field Maps with?

A: If you want to use both the Field Maps mobile and web app with Enterprise, you require version 10.8.1 with, at minimum, a base ArcGIS Enterprise deployment. A separate installation for the Field Maps web app is required at this time but will be included with the upcoming 10.9 release of Enterprise.

Q: Is Field Maps available with an on-premise installation for Enterprise?

Yes, for Enterprise 10.8.1 - follow the process (and link to the installer) as described in the previous question.

Q: Will Field Maps work with versions of Enterprise earlier than 10.8.1 for the foreseeable future?

A:  While it is unlikely that we will provide support for older versions of Enterprise, your Field users will be able to use the mobile app to access maps and data for exploring and editing with Enterprise 10.6.1 and above. If you are using version 10.6.1 to 10.8, you need to register the Field Maps app ID with your Enterprise portal.

Q: In my portal, under the Field Apps bundle, I don't have Field Maps. Does that mean I won't be able to use Field Maps authored from my portal? We are currently using Field Maps with ArcGIS Online.

At this time of transitioning from the existing maps that are being replaced, the Field Apps bundle still lists Collector as one of the included apps, but rest assured Field Maps just replaces Collector. So, you can download and use the Field Maps mobile app for use with the appropriate users in your organization, whether you are using ArcGIS Online or Enterprise.

A: What Mobile O/S does Field Maps Support?

A: Currently the mobile app is available for iOS (13.5 or later) and Android (8.0 or later), it isnot available on Windows. Older versions of these mobile O/S will not be supported.

Q: Will there be potential to support Windows based tablets in the future?

While Field Maps is not available on Windows currently, the Fields Maps Ideas site on GeoNet is a good place to post your requirements and see the status of similar requests.

Another option you can explore is using ArcGIS Pro which at release 2.7 supports using a connected GNSS to collect data. Additionally, mobile geodatabases – stored in an SQLite database, the same format used when you go offline with Field Maps – can directly be read by ArcGIS Pro 2.7. Stay tuned for more interoperable workflows coming between ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Runtime apps like Field Maps.

For full requirements for both the mobile and web app, including supported operating systems and browsers, ArcGIS account requirements, data requirements for editing as well as viewing, consult the requirements documentation.

Collector Equivalent Workflows in Field Maps

Field Maps supports the same workflows you used in Collector for working online and offline. For more information on moving from the phase 1 apps consult the ArcGIS Field Maps Migration Guide.

 Q: Will my present Collector web maps work right away with Field ­Maps?­

A: Yes! Maps used in Collector and Explorer will automatically appear for the same users in the Field Maps mobile app. If you are using offline maps as well as web maps, your mobile users will need to re-download or directly copy them into the Field Maps Map Packages folder on the device, as well as any offline basemaps you have been using.

Q: ­My non-Collector maps are visible in Field Maps, is there a way to change these settings in batches or do I go through each map individually?­

A: While we show all web maps by default, in the Field Maps Web App you can select multiple maps and then select the "Hide in Field Maps mobile" option for the maps you do not want to show up in the mobile app.

From the Maps Page in the Field Maps web app select your maps and check on "Hide in Field Maps mobile".

Q: Data requirements: Can Related Records be added to a smart form for updating, and ­does Field Maps support 1:M relationships?­

A:  Yes, you can work with editable related records in the web map smart form. Field Maps supports one-to-one and one-to-many relationships, that can be up to three levels deep.

Make certain that you are working with supported editable data sources including feature layers hosted on ArcGIS Online or hosted on ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5 or later or Portal for ArcGIS 10.4.1 or earlier, ArcGIS Server feature services and enterprise geodatabases. Note the requirements for taking data for editing offline and support for versions of ArcGIS Server and geodatabases vary depending on what your mobile users needs to do. To check on support for non-versioned, archived and versioned data, see the data requirements help topic.

In the Field Maps mobile app, from the map select the feature to which you’re editing related information. Next, in the form, scroll down to see the related layers, from here tap the layer to add a new related record to or edit an existing one.

Going offline with Field Maps.

Q: In Collector when wanting to be able to download a map for offline use, we had to 'register as versioned' all layers that were part of the web map; even though the majority of these layers were only used as background data. Is this still the case with Field Maps?

A:  Yes. For you to enable offline use of your web maps, all layers must be enabled for offline use. This includes all editable layers, reference or background layers as well as basemaps.

While you can mix versioned and non-versioned ArcGIS Enterprise data within a web map, you cannot enable the Query and Sync options required for offline use if the data is non-versioned - whether you are using the layers for editing or for reference only. So, you will need to follow the same workflow with Field Maps as described above for Collector.

For more information see the help topic on preparing your maps for download as well as the Take Your Web Maps Offline with ArcGIS Field Maps guide.

Q: You refer to 'syncing' to the 'feature service'. Is this the same as syncing directly to an Enterprise Oracle SDE (system of record)? Or is it separate?

A:  A feature service is how your data layers are stored in your portal, either in ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise (including your example of an Oracle ArcSDE database used with Enterprise). The way the syncing process between the offline maps and data and your Enterprise database is handled depends on how the data is stored. For hosted feature layers and archive-enabled, non-versioned data in an ArcGIS Server feature service, the last edit synced is preserved. For versioned data in an ArcGIS Server feature service, the database administrator manages conflicting changes through reconciling and posting. If you are concerned about multiple mobile workers editing the same data, it is recommended that you use versioned data in an ArcGIS Server feature service. See Offline maps and traditional versioned data.

When you take maps and data offline, Field Maps (same as Collector) stores offline replicas in an SQLite database or runtime geodatabase before they are synchronized to the feature service. Full details about how the sync process works are in the documentation.

While working with the offline map in Field Maps mobile, tapping “Sync” opens the Sync panel where you may review your edits. You may enable auto-sync to upload these edits to the layer in your ArcGIS Organization whenever your device is connected, or tap Sync to upload on-demand.

Q: We currently use custom forms to collect and update asset information in the field using a replicated geodatabase. These edits get synchronized with the SDE environment when ArcFM sessions are submitted. Does Field Maps provide this functionality?

Field Maps works with synchronization processes in ArcGIS Enterprise to manage and track edits from multiple users, both while connected and when syncing edits completed while offline. The previous answer gives some details on how these are managed Field Maps.

Without knowing the details about your custom forms and workflows, it’s difficult to answer precisely, but you should be able to work in Field Maps and the same geodatabase functionality supported using ArcFM with Collector.

Q: Can QR Codes be scanned offline and populate once a person returns to service, or is this a feature best used only online?

Yes, barcode scanner functionality can work while offline as well as while connected, as you could with Collector.

Q: Can I enable Attachments for multiple layers at the same time? With Collector do I have to­ enable one by one?­

No, you cannot – while in Field Maps you may select and update the attributes for multiple features at a time, with multiple features selected, you can't update the location, attachments, or related records.

Jasmine and I thank you for tuning into the webinar and reading through this blog. Stay tuned for part 2 of our Q&A where we will answer any remaining questions, until then happy mobile mapping!

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

About the Author

Sue Enyedy is Esri Canada’s GeoMobility Advocate. She promotes the effective adoption of Esri’s mobile solutions to help organizations connect and optimize their field and office operations using GIS. Sue has worked at the Region of Halton and at Geomatics International during her GIS career. Her passion for geography and GIS started at McMaster University, where she completed bachelor and master of science degrees.

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