Leveraging enterprise related data with ArcGIS Online and Collector for ArcGIS – Part 2

January 28, 2016 Jing Yan

There are four scenarios that you may adapt into leveraging your enterprise related data with ArcGIS Online and Collector for ArcGIS. Carrying forward from my last blog post, I’m exploring two more scenarios to edit features and related data with Collector for ArcGIS – online and offline.

In my last blog, we walked through two scenarios to leverage enterprise related data with ArcGIS Online: viewing related data in ArcGIS Online and editing features with related data in ArcGIS Online. In this blog, we’ll look into Collector for ArcGIS, discussing workflows to enable field personnel to collect both features and related data, either online or offline.

Let’s start with Collector for ArcGIS online mode.

Scenario #3: Edit features and related data in Collector for ArcGIS - online mode

Our Field personnel are going to the streets to inspect hydrants and check for possible violations.

Currently, ArcGIS Online doesn’t support editing related data, and it’s not the best option to use in the field. On the other hand, Collector for ArcGIS is designed for field tasks, which can be installed on smartphones, tablets or easy-to-carry PCs.

If inspectors have devices online for the entire data collection period, they could simply log in to Collector for ArcGIS with their ArcGIS Online account and open the Web map created in the last scenario. They may edit hydrant data and view related records just as in ArcGIS Online. And guess what? In Collector for ArcGIS, they could also directly add new inspection and violation records to a hydrant, or update existing ones.

Editing hydrant attributes and adding new inspection record.

I may need to go back to ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcGIS Online to tune up a few things, such as creating domains and subtypes, adjusting sort orders for related data in a Web map, configuring field visibility, and so on. These measures will enhance data integrity and make field personnel’s work easier.

Does the type of relationship class matter now, since inspectors can edit related data in Collector for ArcGIS? You bet! The most obvious difference will appear when an inspector deletes data in Collector for ArcGIS.

In a simple, peer-to-peer relationship, the origin and destination are independent. Deleting an inspection record won’t delete the hydrant. Similarly, deleting the hydrant won’t delete its related records. The records will be left with a null value for the Hydrant_Global_ID field. In a composite, parent-to-child relationship, the lifespan of the origin will decide the lifespan of the destination. Deleting a hydrant in Collector for ArcGIS will result in the deletion of all related inspection (and of course violation) records.

So the question is whether there’s a need to keep the related records when a hydrant doesn’t exist anymore. If yes, then go with composite relationship class. Otherwise, simple relationship class may be sufficient.

Scenario #4: Edit features and related data in Collector for ArcGIS - offline

In the last scenario, inspectors in the field need to use Collector for ArcGIS in offline mode, and synchronize the collected data back when they’re done editing.

The Sync operation is required to bring data offline in Collector for ArcGIS. There are a few pre-requisites to enable it:

  • All the data in the feature service must be in an enterprise geodatabase. Check!
  • Include Global IDs in the datasets, and use Global IDs as the primary key in relationship classes. Two checks!
  • Use either archive-enabled non-versioned data, or versioned data.

Now, I can enable Sync among other allowed operations for my feature service.  

How could field personnel download the data in Collector for ArcGIS and work offline? An inspector will download a basemap containing their work area when they are online. Once the download is complete, a local copy of the data is stored in device, and all edits will be against that copy.

After a day on the streets inspecting hydrants, the inspector can hit Sync when they are back online. Not only are her or his edits synced back to the database, but also the edits by others (e.g. inspectors, ArcGIS Online editors, SDE geodatabase editors) are synced to this device. So the inspector will have updated data to start with the next day.

At the end of a project, inspectors can remove downloaded maps in Collector for ArcGIS, which will delete the local copies on the device.

Downloading offline map and syncing back edits.

That’s all! Congratulations—you’ve just walked through four scenarios to work with your enterprise related data. Don’t forget to adapt these workflows to suit the needs of your organization!

If you’re interested in step-by-step instructions on these workflows, please refer to this technical article.

About the Author

Jing Yan

Jing Yan is an Associate GIS Analyst for Esri Canada. As part of the Associate program, she has; provided technical support for our Desktop and Server products, and has helped deliver training courses to our customers. With an Urban Planning background and work experience in Telecommunication Planning, Jing has developed a strong interest in GIS and completed a GIS Advanced Diploma from the Centre of Geographic Sciences . Combining school and industry experience, Jing has been a GIS geek for over five years now. Besides GIS, she also has a passion for writing novels, and enjoys arts, competitive sports, travelling, and collecting mugs (which is new).

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